With the season thoroughly lost and only moral victories available, there is little pressure surrounding the Detroit Tigers. Winning or losing doesn’t really matter at this point. Because of that, for the first time in his managing career, the microscope has been removed from Brad Ausmus.
Ausmus has been a constant source of frustration for fans through his four years as the Tigers’ manager. The calls for his firing have been so constant that he debated using the nickname “Fire” on his MLB Players’ Weekend jersey.
But this is not the scenario that most saw Ausmus’ future being decided in. Most saw him being fired in a blaze of glory after another near-playoff miss or mismanagement of a bullpen. Certainly not with a wimper after a season he had little control over.
Al Avila predictably deflected any questions about his future on Monday morning with 97.1 The Ticket. With Ausmus’ managerial record standing at 304-304 and a full rebuild on the horizon, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the team choose either direction. But the decision will be telling about the future philosophy of the team.
Justin Verlander still good, still a Tiger
While some saw Sunday’s dominating performance as another audition for “future Astro” Justin Verlander, trade possibilities still seem far-fetched.
#Tigers GM Al Avila to 97.1 on Justin Verlander being dealt this month: "Probabilities are minimal. ... Winter time could be different."— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) August 21, 2017
If Verlander ends up moving on, it will likely be beneficial for his legacy. Winning tends to do that. Also, I’ll be rooting against the Astros in the playoffs if they don’t make a move. I guarantee their lack of starting pitching depth is going to cost them.
Van Man on the mend
Daniel Norris has made two of his three scheduled rehab starts and is on schedule for a September 1 return. While the first start went poorly (four earned runs in two innings,) his second start was a bit more promising (one hit but four walks in 3 1⁄3). With the pressure of winning no longer paramount, hopefully Norris can work on his command with an eye on 2018.
Which quote is from Don Kelly and which is from Mikie Mahtook?
“When you are hitting .170 you knew it could be a possibility you are going to be let go. Especially when you have two others who have similar roles on the team. But, it turned out to be good. It all depends on how you approach these situations. If I had been bitter and not been prepared to play game in and game out, I knew I would never be called back up.”
“That’s kind of how I’ve always been my whole life,” he said. “An energy guy is personality. So it’s basically, my personality is just coming out the way I play.
“I’m the same guy when I was on the bench as when I was playing, so my personality is just the way it is, and if that’s contagious and that makes it more fun, then great. But that’s kind of the way I am and whether I’m playing everyday or I’m not, that’s never going to change.”
The first is DK and the second is Mahtook, but you get the point. Both are grinders. And with Mahtook’s second half resurgence, he is quickly becoming a fan favorite in the same vein of Kelly. For that reason, I highly recommend Anthony Fenech’s whole piece on Mikie.
For your free time
Justin Verlander has a slider for every occasion. Great analysis by Ron. Mid season review of a the Tigers’ pre season top-20 prospect list. Did you follow that? Byron Buxton has been blasting baseballs. Going to Guaranteed Rate Field is always a special experience.