The Detroit Tigers season is officially over after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Divisional Series. And as the offseason is in sight, great change is afoot for the Tigers.
And though this offseason will be one that is engulfed in the Max Scherzer sweepstakes, there are other issues that the Tigers may find themselves dealing with. And one of those issues is what to do with manager Brad Ausmus. After going 90-72 and capturing an AL Central title in his first season as a Major League manager, Ausmus somewhat met the expectations of fans but his championship-caliber team ultimately fell short in the playoffs.
When Ausmus was hired just a little under a year ago, he seemed like a good fit. But the tides have turned since last season and the Tigers now find themselves in a weird situation at this moment. Whether to continue their hunt for a championship or to enter rebuilding mode is up for speculation and is a decision that will determine the rest of the team’s offseason moves.
But if the Tigers believe they are still in contention, like many fans and journalists do, Brad Ausmus is not the man the Tigers should have as their manager. For a team that is looking to hoist the World Series trophy over their heads next season or the season after, they will need a proven leader at the helm, not a young manager that is still finding his footing.
The man the Tigers need is Ron Gardenhire, the former Minnesota Twins manager that was let go by the Twins on September 29th, citing it was time for change within the organization.
During 13 seasons in the Twin Cities , Gardenhire accomplished many feats, including:
- 6 AL Central titles
- 1 ALCS appearance
- 2010 AL Manager of the Year
- Manager of the Year runner-up 5 times
It’s difficult to compare Ausmus and Gardenhire because it’s like comparing apples and oranges; but if the Tigers believe they are still in “win now” mode, then there is no room for an inexperienced manager. As opposed to Ausmus’ very passive, “it is what it is” approach, Ron Gardenhire is incredibly aggressive, having been ejected 72 times in Minnesota, Ausmus makes Gardenhire look like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.
“The Tigers need better leadership if they want to win a championship”-Terry Foster
Fans in Detroit love some flare in their leaders; as do players. During the 2014 season, the Tigers seemed to lack a certain enigma; and vibrant life evaded them much of the season. Gardenhire would bring that spark that is so badly needed.
Hopefully the Tigers believe that they can still bring home a championship, because if they decide to enter rebuilding mode, it’s almost a guarantee Ausmus will stay. But if not, a new face with some history would likely head to Motown. We saw what Gardenhire accomlished with a low-payroll Twins team, imagine the magic he’d work in Detroit with an arsenal of talent.