Detroit Tigers GM Al Alvila made the announcement that Tiger manager Brad Ausmus will not return next season as the manager of the Tigers. It’s an announcement that has been expected by Tiger fans. For the most part it was a bad move from the beginning. Ausmus never had a chance from the start. Detroit is a sports town and its fans are knowledgable as well. They were never comfortable with Ausmus from the beginning.
Brad Ausmus liked to read. Almost from the beginning, that intellectual pursuit worked against him outside the ballpark. That and his Ivy League background. Fans like smart. But a certain kind of smart. Which meant Ausmus was forever managing against his image. Well, he won’t have to worry about that anymore. Not that he ever did. As he told reporters Friday afternoon after the team announced he wouldn’t be back next year, developing thick skin is critical to surviving the dugout. If nothing else, Ausmus leaves our city knowing he rarely took anything personal. At least not publicly.
Justin Verlander gets a standing ovation from Tigers fans at Comerica Park after pitching the top of the eighth inning against the Dodgers on Aug. 20, 2017. The Tigers won, 6-1. It was Verlander’s last home start as a Tiger.
With the trading of Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros marks the end of an era for the Detroit Tigers. Verlander had an excellent career in Tigertown. In his 13-year career, he had 183 wins with a 3.49 ERA and 2,373 strikeouts. It’s great that he is going to a winning team with a chance to be champions. He will get another chance to pitch in a World Series.
It’s unfortunate for Tiger fans that they couldn’t win the World Series with All-star staff of Verlander, David Price, Max Scherzer and Rick Porcello, but it’s good he may get another shot.
With the trade of Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels, it appears that the Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. Upton has been the team’s best hitter this season, leading in homers and RBIs. It was pretty clear that Upton would exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and head to free agency. Any player in their right mind would do the same in the this situation: head to a team with that has a goal of winning.
The front office has hinted at rebuilding dating back to last year, but didn’t implement it. Now there is no reason not to. With Upton gone, this team has no chance of competing next season. There is an almost certainty that other veterans will follow him out the door. In the off-season, the Tigers will move Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, leaving the only names recognizable in Miguel Cabrera and Mike Fulmer left.
The front office further implemented their plans to rebuild by notifying their season ticket holders of what will be going on in the foreseeable future.
So, Tiger fans, be patient for a few years!
Before Brad Ausmus arrived, Jim Leyland haunted this city. In 2006 Leyland was the hero. Seemingly every year after, he was made the villain. Looks like Ausmus is on track to get the axe as well in Tigertown. To be honest, it’s not all his fault. This is the team he inherited that was basically put together by the previous GM and owner. The team now sits in last place in their division with a 36-45 record at the midpoint of the season. It will be interesting to see how many of players will be dealt by the trading deadline.
As the 2017 season unfolds, one has to wonder how long the Detroit Tigers will be in contention. As far as the batting is concerned, on paper, the Tigers have a formidable group with Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Nick Castellanos, Justin Upton, Ian Kinsler and J.D.Martinez. The starting pitcher led by Justin Verlander, Jordan Zimmerman and Mike Fulmer appears to be serviceable, however, the bullpen is a big question mark. Closer Fransisco Rodriquez has been demoted in favor of left-hander Justin Wilson. If the Tigers are going to do anything, the bullpen has to get it together.
One thing in their favor is playing the AL Central, where all five teams are bunched close together in the standings. Minnesota leads the division by only 3 percentage points over Cleveland and one game over the Tigers. The last place team (Kansas City) is only 5 and half games out.
Detroit lost its sixth straight after a bullpen meltdown in the eighth ruined Justin Verlander’s best start of the year. After 30 games into the season, the Tigers find themselves 2 games under .500 and seven and a half games out of first place. I would say to Tiger fans who were optimistic going into the season regarding the team’s playoff chances, that the season is young and there is a lot of baseball to be played. However, even though the season is young, Brad Ausmus must have concerns because he is on the hot seat.