By: Kurt Snyder & Holly Horning
After a brutal road trip, the heat is certainly on Brad Ausmus; maybe hotter than it’s been since the end of last season. So what does the immediate future hold?
Our writers will dig deep into this whole mess and come out with some answers. And nope, they didn’t share them this week either … until now.
Do you believe Al Avila will make a move to replace Ausmus? If so, when?
The last time Al Avila had a decision to make over the continued employment of his manager, a lot of jaws dropped when he made it. Ausmus would be a certain casualty of a horrible 2015 season, so it seemed. Why wouldn’t he be? What had he done to earn another season?
Well, just like then, we are faced with another situation that looks pretty bad for Brad. And once again, they need to light a fire under this bunch; after only a month and a half of baseball.
And that’s precisely why it’s not going to get done. Al wanted to give him more time after last season, and I don’t know that he meant 6 weeks; regardless of the results. We may have learned a little about Al after his pointless decision last year. And I am feeling a change won’t come anytime soon this time either.
Ausmus’ tenure is generating just too much attention now that it’s turned into a distraction for everyone involved, but especially for the players. One of the Baltimore announcers on Sunday mentioned that his visit to the Tigers’ clubhouse showed that the team is not in a good place.
I don’t think a win here or there will impact the decision – at least let’s hope not – but the timing is dependent upon whether they have a replacement and of course, the schedule. If we assume they have someone, then a loss and sweep on Sunday may have led to an announcement on Monday.
I think the perfect timing is this Thursday, maybe even Wednesday night after their day game. It gives the team almost 48 hours to meet, discuss and refocus before Friday night’s contest.
I’m not sure whether a change in managers will help or hurt attendance while they are home. Potentially they may want to wait another full 10 days until the window of the last home afternoon game with the Phillies on the 25th and before their first game in Oakland Friday night, the 27th.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they take a serious look at the actual attendance (not paid) for the Twins series to help gauge the timing. But if they lose to the Twinkies, all bets are off.
Who do you believe will be the likely candidates to become the new manager, if the Tigers pull the plug?
I can tell you who it won’t be. Jim Leyland. If he still wanted to manage this team, I believe he would still be here. And he certainly wouldn’t want to put himself into an interim situation.
As much as I despise the man, Ozzie Guillen is a very interesting name. Given his fire and the international culture of this ball club, it’s not completely far-fetched. He’s got experience in this division and has won the coveted World Series; but he’s not someone who can be had in the middle of the season.
But, if Brad indeed finds himself making it through to the end of the year, I believe the Angels, like the Tigers, will finally make a managerial change. And Mike Scioscia would be one of my top candidates. Whatever happens, the Tigers need to be sure they are not wasting another year of Miggy.
I still believe Avila didn’t make the move last season because he didn’t see the right candidate and didn’t want to get locked into a new contract with someone they didn’t love. Potentially, he also knew the challenges of finding the right motivator and that he wanted to wait it out, hoping he’d get lucky with the timing. But, rut roh.
Maybe that guy still hasn’t come along yet which may mean they are currently focused on bringing in an interim who can help right the ship and clubhouse mood until the applicant pool fills up a little more. Rumors have Mr. I wanting Jim Leyland, who has been traveling with the team now for over 2 weeks.
I can’t help but believe that Legendary Lloyd was brought back, in part, as a worst case scenario in case things headed south in a hurry. For him, it would be a chance to showcase his skills for the Tigers and other teams, but he’d be an interim manager in all probability.
Former Tigers Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson are not serious contenders, interim or otherwise, given issues with being “too nice/laid back” and health concerns respectively.
Regarding permanent replacements, Ron Gardenhire wouldn’t be a match as he’s staunchly anti-analytics and Ozzie Guillen just accepted a job managing a baseball team in Venezuela. The only viable candidate I know of would be Bud Black who turned down the Nats lowball offer this past winter and was seen as being capable of handling a team of all-stars and intense personalities.
Either interim or permanent, there are no easy answers and I wouldn’t be surprised to see someone come completely out of left field – someone with definite managerial experience.