By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
When you’ve got a hot topic, I guess you have to just keep the fire burning. Readers continue to express their feelings about the Tiger manager.
It will always be our goal at Totally Tigers to write about what everyone is most interested in and Brad Ausmus continues to be that topic.
So of course, we aim to please and we have a question to answer that should keep everyone interested or amused or whatever reaction you choose.
Holly and Kurt haven’t been in sync much lately. But let’s see how they compare this time.
Despite this past weekend’s disastrous sweep and the Tigers’ accelerated free fall in the standings, why do you think the Tigers continue to allow Brad to remain as manager?
Kurt – The timing of this question really impacts my answer. After July 31st, this became a completely different team. We can’t forget the level of talent that the Tigers traded at the deadline.
Removing David Price, the ace of your staff, from your starting rotation sets you up for a major drop off when he is replaced with a rookie.
Losing a hitter and left fielder that the Tigers had in Yoenis Cespedes, who was having the best season of his career, removed a ton of offense and a whole lot of defense from the lineup. The likes of Tyler Collins and Rajai Davis don’t come close to replacing the dynamic that Cespedes brought.
And lastly, we lost our closer. Joakim Soria was the one calming influence of a struggling and unstable Tiger bullpen. Soria was traded and has now been replaced with Bruce Rondon, a closer in training but not yet successful enough to call himself one.
Combine all those trades with the injuries suffered by 2 of our remaining starting pitchers (Norris and Sanchez), both of whom were placed on the DL the same day and you suddenly have a team loaded with weaknesses.
What’s left of this team does not give them much chance to win on most nights. And that in my mind is primarily the reason why Brad hasn’t been let go.
Four of the five starting pitchers don’t instill much confidence and will lose more than they will win the rest of the season. So there is really nowhere to go but down for this team, regardless of the manager. The guns are just not there anymore.
So to lay all that at Brad’s feet doesn’t make sense to me. Believe me; he has done plenty to earn himself a termination. But it will have little to do with how this team has performed lately and into September.
This team isn’t going to lose games going forward because they will be out managed. They will mostly lose because they are overmatched, especially on the mound.
Holly – When Brad wasn’t released after the Jays series on the off day, it now appears unlikely he will have an early departure from the team. And surprisingly, there could be 5 solid reasons for keeping him on – according to management, that is.
Diametrically opposed to some teams who change managers as often as they change their minds, the Tigers have a history of being boring, predictable and not creating waves. This could be their wish to not stir the media waters. Maybe they don’t want to admit they made a mistake in hiring. Maybe they wish to avoid rumors of instability within the organization given the added weight of Dave Dombrowski’s early departure.
Somewhat related, the Tigers may decide to spin the story of Brad’s eventual departure as less of a performance issue and more about a season of injuries that compromised performance. They could conceivably couple that with a new GM’s expected prerogative of selecting his own manager and seeking a “new direction.”
I also see a whole lot of Midwest Nice (https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/2015/06/27/midwest-nice/) in the equation. Even Dave wasn’t “fired” and I doubt the organization ever wants to point fingers at any employee. Since Brad is under contract for 2016 with a buyout obligation for 2017, the Tigers could realistically put him in another vague “assistant” position out in the field and with no clearly defined job description.
Brad could also be the luckiest manager alive. He was brought back this year due to the benefit of the doubt given all the Tiger injuries last season and his rookie status. He hung on again this year due to even more injuries. But now, he could have his job all the way through this year because Al Avila is new to the GM job and it wouldn’t look good, image-wise, to fire your manager upon your immediate ascension.
But the final issue that may have some real weight is the spoils given to cellar-dwelling teams. Through Tuesday, the Tigers have only 3 more wins and 5 fewer losses than the Oakland A’s for worst AL team record. And according to the last Collective Bargaining Agreement, being one of the worst teams will give the Tigers a sizeable advantage in acquiring amateur talent.
They would be allowed to pick first in the June amateur draft, be given a bigger and flexible draft budget, receive a bigger international free agent budget, pick first in the Rule 5 draft and have the top waiver claim position through April 2016.
What better way to replenish your barren farm system…..