Now that the World Series is over, MLB clubs are free to make major announcements regarding their respective staffs. The Detroit Tigers did just that today by naming former catcher Brad Ausmus as the team's newest manager.
Ausmus, 44, replaces Jim Leyland, who retired after the Tigers were knocked out of the playoffs by the eventual champion Boston Red Sox last month. Leyland spent eight years coaching the Tigers and finishes his career 15th all-time in managerial wins (1,769).
The last time Ausmus played in the major leagues was 2010, when he wrapped up his career with the Dodgers after missing most of the 2010 season due to a herniated disk. A month later, he was hired by the San Diego Padres as Special Assistant to Baseball Operations.
He is a familiar face to the Detroit organization, as his 17-year career includes stints with the Tigers in 1996 and again in 1999-2000. His longest stop was from 2001-2008 with the Houston Astros, including the 2005 World Series team that was swept by the White Sox.
Ausmus does not have any professional managerial experience in either the majors or minors (except for Oct. 4, 2009, when he got to act as manager for the day against the Rockies), but managed Team Israel in May 2012 for the qualification round of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. The team missed out on the Classic, however, falling to Spain in the pool finals. He became a member of the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
The Tigers' announcement comes less than a week after interviewing Ausmus, who apparently made a great impression on the front office.
"Anyone I talked to or our people talked to, any time Brad's name came up, they were effusive with praise," Tigers president and GM Dave Dombrowski said. "It kept coming back that this guy was born to manage many years ago. … Extremely intelligent and yet could communicate with everyone.
"Frankly, when we interviewed, we were taken aback at how impressive he was."