Detroit Tigers’ Five Best Managerial Options
For many months, fans of the Detroit Tigers have been clamoring for the departure of Brad Ausmus. Recently, their complaints were acknowledged, on some level, when CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the Tigers’ second-year manager is in danger of losing his job.
According to Heyman, Ausmus’ chances of staying on as Detroit’s skipper took a serious hit when Dave Dombrowski was relieved of his duties as General Manager. Beyond that, Heyman says that the Ilitches, who own the team, were initially skeptical of replacing Jim Leyland with Ausmus.
In the event that Ausmus does lose his job, here are five replacements that the Tigers should consider:
While Martinez has no experience as a manager of his own team, the former Cubs outfielder, and Tampa Bay Rays bench coach, has gained a wealth of knowledge in his time as Joe Maddon’s right hand man.
The Cubs’ bench coach makes up for his lack of managerial experience in what he brings as a student of the most well-regarded, and arguably most talented manager in the league.
Furthermore, Martinez, 50, was an important member of a staff that helped invigorate the Tampa Bay franchise, he had a 16 year professional career, and although he did not make the final cut, he was considered by the Rays for their managerial position in the offseason.
Beyond that, Martinez is valuable as a manager in the sense that he speaks both English and Spanish.
Gardenhire’s name, and resume, both speak for themselves. And Tigers fans know him well.
While the Twins’ former manager fell out of favor in Minnesota following four consecutive seasons in which the team lost at least 90 games, he did finish with at least 85 wins in seven of his 13 seasons with the club. Beyond that, under Gardenhire the Twins won at least 90 games five separate times.
Furthemore, in 13 years with Minnesota, Gardenhire won 1068 games and his teams finished in first place six times.
If Avila and his staff are looking to hire a more experienced manager, it is hard to find one better than Gardenhire.
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If that name sounds familiar it is because Lovullo was a late-season call up for the Tigers in 1988, and hit .381 while slugging .667 in 23 plate appearances.
However, Lovullo never truly stuck anywhere as a player. But, he did find a new career path as a minor league manager. After rising from Low-A to Triple A in the Indians’ system, Lovullo was considered, but eventually passed over for Cleveland’s open managerial spot.
This inspired a move to Boston where he became the manager at Triple-A Pawtucket. Due to that experience, John Farrell brought on Lovullo as a first base coach in Toronto, and then as his bench coach in Boston.
The 50 year-old bench coach has interviewed for other jobs, has managerial experience, albeit at the minor league level, and has a Detroit connection.
While Black’s 649-713 record leaves much to be desired, the tools that were given to Black to provide San Diego with a winner were equally lackluster.
However, Black certainly has the ability to manage. After pitching parts of 15 major league seasons he was named the skipper in San Diego where he helped further his reputation as one of the most well-respected men in baseball.
Beyond that, he was named 2010 National League manager of the year and helped the Padres to a 90-72 record that year, which represented the most in the team’s history since 1998, when they won 98 games.
Avila may be hesitant to hire a manager who, on paper, so closely resembles Ausmus as a special assistant, who caught in the big leagues, and has no managerial experience. However, in the case of Rodriguez, the Tigers’ new General Manger should consider making an exception.
First and foremost, Rodriguez already has experience in leading a baseball revival in Detroit and is beloved by the fan-base. Beyond that, however, he also has a natural ability to aid in the development of young pitchers, namely Justin Verlander, at one point in his career.
And that ability will be important, if the Tigers consider Rodriguez. Namely, because the Tigers’ future currently looks to be one dictated by young arms such as Daniel Norris and Michael Fulmer.
Furthermore, Rodriguez is arguably the greatest defensive catcher in history and a 14 time All-Star.
Like any candidate on this list, Roddriguez represents an intriguing option to replace Ausmus.