By Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder

As this disappointing Tiger season draws to a close and September looking like just a month for 2016 auditions, most of the discussion among fans has revolved around our manager.

An increasing number of our readers are commenting and wondering about what the Tigers will do with Brad Ausmus.   Among the comments are questions about potential managerial candidates should the Tigers decide to make a change.  Stay tuned for a future blog dedicated to that subject.

But first, let’s examine our manager’s future with the Tigers by addressing a very simple question.

Is it better to keep Brad for the rest of this year as manager or move on?

Holly – There are several reasons for moving forward without Brad. While this has been a bad year, it could get worse both in terms of performance and morale.

Does Mr. I really want to see his team sink even lower in the standings and win percentage? Thursday’s game with the tying run on third base and Avila not pulled for a pinch hitter is just one of many where Brad didn’t play to win. And it resulted in another drop into last place – but this time, in sole possession.

While the year may technically be over, there are still some worthy goals for the Tigers to achieve. First is Miggy’s offensive numbers and possible batting title run. JD has a strong chance to win the AL HR title while McCann could rank near the top for Rookie of the Year. These are the nice milestones we could look forward to at the end of a disappointing year.

Avoiding the continued loss of morale will help these three perform at their best. But more importantly, setting a new tone within the team will allow Al Avila to see next year’s potential starting lineup more clearly. Next week, a handful of promising players will head up from the minors for their tryouts.

An interim manager is more likely to assist in resetting the morale button and enhance the performance levels for the last month of the season. A new manager could also start working on breaking bad habits and strengthening teamwork principles in advance of next year.

While the ideal new manager is not yet available, why not audition Vizquel for bench coach? And give Tram a “re- do” of his managerial stint for one month – only with much better players. For all of his loyalty, give him a chance to neutralize bad memories and maybe even showcase his stuff for another team.

All in all, instead of treating September as a lost month, it should be used as a dress rehearsal for next year. Avila needs to see for himself what’s working, what’s not and to start assembling that “to do” list. Make September the fresh start, not the death of a season.

Kurt – Ausmus should have been let go after the trade deadline.  Avila knew enough about the situation to pull the trigger and would have really made a statement by firing Brad instead of endorsing him for the rest of the season. Letting Brad go now serves no real purpose, so we might as well just let him ride it out; and I mean ‘out.’

The trades at the deadline and the key recent injuries to 2 starters doesn’t give them much of a chance anymore, most nights. This is a much different team now because of it.

With a starting rotation that consists of a hot Justin Verlander and 4 other guys, the Tigers are not going to win many more games. It appears they will settle deep into the cellar without much resistance.  They no longer have enough guns to stop the decline.

But the guns we do have are loaded with pride, and they have individual goals left to attain. Guys like JV, Kinsler, Miggy and JD are on personal rolls and look to be trying to make the most of a bad situation. All should emerge from this season having had great personal success.

I know it’s funny to say that about 2 game winner Justin Verlander. But he has really come on and in a year where he looked to be really trending downward, he now is heading back up the ladder.

Given all of this, a managerial change at this point will make little difference. After the trade deadline was the time to do it and would have impacted the team more than it will now.

Ausmus can sit in the seat and work on perfecting his craft during meaningless September baseball, should for some incredibly strange reason he is retained for next season.  But, there will be little pressure for him as there is nothing left to win or lose.

All the damage has already been done.

14 thoughts on “WE THOUGHT YOU’D NEVER ASK

  1. I agree with Holly. Not only is it bad for morale and deprive the team of an opportunity to audition possible managerial candidates, but it also seems somewhat cruel to allow Ausmus to twist in the wind, wondering where he stands in the team’s plans. Good grief, get it over with already.


  2. Ausmus should’ve seen the door after the deadline even though the damage has been done. Not much left for the team to do, but there are yet players who have goals to play for and the September call-ups who have something to show. A change of scenario is needed sooner than later, especially if AL knows Brad will not be back in 2016.


  3. Beginning next week the Tigers go into early ST mode. They’ll be looking at some of the kids, maybe Lobstein will be back, etc. Changing the manager won’t make any difference. BA will be a placeholder thru game 162 after which he and staff are all canned. Then Avila can start fresh for ’16.


  4. Player morale must be at an all time low, but let’s not lose sight of the fans! Continued managerial mistakes have caused me to take an “I don’t care attitude”. For over 2 months, it’s been hard to think about watching. I’m in favor of bringing in Omar as manager with Tram as bench coach. It would be refreshing to see the change in the player’s demeanor.


  5. Disagree Kurt. If next year’s manager is available right now, Avila should pull the trigger and give our team a “taste” of their new manager and his expectations for the off season and beyond.


  6. Looking ahead to 2016 and assuming Brad is not coming back, a great permanent managerial replacement would be Ron Washington. Castellanos could benefit most from someone like Ron in the same way Eric Chavez benefited from Ron’s guidance. Ron is an excitable “rah-rah” manager, something the Tigers have not had.


  7. I agree with Kurt. Ausmus should have been fired after the trade deadline, or even earlier. At this point I can’t see that it makes much difference when he is let go as long as it is before next spring. The damage has already been done.


  8. Trammell would be a good option for the last month, because he’s a company guy who wouldn’t feel entitled to the full-time job. His role is player development, and he could use those skills well during a month with many young players. The Tigers should wait until after the season to make a long-term manager move.


  9. Personally, I would love to see the Tigers completely tank the rest of the way. They will get a higher draft pick, and if they finish in the bottom 10, they don’t have to give up a draft pick as compensation for a free agent signing. So I think Brad is the man for the job. Just be sure and get a real manager for 2016.

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  10. Agree with Holly – BA must go now! Let Omar manage and put Tram as bench coach. Let’s see if Miggy and JD can put up some significant numbers to bring a little Tiger Pride to the end of the season. This is a very sad end of an era! Kudos to Mr. I and Dombrowski for the past 10 seasons – sorry it had to end this way.


    • This era of competitiveness is far from over. As long as Ilitch is still the owner, calling the shots and has the final say, then I believed him when he told Avila that the “pedal is still to the metal”. This season was just a huge pothole in the road. The tires (Ausmus) is what needs replacing.


  11. Agree with Kurt – “sentencing” Tram to the enevitable September slaughter would be a replay of cruelty. Ausmus should never have been rehired and should have been fired many times by DD who didnt have the guts to fess up his mistake. Al Sr, clean house of the entire bench managers and then go to work after WS.

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  12. Hope in a few days other than the call ups we can see a change at the helm. This has became humiliating. Does Brad understand what’s going on?


  13. The Gose play in centerfield today was just simply a microcosm of all the bad things that have gone wrong for our Tigers this year. However, what was most telling was the view into the dugout showing Ausmus,Lamont and Jones just sitting there beside themselves, no emotion,literally.


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