On Saturday, the Tigers announced that they intended to bring back Brad Ausmus and his entire coaching staff for the 2016 season. The move came as a surprise to nearly everyone, as the prevailing belief was that Ausmus is not yet equipped to be a major league manager.
However, general manager Al Avila expressed his disagreement with that notion, "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."
"Brad is the right man to lead this team next year," Avila said. "I believe Brad has the talent, the know-how, to lead and mentor the young players that are on this team. They've shown great improvement, guys like James McCann, Castellanos, Anthony Gose, these guys have improved under Brad and his staff. We got a lot of pitchers also, that have improved. He also had the respect and the backing of the veteran players on this team. So, that combination to me, tells me that Brad is the right man to lead this team into next year."
Ausmus' detractors -- the vast majority of fans, it appears -- are more likely to focus on his on-field decisions. Lineup construction, bullpen management, and in-game strategical moves have been questioned since day one, and often with good reason. Perhaps more concerning than the tactical moves themselves was Ausmus' seeming reluctance to learn from his mistakes. When a questionable decision backfired (and there are plenty of examples), Ausmus was usually obstinate when answering question from the media, insisting his choice was logical and that he would do it the same way again, given the chance.
That reluctance to adapt, at least outwardly, combined with the team's miserable play (which of course he is not entirely to blame) has caused many fans to sour on the second-year manager. However, if it's true that Ausmus and his staff are connecting with the young players and have the respect of the veterans, it bodes well for the Tigers' future.