DETROIT – Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila announced Friday that manager Brad Ausmus will not return to the team after the end of the 2017 season.
"This is not a happy day for me or the organization," Avila said. "However, I have brought everyone here to announce that we will not be extending the contract of Brad Ausmus for 2018. We will not be bringing him back for next season."
Avila said Ausmus and his staff will coach through the end of the season, with their last day being Oct. 1. He decided to make the announcement because he didn't feel it was right to wait.
"It doesn't really do any good to continue to wait until the end of the season," Avila said. "I felt that once the decision was made, the right thing to do is to tell Brad, make the announcement and move forward."
Avila told Ausmus Wednesday that he was thinking about his options, and delivered the news Thursday when they met again.
"Brad is very professional," Avila said. "He's been a professional. He's worked hard. He's very knowledgeable. He understood the reasoning.
"Obviously, we didn't win. The organization got to a point where we need a change on the field. We needed to change the roster, and we started trading players. Then the conclusion is, 'Let's just take a whole brand new road and opening up to new things.' We felt that it's a new beginning, a fresh start."
Avila said Ausmus handled it very well. He expects Ausmus to land back on his feet and go on to have a successful managing career.
"I think, obviously, Brad's going to have a great future," Avila said. "Most managers, when they start, they're going to move on to other clubs, and I think Brad will probably manage somewhere else and be more successful."
With so many new, young players on the roster, Avila said the decision was more about making a change as the organization begins a new era.
"It's not so much anything on Brad, but more of the situation," Avila said. "As we move forward, I felt it was just better to go ahead with new leadership."
Avila said it hasn't had anything to do with the team's performance since the trade deadline. After the Tigers traded away J.D. Martinez, Justin Wilson, Justin Upton and Justin Verlander, there was very little any manager could have done with the remaining roster.
"What you see now is a fraction of what the team actually was supposed to be," Avila said.
He said the team knew it would be a rough September because players who aren't ready for the major league game are playing every day. He said the team is just trying to get through the season.
Avila said the decision wasn't a long time in the making, but simply due to a desire to have a new beginning. He said it makes sense to have a new manager at the beginning of a rebuild with so many new players.
At this point in the season, Avila said general managers for playoff teams can't do much more than sit back and watch the games. But for a team facing a rebuild like the Tigers, he said September is when the front office takes a look at all the team personnel to make decisions about the future.
He said that's when the decision not to bring Ausmus back was officially made.
"I don't think any player went out there on purpose and tried to underachieve," Avila said. "They're out there trying to have a great year ... But it doesn't always work out that way. The players are trying their best ... but sometimes it's a down year."
Avila said the two of them never discussed whether Ausmus wanted to come back for another season.
"When we talked about it, we never really discussed that," Avila said. "Basically, I just told him that we're going to go in a new direction. He never came back to say, 'I want to come back,' or, 'I don't want to come back.' So that conversation never took place."