The latest from the Motor City…
- The Tigers are planning “an extensive search” for their next manager, GM Al Avila told MLB.com’s Jason Beck and other reporters. Avila didn’t specify whether he was looking for a veteran skipper or a younger alternative to lead the Tigers through the “trying, grinding process” of a rebuild, though Avila did say that the new manager had to have some type of dugout experience, whether as a manager in the majors or minors, or as a Major League coach. Previous manager Brad Ausmus, of course, lacked this experience, coming into the job after his playing career and a stint in the Padres’ baseball operations department.
- From that same piece, Beck lists nine names he feels could be potential candidates to be Detroit’s next manager. Beck’s options range from internal choices (hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and first base coach Omar Vizquel) to several other names with ties to Avila and/or the Tigers, including Fredi Gonzalez, Phil Nevin and Mike Redmond.
- Ausmus’ lack of experience proved to be his undoing, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press opines, especially after the Tigers lost a key on-field leader in Torii Hunter after the 2014 season. Ausmus was popular with his players but generally seemed like more of a teammate than a manager, creating a “country club” atmosphere within the clubhouse. There were rumors that the Tigers were parting ways with Ausmus after both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, and Fenech believes that Avila should’ve made a managerial change then instead of giving Ausmus more chances. Fenech also notes, in partial defense of Ausmus, that he faced a particularly large challenge for a first-time manager in taking over a team expected to be World Series contenders.
- The trade that sent Justin Verlander to the Astros was finalized literally just two seconds before the August 31 deadline, Sports Illustrated’s Ben Reiter reports in a behind-the-scenes look at how the blockbuster deal came together. Unable to return to his Houston home due to Hurricane Harvey, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow ended up making the final negotiations on August 31 while trying to find a cellphone signal at his in-laws’ dining table (during a dinner party, to boot).