Brad Ausmus has to be under the most pressure of all.
As he enters his fourth season as manager, his future could (and should) be determined on the success of the team. In his previous three years, he has managed the team to the top of the Central, the bottom of the Central, and to second place in the Central. The team has yet to win a playoff game with Ausmus at the helm.
When the first-time manager was hired to lead the team in 2014, he had one of the best offenses and pitching rotations in the game. But, he could not get the team beyond the Division Series in 2014. And, he still has a top 10 offense and two of the best pitchers in the game as he enters 2017. The players like him, but the fans are torn on his ability to lead the team.
Most experts were predicting that he would not be with the Tigers after the 2016 season; but, in early October he was given the contract extension. But, the Tigers front office also added another coach to the bench: Lloyd McClendon.
With McClendon – who appears to be a constant darling with the front office – acting as the Tigers hitting coach, the pressure is truly on Ausmus to succeed. Even though McClendon has more managerial experience than Ausmus, his record is worse. Ausmus is currently sitting at a winning percentage of .517 and McClendon has a career percentage of .451. Still, there is no doubt that McClendon is there to show Ausmus that the Illitchs mean business in the form of wins.
It’s got to be a strange feeling to know that your future replacement is sitting right next to you in the dugout – every. single. day.