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 ( 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…..

9 thoughts on “ONE TOPIC – TWO TAKES

  1. If AA acts wisely, this season could prove very valuable in 1-2 years based upon the draft and prudent FA signings (as you have suggested Holly). The post trade deadline struggles could prove to be helpful for management in evaluating this team’s “character”. I have questioned this for several seasons based upon the tendency to underachieve in the regular and post season, in spite of superior talent and a big payroll.


  2. Three other reasons? 1) The surrender of the season was made by those to whom Ausmus reports.Throwing him under the bus for the free fall is too obviously scapegoating 2) Planning for one sweeping change (Good-bye to entire staff. 3) Possibly having to pay for two managers for several weeks.


  3. I agree with Holly’s assertions re the June draft & draft budget. I didn’t realize that we would pick 1st in the Rule 5 draft & have a top waiver claim position. I’ve have read that we would be able to sign a FA w/o fear of relinquishing draft positions. Does this allow us to sign multiple FA’s w/o losing draft picks?


  4. Holly I had not considered the spoils of last place. First to worst. Sort of like… Boston last year? Interesting strategy. If we go out and spend on FA like Boston did in the off season things sets up nice for AA to DD comparisons. Who rebuilds to championship level quickest.


  5. Great points by both authors and the people who responded. Lack of leadership on this team was obvious 40 games into the season last year. Tho you can’t blame BA alone for the current slide he’s shown little improvement. Weak leadership is continually corrosive, regardless of other factors. This team would have underperformed even without the talent purge.


  6. A Sr. will clean house and that has to be done at end of season. Still, night after night, Ausmus wants me to send him to the scrap heap immediately. Starting Alex, continuing playing VM, and non command of pitching staff makes my blood boil. Is Gibby a total ” scratch” due to health?


  7. Don’t mean to nit-pic, but I thought slot allocations for the draft picks, budgets, etc. were based on the records of all 30 teams. The NL currently has 6 teams under 60 wins with 5 of them 55 or lower. If Detroit keeps up its dominate play in the Central, they could end up in 3rd place above both Cleveland and Chicago.


    • Hi, Tom – Apologies if it sounded like the new CBA rules were based upon each league. I was playing “what if” and because we are limited in our responses, I could only add a quick bit about the AL. While there are a few teams in the NL with worse records, there’s still a month to play and all of the 6 – 7 teams are within striking distance of last place. Thanks for your comment! – Holly


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