With the Detroit Tigers approaching 100 losses this season with a week left to play, the news that the organization won’t be renewing the contract of manager Brad Ausmus probably wasn’t a big surprise. Ausmus’ record in Detroit’s dugout across four seasons was 312-326 after he inherited a team that had reached the American League Championship Series under Jim Leyland in 2013. The Tigers’ veteran-laden roster returned to the postseason in Ausmus’ first season with 90 wins, but after suffering a three-game AL Division Series sweep, they’ve missed the postseason each of the past three years while spending heavily.
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With a full rebuild already underway, speculation has immediately started over who might be under consideration to fill Ausmus’ shoes in 2018. We asked ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, David Schoenfield and Bradford Doolittle to weigh in on the challenge ahead of the next Tigers skipper, who has succeeded facing similar situations, who might merit consideration this time around, and who might slip into the job under the radar.
1. What will the Tigers job entail going forward?
Jerry Crasnick: A lot of patience and a focus on fundamentals, for starters. The Tigers are in full-fledged rebuild mode now that they’ve traded away Justin Verlander, Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez. Unfortunately, those deals didn’t fetch the type of impact talent that White Sox general manager Rick Hahn obtained when he sold off his big pieces.
“The Tigers are going to be bad for a while,” said a veteran agent. “The farm system is not good even after those trades.”