Tigers won’t renew Ausmus’ contract

BY GEORGE SIPPLE Detroit Free Press
 
 DETROIT — Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila said before Friday’s game at Comerica Park that Brad Ausmus will not return as the team’s manager.
 
 Ausmus, whose contract is up at the end of the season, was 312-325 (.490) in four seasons with the Tigers. His ousting comes near the end of a disappointing season, when the Tigers failed to meet expectations and traded away most of the remaining valuable pieces on their roster.
 
 The Tigers are 62-91 this season, 34 games behind the Cleveland Indians in the American League Central.
 
 The season began with cautious optimism that one of Major League Baseball’s largest payrolls could make a final run at a championship. Instead, after spending most of the first half struggling in a tightly bunched AL Central due to bullpen woes and injuries, the Tigers sent J.D. Martinez to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila to the Chicago Cubs, Justin Upton to the L.A. Angels and Justin Verlander to the Houston Astros in franchise-changing trades.
 
 In return, the Tigers restocked their minor league rosters, hopeful that they could build a winner later this decade.
 
 The Tigers made the postseason just once under Ausmus, in 2014, but even then they failed to meet expectations. A roster with four past or future Cy Young Award winners — Verlander, Rick Porcello, David Price, and Max Scherzer — was swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Division Series.
 
 The Tigers haven’t been back to the postseason since.
 
 Ausmus spent 18 seasons as a catcher at the major league level and played for the Tigers in 1996 and 1999-2000. His only managerial experience before being hired by former general manager Dave Dombrowski was managing Team Israel in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
 
 Ausmus’ 312 victories are the 11th most by a Tigers manager, and his 325 losses are the ninth most. He is one of only nine managers in franchise history to take the Tigers to the postseason.
 
 DAVID RICHARD/USA TODAY SPORTS
 
Detroit Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, center, stands between home plate umpire Quinn Wolcott and catcher James McCann after McCann was ejected from a game against the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 13.