Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Analyst: Detroit Tigers made best managerial hire of off-season with Brad Ausmus – Brian Manzullo, Detroit Free Press
"ESPN baseball analyst Jim Bowden, once the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds and Washington Nationals, thinks Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski made the best managerial hire of the off-season when they tabbed Brad Ausmus to replace Jim Leyland.“… the hiring of Ausmus stood out because for more than two decades, players, coaches and managers have been telling me Ausmus someday would make a tremendous manager. His demeanor, intelligence, baseball IQ and work ethic are some of the qualities that baseball people feel separate him from the rest. The fact that he also has one of the game’s best rotations, an improved defense and the game’s best hitter should result in a successful rookie campaign for Ausmus.”"
For basis of comparison, Ausmus is one of five new managers in 2014. Former Tigers’ hitting coach Lloyd McClendon was thought of as a candidate for the job in Detroit, but instead he grabbed the managerial reigns in Seattle, for the first time since 2000 with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Other new skippers include Rick Renteria (Cubs), Matt Williams (Nationals), and Bryan Price (Reds).
Brad Ausmus will draw on Astros experience in managing Detroit Tigers’ expectations – Josh Slagter, MLive
"“I’ve been in clubhouses where there were star-studded type teams that were expected to go to the World Series,” Ausmus told Bill Simonson of “The Huge Show.” “We had that in Houston a number of years. I do have personal experience in that.”"
It’s hard to remember that the Astros had sustained success, but Ausmus did play on a number of playoff teams in Houston, including 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, and 2005. Those teams lost in the first round every year except for 2004 (NLCS loss) and 2005 (World Series loss).
Leyland anticipating new role with Tigers – Jason Beck, MLB.com
"“I’m ready to go,” Leyland said Thursday. “I got a real nice call from [new manager] Brad [Ausmus] the other day, and we had a couple discussions about a couple things. I’m thrilled that he included me. I’m ready to go, and I’m ready to take on this new challenge and hopefully be able to do whatever I can.” Leyland and Ausmus have talked off and on for much of the offseason, starting at baseball’s Winter Meetings in December. Ausmus has sought his advice and given him credit at different points this winter for his insight."
Depending on what side of the fence of “Fire Leyland” you resided on, the fact that Jim Leyland and Brad Ausmus have had frequent talks this off-season will either strike fear into your heart or embolden your soul.
"5. Alex Avila, 4. Devon Travis, 3. Bruce Rondon, 2. Drew Smyly, 1. Nick Castellanos"
MCB staffer Josh has an excellent take on this subject. I think we’re all eagerly awaiting all of these storylines to see if they can return to form (Avila), develop (Casty), and adapt to new roles (Smyly). Will we see the shaky Rondon from Spring Training a year ago or the lights-out one before last August’s injury? And although Travis has no shot at making the Opening Day roster, it will be exciting to see the prospect in Spring Training after a very solid 2013 season on the farm.