Detroit Tigers: A look back at the Brad Ausmus era in the Motor City
By Luke Sloan
For the first time since his firing in 2017, former Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus will return to the confines of Comerica Park, this time as skipper of the Los Angeles Angels.
Ausmus was hired in November of 2013 to take the reigns from the legendary Jim Leyland, who led the Detroit Tigers to two AL Pennants and an American League Championship Series appearance in his final year before departing after eight seasons.
A graduate of the prestigious Dartmouth College, the 18-year MLB veteran was slated to usher in a new era of Tigers baseball, using his smarts and leadership from a career behind the plate to lead the way.
There were certainly enough pieces to the puzzle for Ausmus to continue Leyland’s success, as the team still boasted the likes of Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in a stacked rotation and Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez in the lineup.
Things were looking up after the conclusion of Ausmus’ first season at the helm, with an American League Central division title to boot thanks to the trade-deadline acquisition of David Price from the Tampa Bay Rays. This success would not follow the Tigers into the postseason though, as the team was swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the divisional round.
As many Detroit Tigers fans begrudgingly know, this would, unfortunately, end up as the high point of the Brad Ausmus era in Detroit.
Under his leadership, the Tigers would go on to a pair of last-place finishes and no postseason appearances in his final three years as manager. His final season in Detroit, 2017, would see the Tigers lose a major league-high 98 games in the regular season.
In the end, the once young and promising skipper lost the respect of his players, his grip on the clubhouse, and the support of all Tigers fans after puzzling in-game decisions and frustrating moments with the press. It’s an era of baseball that Detroit fans would most certainly like to forget.
After the Detroit Tigers
Ausmus didn’t struggle to get back into baseball, however, and just after his firing was brought on to the Angels as a special assistant to the general manager. When the legendary manager Mike Scioscia retried from baseball following last season, he was given another chance to manage a major-league team just like that.
The 50-year-old Ausmus brings his Angels into Detroit with an overall record of 15-17 on the young season. His team, led by superstar Mike Trout, heads into the Motor City with a pair of reinforcements waiting in the wings.
The team could see the return of multitalented star Shohei Ohtani, who still is unable to pitch following Tommy John Surgery, but will swing the bat as a designated hitter in the near future. Los Angeles is also awaiting another start from 22-year-old right-hander Griffin Canning, the No. 60 prospect in all of baseball.
With their beloved team in the hands of fan-favorite manager Ron Gardenhire and it the midst of a promising rebuild, Tigers fans can rest easy knowing their team has a path to future success. But the return of Ausmus to Detroit is sure to trigger hard feelings and unhappy memories.
How will Brad Ausmus be received tonight when the starting lineups are introduced? What were your overall feelings of the former manager’s tenure in Detroit? Feel free to let us know in the comment section below.