Why 2017 is Brad Ausmus’ last chance to prove himself

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Detroit Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus enters his fourth year at the helm – but his seat is getting warmer and warmer.

The Tigers have not qualified for the postseason since bowing out to the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS in 2014, during which Ausmus’ decisions were the topic of discussion and much frustration amongst Tigers fans. The Tigers have since compiled a record of 160-162 and have missed out on the playoffs each of the last two seasons.

Although the team was hit hard by injuries last year, they did make a playoff push that eventually fell short. Many fans weren’t happy when it was announced that Ausmus would be returning in 2017. Tigers GM Al Avila said that the team doesn’t make coaching changes simply because of missing out on the MLB postseason.

“You don’t whack a guy simply because you’re upset and you didn’t make the playoffs,” he said. “You must take all the factors into consideration. Taking into account the assorted injuries that we had since spring training and we still went into the last game with a shot at the playoffs. That’s a good job of managing situations over the course of a long season.”

It appeared as though the Tigers might be making major changes to the team in the form of trading away some of the big-money contracts. It hasn’t happened, and the team will be entering this season with, in large-part, the same lineup as last year.

Because Avila has elected to go year-to-year with Ausmus rather than a long extension, he’ll have another chance to prove that he’s the right man to replace long-time skipper Jim Leyland. If not, the Tigers could find themselves exploring new options for clubhouse leadership.