Detroit Tigers Lack a Leader
By Tom Zahari
The Detroit Tigers are missing a clear cut leader from the top of their organization down through their players. Since the trade deadline, the Tigers seemed to have a disconnect with ownership, a general manager change, and a player fight.
First, Tigers’ ownership either had change of heart between buying and selling between the trade deadline and Tuesday when they parted ways with Dave Dombrowski or different members of the Ilitch family had different opinions as to the direction of the Tigers. Nonetheless, Dave Dombrowski was fired and Al Avila was given the job.
Without a clear voice at the top, the Tigers have struggled even more to lead in the clubhouse. Brad Ausmus has struggled to lead the Tigers all year on the field with his management. This week, that lack of leadership was apparent in the dugout.
The Jose Iglesias–James McCann scuffle that was the height of the Tigers’ frustration and highlighted the Tigers’ lack of leadership. Ausmus had multiple opportunities to kill the event, but he did not. He sat idly by in the dugout while his players fought. He didn’t change anything that was going on, much like a parent with sons saying, “boys will be boys.”
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After the game, he could have addressed the situation in the clubhouse, but his postgame comments reflected that he didn’t even see a problem with what happened. If he said there wasn’t a problem, he probably either did not talk to McCann and Iglesias about the incident or just mentioned the incident in passing. There was no hard stance from Ausmus.
When Jose Iglesias stood by his actions, Ausmus said, “I don’t really have a response to it. Maybe he subscribes to the theory that there’s no bad press.” That means Ausmus knew Iglesias was in the wrong, but did nothing about it and will do nothing about it. He has already failed multiple times on the field, now he has failed to manage his clubhouse.
The final place the Tigers are missing a leader is in the players. Miguel Cabrera is the leader in the clubhouse, but without his presence, the Tigers have no vocal leader. Torii Hunter used to be a vocal clubhouse leader, but he is not filling that role for the Minnesota Twins.
Victor Martinez is a player that leads by example on the field. J.D. Martinez does not have the leadership experience in the clubhouse. Ian Kinsler has seemed to disappear from any kind of leadership role. The pitchers seem to keep to themselves and do not tell the position players what to do.
James McCann has tried to fill that role, but it ended with the fight with Jose Iglesias. From the top down, the Tigers do not have a leader. With an indecisive ownership, a change in the front office, a passive manager, and a lack of player leadership, the Tigers are lost on the field. This disastrous season seems to be all but over.