Brad Ausmus is the new Tigers manager.
Not surprised by the selection of Ausmus – who had an NFL scouting combine- like rise to the top of MLB managerial candidates – I was in mild disbelief that Ausmus didn’t have more panache in his introductory press conference.
I expected a refined orator, who was prepared with intelligent, rapid fire answers that commanded the attention of the room.
The new skipper’s body language resembled that of someone who’s uncomfortable stuck in the middle seat of a plane, between the self serving, bombast and 300lb guy that won’t stop falling asleep on your shoulder.
How is THIS guy going to lead a locker room of 5, 10, and 20 millionaires, who’ve won three straight American League Central titles, and been just 10 wins from back to back World Series titles?
Ausmus clearly impressed Dave Dombrowski, his staff and Mr. Illitch. If he’d been timid during that process, as I believe he was yesterday, then there’s little chance Ausmus would have received the offer from Dombrowski. Over this President and GM’s reign, the Tigers are much more successful organization than San Diego, where Ausmus came from. If he was able to captivate Detroit’s senior executives, then they have confidence he’ll be able to corral the twenty man makeup of the Tigers.
Yesterday we may have seen the weakest tool in Ausmus’ skill set – public speaking and interacting with the media.
That’s something he’s never had to do before in such the vice of an environment, which included a Sunday afternoon with no Lions football, meaning all eyes, ears and hopes of Motor City sports fans were centered directly at the newly annointed. first time manager.
– I think Ausmus only mentioned two players by name: Verlander and Fielder. When he was asked about the Tigers needing to hold runners better – and they do – I was surprised he kept saying ‘catcher’ and not Avila. I’m probably reading too much into that, but it stood out to me.
– If there was a time he did get prickly, I sensed it when he referenced the bullpen, and how he believed it needs to be managed properly. The Tigers may not have the obvious talent there, but it may be Ausmus’ pet project.
– I hope he seeks input from his veteran starting pitchers on whether Jeff Jones is to return or not. I’m all for having one’s own comfortable circle of trust, but one of the reasons there was fear towards bringing in an ‘outsider’ was the possible alienation of the steady veterans.
– Ausmus is a risk. But so too would have been McClendon, Rick Renteria, Lamont, Barry Larkin(???), and Tim Wallach. There’s risk with everything. This is now onDombrowski to fbuild a less worrisome bullpen, get a genuine leadoff hitter and decide on second base. All while maintaining a core to play under Ausmus for many years. There sits my biggest worry.