DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers announced Friday that manager Brad Ausmus wouldn't return to the team after the end of the 2017 season.
Ausmus talked about the decision in the dugout before the team's Friday night game. He said he found out earlier in the week.
"(General manager) Al (Avila) and I talked a couple of days ago," Ausmus said. "We had probably about a 45-minute conversation. Al and I have become very good friends over the four years I was here, so it was a little emotional."
Ausmus said when Avila told him he wouldn't be coming back for the 2018 season, he understood.
"Quite frankly, I told him I completely understood," Ausmus said. "I told him, if he had offered me a contract I probably wouldn't have come back. I think this team, this organization is starting over, and they need a new voice."
Ausmus said sometimes a manager has to be able to evaluate himself, and he said it was probably a good idea for the Tigers to look for new leadership.
Ausmus reflects on time in Detroit
He said he enjoyed his time "thoroughly," and thanked the Ilitches, his coaches and players.
Ausmus said he's enjoyed living in the city because it's undergoing a renaissance, and people outside Michigan don't get to see it. He said this is going to be the place to be.
"Unfortunately, in the dugout as the manager, it's come to an end," Ausmus said. "I wish, if nothing else, that we could have won a World Series, and quite frankly, I wish we had done it before Mr. I [Mike Ilitch] passed away."
Ausmus went 312-325 in four seasons with the Tigers. He said there are no hard feelings and that the two sides are parting ways "very amicably."
He wished Avila the best and said he believes the Tigers organization is heading in the right direction.
Why finish out the season?
Avila announced that while Ausmus wouldn't return for 2018, he and his staff would finish out the remainder of this season.
When asked why he would finish the season, Ausmus was adamant that it was the right thing to do.
"Why finish out the season? Because I'm under contract for 2017 and my job is to manage the Tigers," Ausmus said. "So I'm going to do that until my contract is over, which is at the end of the season."
Looking back on time with Tigers
Ausmus said his time with the Tigers taught him to have thick skin. He was heavily criticized throughout his tenure as the team went from three straight appearances in the American League Championship Series to just one brief playoff appearance.
"I already had thick skin coming in, so it wasn't too bad," Ausmus said.
He said the players were informed of the decision by Avila, but he won't address the situation until the end of the season.
"I felt like this was the right move to make, and I wasn't going to come back anyway," Ausmus said. "I just think the Tigers need a different voice, so I was very at ease with it."
He said the thing that hurt the most was leaving his assistant coaches out to dry without a job.
Ausmus doesn't blame players
"I would like to manage again," Ausmus said. "It's something I enjoy doing. It wasn't lack of effort, we just didn't perform on the field. The fact that we didn't win, I'm the manager, I'll shoulder that.
Despite several injuries and players who didn't perform up to their expectations, he doesn't blame them for the way the season has gone.
"Players sometimes have off years, and teams do," Ausmus said. "But I'm the manger. I'm in charge of it, and I feel that the team should have been a little bit better this year despite the injuries, so in that sense, I look at it and say I'm at fault."
He said that after the Tigers traded Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels and Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros, it felt like the right move for Avila to find a different voice in the dugout going forward.
"Once the Verlander trade, the Upton trade, I felt like it was complete rebuild mode and it probably would be prudent for Al to wipe the slate clean and bring a different voice in," Ausmus said.
Ausmus said even though it's the end of his time in a Tigers uniform, there's some upside because he can spend more time with his family. He said he'll miss the city, the Metro Detroit area and the camaraderie of being around the team.
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH AL AVILA BELOW: