DETROIT -- In a surprising plot twist at the tail end of a topsy-turvy season, the Detroit Tigers have announced that manager Brad Ausmus will return for the 2016 season. Ausmus, who guided the Tigers to a division title in 2014, is 162-153 as the team's manager with seven scheduled games remaining in the 2016 season. In addition, the team's staff will return for the next season.
"I believe we have the leadership here and we have the continuity with the staff here, the manager here," general manager Al Avila said. "Some of the new players that we got into this system, you can see the progress, you can see them getting better under this management. You see that improvement; you see what they've done under this staff. That continuity, for me, is very important."
There have not been any contract extension talks between Ausmus and the Tigers beyond the 2016 season. The decision to retain Ausmus was relayed to the Tigers manager on Friday morning. Avila then informed the team's staff first before letting the players know of the decision to retain Ausmus as manager through next season. Avila praised Ausmus' work with the younger players on the team.
"Brad (Ausmus) is the right man to lead this team next year," said Avila, also being effusive of Ausmus' calm demeanor despite "all kinds of silly (bleep) going on."
The Tigers have been one of the worst teams in the American League in 2015, so much so that Ausmus was expected to be fired. Justin Spiro of the Detroit Sports Rag even went so far as to call it "pretty much done" through a source within the organization.
Bernie Smilovitz of Detroit television station WDIV echoed that report a few weeks later when the Tigers were 12 games under .500. The Tigers refuted the rumor, stating that a decision would be made by the end of the season. On Saturday prior to the second game of a three-game series with the Twins, the Tigers held a press conference to announce the news.
Avila acknowledged the difficulties that Ausmus faced throughout the season. "This team was flawed from the start," Avila said. "When (bleep) hits the fan, you find out the true makeup of a team." The Tigers have won seven of their last 10 games and are currently on a three-game win streak.