Earlier this offseason when the Detroit Tigers signed Brad Ausmus to be their manager, there were many comparisons made to Mike Matheny. Ausmus was placed into similar situations as they both took over for managers who were successful in their time. The Cardinals had Tony La Russa and the Tigers had Jim Leyland. La Russa was much more successful with his multiple World Series Titles in St. Louis than Leyland was in Detroit, but I digress.
It was announced that Jim Leyland will be a special assistant Dave Dombrowski in the 2014. In an interview, Leyland said that he will be present at Spring Training, be active in player evaluation, and do basically whatever Dombrowski asks of him. The one thing that Leyland should not do is influence the way that Ausmus manages the Tigers in 2014.
Ausmus and Leyland are two different managers and will bring two different managerial styles to the teams. Leyland was the old school manager who relied on his gut, was loyal to a fault to his players, and played his game in his fashion and there was nothing that anyone was going to do about it.
Since Ausmus is younger, he is more likely to use Sabermetrics and other analytic methods to manage his squad. This could lead to lineups that will drive Detroiters up a wall on certain days, just like when Don Kelly was put in the 2 hole. There should not be comparisons drawn between Leyland and Ausmus in 2014. They are two different managers who have their quirks. Ausmus will have to earn the respect of the locker room in a different way than Leyland did when he arrived in 2006. Ausmus will have to manage the bullpen in his own way. He will have to give the players green lights and decide when a guy needs a night off. Ausmus should be judged on his win/loss record at the end of the season and how he handled the team. Please Detroiters, do not say, “If Jim Leyland was manager, he would have done this thing and it would have worked.” People called for his head many times and they were the same people who were crying when he gave his farewell address in October. Jim Leyland’s run as manager of the Detroit Tigers was memorable, but it is over. Let Brad Ausmus be Brad Ausmus and give him a chance to run his own team in 2014. He has some growing to do, but Ausmus should be a fine manager at the Major League Level.