DETROIT — The Detroit Tigers announced Friday that they will not bring back manager Brad Ausmus next year after four seasons that included a division title amid declining fortunes as the franchise battles age, injuries and the departure of some key stars.
General manager Al Avila announced the move Friday.
Ausmus was 312-325 over nearly four full seasons, including a Central Division title in his first year. But the Tigers have generally underperformed since then. Detroit is shedding payroll, although the Tigers still have Miguel Cabrera’s huge contract.
“As we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position,” Avila said. “Brad has done an admirable job under, at times, difficult circumstances, especially this season, and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the Tigers the past four years. Our search for a new manager is under way. We plan to keep an open-mind in considering current members of the coaching staff for positions in 2018, but that will be in conjunction with the manager we hire.”
The Tigers earlier this season dealt ace Justin Verlander to Houston for a trio of prospects they believe will help them down the road. Detroit drafted Verlander in 2004 with the No. 2 overall pick, he was Rookie of the Year two years later and won the AL Cy Young Award and MVP honor in 2011. He also threw his second career no-hitter that season and led the Tigers to their first of four consecutive AL Central titles.
A year ago, the Tigers exercised the 2017 option on Ausmus’ contract after a 12-win improvement from 2015. The Tigers have finished first, last and second in the AL Central during his tenure and were just a half-game out of the bottom spot going into Friday’s games.
He took over after the 2013 season, when Jim Leyland stepped down. There was speculation toward the end of the 2015 season about whether Ausmus would be back, but the team kept him and the following year were only a half-game out of a postseason spot before dropping their final two games at Atlanta. There was no such chance this season.