REPORTS: Tigers have settled on former catcher Brad Ausmus as next manager
Experience doesn’t mean what it used to.
Just ask first-time skippers like Mike Matheny, or Bryan Price or Matt Williams — guys who’ve gotten big-league managerial gigs in the last few years without an ounce of managerial experience.
Brad Ausmus may be the newest addition to that list.
Several published reports late Saturday, first from Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610 in Houston, have the 44-year-old Ausmus headed back to Detroit to finalize a deal to become the Tigers franchise’s next manager.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports later confirmed it with a source of his own.
Currently a special assistant to the general manager in San Diego, Ausmus was interviewed by the Tigers on Monday. He interviewed with the Cubs Friday.
He’d previously interviewed in Washington, where Williams ended up with the job, replacing the 70-year-old Davey Johnson. The inexperienced Price got the gig in Cincinnati after the 64-year-old Dusty Baker was fired.
Outgoing Tigers manager Jim Leyland, himself 68, alluded to turning the team over to a younger voice.
At 44, the former catcher Ausmus is that.
His only prior managerial experience? As the skipper of Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.
“It’s not rocket science, it’s people science, and Brad is excellent at dealing with people,” Padres vice president of player development Randy Smith, the former Tigers GM who traded for Ausmus twice, said in an interview on Detroit 105.1 (WMGC-FM) last Monday. “He always has been.”
The predecessor to Dave Dombrowski as Tigers GM, Smith brought Ausmus to Detroit Twice by way of trade. Dombrowski brought four people in to interview for the job — Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria and Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach — but apparently has settled on Ausmus, before the Cubs can.
It’s a job that both Jim Leyland — the former manager, who stepped down two days after the Tigers’ ouster from the American League Championship Series — and his bench coach, Gene Lamont, have said might be better off in the hands of an experienced manager.
Lamont went as far as to say “sometimes it doesn’t become the easiest team to manage.”
Smith didn’t think that would be a problem.
“I do know that, in my mind, there’s no doubt he’s going to be a successful manager, and reward somebody when they give him that opportunity. I’m as sure of his success as I was when I hired Bruce Bochy,” Smith said.
“Brad’s got the right temperament, he’s smart. ... Brad’s going to be a good manager, whether it’s in Detroit or someplace else."