The rebuilding of the American League Central Detroit Tigers will begin anew next season under a new manager.
On Friday, the Tigers released a statement that manager Brad Ausmus would not be returning for the 2018 season after managing the club for four years.
Al Avila the general manager said the team would not be extending the contract of Ausmus. The GM said the team did not win and the organization decided that a change was needed in the dugout and on the field.
Avila said the roster needed changing and the team began trading players and decided the best thing would be to change the manager as well.
Detroit becomes the first team to announce a managerial shakeup this season.
Following Friday’s loss of 7-3 to Minnesota Ausmus is now 312-326 as the Detroit skipper. His tenure with the team included a title in the AL Central during his first year at the helm. However, the Tigers have not reached the postseason since.
The Tigers have shed large chunks of payroll this season, trading away stars, J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander and Justin Upton, and the team is assured of a finish that is no better than fourth in the AL Central.
Ausmus said that he and Avila had become close friends during his tenure with the Tigers so the meeting was emotional when he was told by Avila the team would not retain him.
Ausmus said he told Avila he completely understood and said if he had been offered a new contract he likely would not have accepted since he too believes the team must start over completely, with a new voice directing them.
Ausmus started with Detroit prior to the 2014 season replacing Jim Leyland and inheriting a roster laden with stars, but one that was beginning to show its age.
Last season Detroit was 86-75 and almost reached the playoffs and the team was largely kept intact over the winter, hoping they would be able to contend in 2017.
Ausmus exercised his option and returned as well, but Detroit never mounted any challenge.
When taking the position in 2014, Ausmus had virtually no managerial experience but the former catcher in the majors looked initially, to be just what the team needed in a younger and fresher voice.
They won the AL Central his first year but were swept in the AL Division series by Baltimore and have not returned to the playoffs the past three seasons.