Brad Ausmus, former major league catcher, has been named the new Detroit Tigers' manager. Ausmus, aside from managing the Israeli team in the World Baseball Classic, has no managerial experience. Before being hired on Sunday to manage the American League Central champs, Ausmus was a special assistant to the general manager in San Diego.
So what qualified Ausmus as the leading candidate for the job that Jim Leyland left behind? Well, Tigers General Manager Dave Dombrowski was impressed with Ausmus' interview the most. Ausmus, who played 18 seasons in the majors, retired after the 2010 season. This gives him an advantage similar to young managers like Mike Redmond (Miami Marlins), Mike Matheny (St. Louis Cardinals), and (Robin Ventura), in that there's no disconnect from the locker room culture.
As previously mentioned, the Tigers are a team still at the peak collectively. They will continue to contend. So should this be easy for Ausmus? Well, no. This will be as challenging as it was for Matheny, who had to replace another legendary manager, Tony La Russa, after winning the World Series in 2011. Ausmus will have the pieces in place like Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander. He just needs to know when to move them. Good thing he'll have an experienced bench coach in Gene Lamont, who is the only holdover from Leyland's staff.