The calls for firing Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus have increased as the team continues to slump. But, before the manager can be let go, there needs to be someone to replace him.
Suggestions have been made, but are they realistic? Some more so than others.
Although the problems with the Detroit Tigers runs significantly deeper than the manager, it seems the easiest way to send a message to the team and the fans is to send Ausmus packing. But, are the potential replacements any better? The way to know is to consult the crystal ball…anyone got one?
One name that pops up repeatedly is Ron Gardenhire. His only gig as a manager was with the Minnesota Twins, where he set the lineup for 13 years. He was the third base coach with the Twins when they won the World Series in 1991. After all of those years with the Twins, they let him go at the end of the 2014 season. He is currently still with the Twins, but serving as the assistant to the General Manager.
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Would he mesh with the Tigers? Maybe. He is significantly more aggressive than Ausmus, so there would be a change in the dynamics in and out of the dugout. With the Twins, Gardenhire only managed the team to the ALCS one time. His last four seasons in Minnesota were losing and he never brought the team to the World Series. Honestly, he does not sound like a good option for the Tigers.
Believe it or not, there are people who would like to see Jim Leyland back in the role he had for several years. I’m not sold on this one, either. Of course, it is easy to romanticize the success that Leyland had in 2006 and 2012, but he could not get the job done. By the time he was in his last season with the Tigers, fans were ready to see him go. He’s still in the organization, with a role similar to Gardenhire’s – a “special assistant.”
Another name that is looming out there is Lloyd McClendon. Ugh. This option is no better than Leyland or Gardenhire. He had a losing record with Pittsburgh and a mediocre record with Seattle – even with Felix Hernandez, Nelson Cruz, and Robinson Cano. He’s just Jim Leyland 2.0.
The one name that I would be encouraged to see is Omar Vizquel. It is clear that the team appreciates what he does as the first base coach. He is not a left-over from the Leyland regime, so he would bring his own ideas. He knows the American League after playing for many years in Cleveland and Seattle, but he also has experience with the National League after a few seasons with the Giants. As a native of Venezuela, he is able to clearly communicate with all of the players on the team. Even though he has never managed, he clearly is respected by the players – which is a plus for any manager.
The Tigers hired a first-time manager in Brad Ausmus. Why not promote from the inside with Omar Vizquel?