WDIV reporter Bernie Smilovitz reported on Thursday night that an unnamed source confirmed that the Detroit Tigers would be firing manager Brad Ausmus after the season. The Detroit Free Press reported Friday morning that a source has confirmed that Ausmus will be let go after the season. That was news, but hardly a surprise. What is surprising is that the club could let such sensitive news leak to the media with three weeks left to play in the regular season.
Following the reports, both citing unnamed sources, there has been a strong reaction from media around Detroit and around the country supporting the idea that if the Tigers are going to let Ausmus go, they should do so immediately, rather than wait until the end of the season.
Mlive's Chris Iott, who is covering the team in Cleveland, wrote "If the Detroit Tigers have made the final decision to fire manager Brad Ausmus, they should act upon it. Now."
SB Nation's Marc Normandin opined that Ausmus should not have to finish out the season with the knowledge that his job is no longer his.
Tigers' new General Manager, Al Avila, told reporters that Ausmus would be the team's manager through the end of the 2015 season. Considering the fact that Ausmus is under contract to manage through 2016 with a club option to extend that through 2017, that might sound like a hollow vote of confidence.
Much of the reaction has pointed out that Ausmus can not be entirely to blame for the Tigers' poor showing during the current season, but that seems to be somewhat of a strawman argument. While Ausmus has drawn strong criticism for his handling of the team this season, he is not widely blamed for the team's losing record, and he can not be blamed for deficiencies in the roster. BYB covered this topic recently.
Having witnessed many late season managerial firings, not sure how DET thinks it can leak Ausmus dismissal but have him manage rest of yr.
— Alyson Footer (@alysonfooter) September 11, 2015
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal joined in
Get on with it, in other words. Handling of this already sloppy and disrespectful. #Tigers should not ask him to manage another game.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 11, 2015
Chris McCosky of the Detroit News quotes Ausmus saying "I haven't been told anything about firing".
Anthony Fenech of the Free Press has delved into speculation about the next Tigers' manager, listing a number of potential candidates, and singling out former Twins' manager Ron Gardenhire as a potential replacement for Ausmus.
Neil Weinberg echoes what is probably the sentiment of a majority of Tigers' fans on the timing of the announcement.
I’ll let the actual rumors sort out in their own time but Ausmus firing is justified and overdue if it happens today or in 3 weeks.
— Neil Weinberg (@NeilWeinberg44) September 11, 2015
The Tigers were criticized for their handling of the dismissal of manager and local hero Alan Trammell at the end of the 2005 season, when it was believed that the team had made the decision to hire Jim Leyland long before the season was over.Trammell finished out the season, and was let go along with coaches Kirk Gibson and Lance Parrish after the season.
Ausmus has a 154-148 record in two seasons as Detroit's manager. The Tigers are in last place in the AL Central at 64-76, 20 games behind the first place Kansas City Royals. They won the division four consecutive years from 2011- 2014 but were swept out of the ALDS by the Orioles. Suffice it to say that the team has not lived up to expectations in 2015.