Unfortunately for the Detroit Tigers and their fans, winning big in 2017 was not meant to be. In fact, as of September 21st, they are 62-90, which puts them just 1.5 games ahead of the Chicago White Sox for dead last in the entire American League.
Though the players are mostly responsible for wins and losses, Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is not off the hook. In my opinion, he never should have been hired in the first place and he certainly should not have returned as manager in 2016 or 2017. Don’t get me wrong, I am not placing 100% of the blame on Ausmus, heck, he may only be responsible for about 5% of the Tigers struggles, but he has not been good at his job and it’s time for a change. At this point, with the Tigers going into a major rebuilding phase, it would shock me if Ausmus returned as manager 2018.
Here is a list of seven candidates in no particular order who general manager Al Avila could hire as the next manager of the Detroit Tigers. A couple of these guys have better odds than the others to land the job, but we made sure to throw in a couple of dark horse candidates to keep things interesting!
If I were a betting man, my money would be on Omar Vizquel to take over as manager of the Tigers in 2018. Vizquel is currently the first base coach for the Tigers and is very familiar with the current roster. The one downfall with Vizquel is that he does not have any prior experience as an MLB manager. That being said, the former slick-fielding shortstop relates well to the players and knows the game well.
A straight steal of home? Classic Omar Vizquel. pic.twitter.com/q25uQeSLc7
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) June 13, 2017
To be honest, I was convinced the Tigers would fire Brad Ausmus at the end of the 2015 season and then again at the end of the 2016 season, but for some reason, Al Avila decided to give him another chance. If Avila would have made the right move, I was hoping he would go hard after former Minnesota Twins manager, Ron Gardenhire. Gardenhire is currently the bench coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks but if the Tigers offer him the job, he would seriously have to consider taking it. The only question is, would Gardenhire want to come to a team that is unlikely to contend for a few years?
Talk about things that make you go hmmmm. When Lloyd McClendon was named the hitting coach for the Tigers, the first thing that entered my mind was that he was hired as a safety net in case Ausmus struggled once again in 2017. Well, the Tigers certainly struggled in 2017 but it is a foregone conclusion that Ausmus will survive until the end of the season. Who knows, maybe allowing a familiar face to work with the young players for a couple of seasons would not be the worst idea.
— Stadium (@WatchStadium) June 26, 2017
Is it squarely on Brad Ausmus that the Tigers crapped their pants in 2017? Of course not, but let’s face it, the team needs a new leader, especially during a rebuilding phase. If Al Avila really wants to shake things up in a major way he should give Ozzie Guillen a call. Guillen is the type of manager who has winning experience and would not be afraid to get in the faces of the Tigers players and that may be exactly what they need at this point. If Avila decides to look outside of the Tigers organization for a replacement for Ausmus, Guillen could get a call.
— TheDLine™ (@TheDetroitLine) May 13, 2016
*Yes, we know that is an old tweet, but it gives us a look at what Ozzie would look like in the Old English D.
Though Ron Washington is 65-years-old, he not only has experience as a manager but he has WINNING experience, including leading the Rangers to the World Series in 2010 and 2011. Washington is currently the third base coach for the Atlanta Braves but if the Tigers came calling, Washington could jump on the opportunity to call the shots once again.
— FanSided MLB (@FanSidedMLB) June 27, 2017
One name that never seems to fade away when talking about a comeback is former Tigers skipper, Jim Leyland. Many will argue that Leyland is retired and has no interest in coaching an MLB team ever again, which may or may not be true, but he obviously had enough itch to accept the position as manager of Team USA for the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Leyland also serves as a special assistant to the Detroit Tigers, so who knows what talks have been had. Leyland had his fair share of supporters in Detroit, but he also had his fair share of haters, which would make this a very interesting hire, though VERY unlikely.
— DetroitSportsNation (@detsportsnation) May 11, 2016
What fun would it be if we didn’t throw a dark horse candidate into this conversation? The chances of Torri Hunter becoming the next manager of the Detroit Tigers is very slim, but it is also a very interesting concept. Hunter, before he retired, was widely considered as one of the best clubhouse guys in baseball. He was a leader on the field and there is nothing that suggests he could not do the same thing as a manager. Like Omar Vizquel, the main thing that Hunter has working against him is his lack of experience as a manager, so the odds are stacked against him. That being said, something like this sure is fun to think about, right? Wrong?
— Star Tribune Sports (@StribSports) May 13, 2016