By: Holly Horning & Kurt Snyder
With all the buzz of late surrounding the rumor that the team has already decided Brad Ausmus’ fate, it will continue to be a hot topic on this site.
So we will address a question on the impact of that story as well as one dedicated to a look ahead to the 2016 Tiger roster.
There will continue to be plenty to talk about as the Tigers put the final touches on a season many won’t soon forget, and not in a good way.
1. What do you expect to be the biggest impact to come out of the leak about Brad?
Holly – Only the most optimistic person or player at this point will still believe that Brad has a chance of returning next year. That said, I expect team cohesion to dissipate knowing that the slate will be wiped clean in 3 weeks.
The energy level and focus may also trend down but players who are working towards their next contracts will probably keep plugging away and hope to finish strong. Call-ups who are hoping to make the team next year will keep on trying to impress.
But overall, there will be a sense of less urgency. With it as close to 100% as you can get that Brad will leave, the coaches’ mindsets have also changed, too. Not that they weren’t already thinking of where they will be next year, but last week’s news has made it essentially official. And most of them have to believe that they won’t be back either next year. In fact, at least 3 coaches have contracts expiring after this year.
A new GM, a new regime – a similar parallel to what happens in my town when political appointees realize their candidate is leaving office soon and they go on autopilot awaiting the last day.
Kurt – The biggest impact will be that the leak will end up being real. The Tigers are not bringing back Brad Ausmus. They shouldn’t bring back Brad Ausmus and Al Avila shouldn’t be playing games with this.
It was his opportunity to come out and tell the fans and the media this:
Despite leaning towards a decision to fire Brad, we intended to continue to evaluate his performance for the remainder of the season. But since this has come out, we cannot in good conscience allow Brad to continue under these circumstances.
That’s what should have been done. But it won’t, the Tigers will do later what we all know should have already been done. But if this leak is real, than this is just plain poor. And it will not be a good start at all for Al Avila.
2. Any September call-ups you think will make the Opening Day roster?
Holly – At this point, it’s beneficial for the youngsters to get as much playing time as possible now so Al Avila has the best look possible in advance of the Hot Stove season. Let’s hope Brad reverses his tendency to sit hot rookies after they’ve had a great game.
Part of who makes Opening Day will depend upon trades made over the winter. I would not rule out Dixon Machado staying and my reason is based upon whom the Tigers may possibly have to trade in order to get those desperately needed starting pitchers. There’s little left in the farm system and payroll is already among the top four so realistically, the Tigers may need to trade a major name to get multiple pieces.
I’m not even going to venture a guess on bullpen arms which have been rotating up north at an alarming speed most of the summer and really can no longer be considered September call-ups.
But I believe that Tyler Collins has a good chance of staying and much of it due to his gradual improvement at the plate and possessing that desperately needed left-handed bat.
With Cespedes and now probably Rajai gone, the Tigers will need to fill two outfield positions. If Moya continues to impress with both bat and glove, he may also turn into that fourth outfielder.
Kurt – No. I racked my brain thinking who they were. And doesn’t that really answer the question on its own?
Before this season, I thought Stephen Moya, with a year of seasoning in Toledo, would be ready to crack the major league roster in 2016. But I am not seeing it.
If I was forced to pick someone, it would more than likely be Dixon Machado, who would have to replace Andrew Romine. But I don’t think the Tigers are unhappy with the value Romine is giving them. He’s been versatile, can hit from the left side and plays 3 positions, even 4 when pressed into first base duty.
So who’s left? Well, I don’t consider Tyler Collins to be a September call up; but he most definitely will be in the outfield mix next season.
That really just leaves us with Bryan Holaday and if we are going to have a backup catcher, he needs to hit left-handed, which he doesn’t.