Tigers Make A Dramatic Change With Brad Ausmus
There’s no doubt that Ausmus is intelligent and baseball savvy. He went to Dartmouth, was a Gold Glove catcher, was a well-spoken leader and had a penchant for clutch hits in the playoffs. The Tigers are a team that won’t require very much tweaking or for Ausmus to do anything to keep them a contender. He was up for several managing jobs and his interview and resume were so impressive than an old-school general manager like Dave Dombrowski was willing to look past his total absence of managerial experience and tab him as the team’s new manager to replace Jim Leyland.
It’s an outside-the-box hire even though Ausmus was a well-known managerial prospect. The new trend is to ignore so-called antiquated beliefs when it comes to hiring a manager. It used to be that pitchers were rarely managerial prospects. Now John Farrell’s success with the Red Sox coupled with the respected work Bud Black has done with the Padres is giving former pitchers and pitching coaches an opportunity they might not have had before.
Mike Matheny had never managed anywhere when he was tabbed to replace Tony LaRussa with the Cardinals and has made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons and won a pennant this year. Dombrowski is following the lead of the Cardinals with the Ausmus hire. The resume looks great, but there have been many managers who had a wonderful list of accomplishments and were disasters as managers. Trey Hillman couldn’t have been a better candidate. He was a player, coach, scout and successful manager in Japan. The Royals hired him and it just didn’t work. He was overwhelmed with the media scrutiny and his strategies were haphazard. Sometimes the best candidates on paper and in the interview aren’t the ones that succeed.
There are several ways to look at this and all have some validity in saying this is a good or bad idea. Teams in sports have their own strategies in replacing longtime coaches/managers. The Pittsburgh Steelers have had three head coaches since 1969. When four-time Super Bowl winner Chuck Noll retired, the Steelers went in a totally different direction when they hired Bill Cowher – a former assistant with the Chiefs and Browns.