DETROIT – A source within the Detroit Tigers' front office who has been in contact with Local 4's Bernie Smilovitz over the past two weeks says that Brad Ausmus will be out as Tigers manager at the end of the 2015 season.
The source said new General Manager Al Avila wants to bring in his own manager for a fresh start. Owner Mike Ilitch reportedly wants to bring a championship to Detroit, but doesn't feel Ausmus is the guy to do it. Ilitch is reportedly unhappy about miscommunication with the players and strategic mistakes on the field.
You could tell something wasn't right during the team photo this week. Ausmus was asked about his chat with Ilitch on the field before the picture was taken, but wouldn't answer, saying, "That's personal. Sorry."
On Friday, Avila released this statement:
"I have stated several times since becoming Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager that we are evaluating all personnel, and know that includes the players, the manager and his staff, and minor league operations. In fact, I reconfirmed with Mr. Ilitch and Manager Brad Ausmus this morning that these evaluations are on-going and decisions in any of these areas will be made by the end of the season."
Ausmus was named Tigers' manager on Nov. 3, 2013 after Jim Leyland coached the team from 2006-2013. Ausmus led the Tigers to a 90-72 record and a fourth straight AL Central Division title in his first year, beating out the Kansas City Royals by one game. But the playoff appearance was a brief one, as the Baltimore Orioles swept Detroit in a three-game ALDS.
This season, the Tigers are in last place in the division at just 64-76. Former GM Dave Dombrowski traded away star players David Price and Yoenis Cespedes and closer Joakim Soria at the July deadline because the team was well out of the playoff race.
Dombrowski was released by the Tigers on Aug. 4.
Ausmus has been criticized for his management of the Tigers' bullpen, which is the third worst in MLB with a 4.70 ERA. The team has also seen a substantial increase in base running mistakes and mental errors in the field.
Who will replace Ausmus and manage the Tigers in 2016? Several names have been discussed, but our source told us that former Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is one of the candidates being considered.