After eight years at the helm, Jim Leyland decided to step down as the Tigers' manager after the 2013 season. While many fans have voiced displeasure over Leyland's managerial style, very few players have ever done so. His tenure included three first-place finishes and three second-place finishes in the AL Central, and featured two appearances in the World Series.
Leyland was a veteran of 22 MLB seasons across four different organizations, managing nearly 3,500 major-league games in his career. To replace him, the Tigers went to the opposite end of the spectrum, hiring former catcher Brad Ausmus. At the time, Ausmus had managed exactly zero major league games -- or even minor league games, for that matter.
In his first season, Ausmus led the Tigers to a 90-72 record and a first-place finish in the AL Central. Detractors readily find fault in his in-game decisions, particularly with regard to his bullpen usage. They may point to the mile-long leash that was given to a struggling and aging closer, or to the three-run lead that was blown in the eighth inning of a playoff game.
Supporters, however, point out that Ausmus succeeded in the primary goal of winning the division, despite working around several injuries to key players. They might also point to the unexpected contributions from J.D. Martinez, Rajai Davis, and Eugenio Suarez as evidence towards a manager that puts his players in positions to succeed, and maximizes their contributions.
The manager of the Tigers has a tendency to be an extremely polarizing figure, and Ausmus doesn't appear to be an exception. Love him or hate him; where do you sit?