- Brad Ausmus is having a horrible season managing the Tigers. Even he doesn't think he's going to make it once the season ends.
From his time as a major league catcher to his current job as manager of the Detroit Tigers, Brad Ausmus established himself as one of the wittier and more refreshing interviews across baseball. In 2009, when asked if he considered signing with a new team to start instead of backing up for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ausmus, a resident of Del Mar, Calif. at the time, said “I wasn’t going to travel thousands of miles away from home just to extend my mediocre career.” A Dartmouth graduate, he was routinely named one of sports’ smartest players by a host of publications and was revered for his on-field intelligence and ability to handle pitchers. In 2013, the Tigers hired him to succeed Jim Leyland just three seasons after he ended his 18-year playing career.
Ausmus is currently in his fourth year managing the Tigers, who sit at 62–89 with just 11 games remaining this season. If you ask baseball people whether Aumus will return for a fifth season, they’ll likely say no. Those baseball people include Brad Ausmus.
Brad Ausmus made a joke about next year's manager just now. Asked if he felt his fate has been determined. He said he thinks so— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) September 20, 2017
Further on Ausmus' comments: He was asked whether he felt anything that happens in next few weeks will impact decision. He seemed doubtful— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) September 20, 2017
His macabre sense of humor may be refreshing, but Ausmus probably will be looking for work by season’s end. The Tigers are on track for their worst season since 2003—when they famously lost 119 games—and are committing to a full-scale rebuild. Since July, the team traded J.D. Martinez (who has hit 24 home runs since joining the Arizona Diamondbacks), Justin Upton and franchise linchpin Justin Verlander. They may try to get rid of star Miguel Cabrera in the off-season, but it’s hard to believe any team wants to commit $30 million annually to an aging slugger until his contract expires in 2025.
The Tigers may be willing to let Ausmus preside over a growing crop of young players, but it’s more likely they’ll tear down everything that resembles their failed attempt to win a World Series. The current manager is probably the first step. Ausmus was frequently compared to Joe Torre when he was a player, and don’t forget that Torre presided over plenty of losing seasons before managing the Yankees. Maybe baseball’s smartest man gets another shot, but even he thinks that his days in Detroit are nearing their end.