After a third consecutive season missing the playoffs, and with the team fully committed to a rebuild, the Detroit Tigers have parted ways with manager Brad Ausmus, as the team announced on Friday that they would not renew his contract.
The Tigers are currently 62-91 after a dismal 4-17 record in September. They’re currently in fourth place in the American League Central, but they’re just a half-game out of last place.
Ausmus, 48, was 312-325 in four years at the helm in Detroit. He took over for Jim Leyland after the 2013 season and won a division title in his first year, the fourth straight for the Tigers. But two losing seasons and a string of non-contending sealed his fate.
"Brad has done an admirable job under, at times, difficult circumstances, especially this season, and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the Tigers the past four years,” general manager Al Avila said in a statement. “Our search for a new manager is underway. We plan to keep an open-mind in considering current members of the coaching staff for positions in 2018, but that will be in conjunction with the manager we hire."
The writing was on the wall for Ausmus, especially with the Tigers losing 33 of their last 44 games. That coincided with Detroit shedding several of its best players, including trades of J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs in July, then Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros and Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels in August.
In early September, Avila said he had not spoken to Ausmus about his future with Detroit, telling Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, “It’s something that me and him will sit down and at some point, when we have some time and things settle down, we’ll see where that goes.”
But in the final two weeks of the season, Ausmus seemed to know his fate.
Brad Ausmus made a joke about next year's manager just now. Asked if he felt his fate has been determined. He said he thinks so— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) September 20, 2017
Asked if he believes his fate as Tigers manager has already been decided, Ausmus said, "I would imagine. I mean, Al's known me for 4 years."— Jason Beck (@beckjason) September 20, 2017
Asked on Sept. 20 if he wanted to manage in 2018, Ausmus was tight-lipped, per the Detroit News:
“I’ve been asked that before,” he said. “I’m not getting into it.”
Pressed, he said: “That’s as much as you’re getting out of me.”