After it was announced that Jim Leyland was stepping down as manager of the Detroit Tigers, a search for his replacement was almost immediately put into place. Late Saturday night, it was announced that the Tigers have found his replacement -- former player Brad Ausmus. He has officially signed a deal for three years, with a club option for a fourth year.
This isn't the first trip to the Motor City for Ausmus either. During his time as a player, he played twice for the Tigers before they shipped him elsewhere. He had most recently been serving as special assistant to the San Diego Padres. He was one of several candidates up for discussion regarding the job, along with Dodgers' third base coach Tim Wallach and Detroit hitting coach Lloyd McClendon. Wallach did note on Saturday that he hadn't heard anything about his chances. Ausmus doesn't have any managerial experience, but he would have a veteran coaching staff behind him to hopefully offset the lack of experience.
He played in the big leagues for 18 seasons, of which he spent 2½ in Detroit. His last stint came in the 1999-2000 season, before they shipped him to Houston where he played the next eight seasons. He finished his playing career with the Dodgers in 2010. Former Tigers player Travis Fryman was very high on Ausmus, when asked his opinion of his 1996 teammate:
I've certainly heard his name the last couple of years in manager discussions. Certainly catching prepares you to a large extent. So I think Brad would do an excellent job for anybody interested in him. We seem to see a trend in baseball towards younger managers. A lot of it I think is your presence, how you impact people around you. A lot of the decision making today is a little more predictable with sabermetrics. Certainly, Brad is a very intelligent guy. He's a Dartmouth graduate. I think Brad would be a strong manager.