Attention, students! Are you looking for a quiet place to study? Go to Comerica Park during a game—nobody will be there to bother you!
Attendance at the stadium has become nonexistent because the Detroit Tigers currently are in dead last. This means no playoff baseball in the Motor City this fall, which for Detroiters is like skipping out on Christmas.
In short, the 2015 campaign was one of high hopes and great disappointments. Before the start of the season, they were predicted to win their division again and even go on to make a pennant run. They are not anywhere near that. Going into 2015, experts speculated that the primary concern would be the bullpen. Ironically enough, the bullpen did just fine during the first two months of the season. It was the offense that struggled. And when the offense did well, the pitching botched. All the while, there was minimal leadership by the reigning coaching staff. The selling of superstar players and sporadic injuries also contributed to this year’s underperformance. All in all, nobody could have predicted this mess given the talent of this roster from top to bottom.
Because of all this, the team’s executives are determined to clean the slate for next year. It is time to move on. Current manager Brad Ausmus took a team with the fifth highest payroll in the league from first place to last place in a matter of months.
The best candidate to lead the Tigers to victory in 2016 is experienced manager Ron Gardenhire.
Ron Gardenhire is currently on the job hunt. Although he has not yet won a World Series, he boasts a winning percentage above .500 and an American League Manager of the Year Award with the Minnesota Twins, leading the team to a division title. He was runner up of the Manager of the Year Award five other times. During his rookie season in managing, he finished third in voting. And finally, he has won his division six times. In short, he is a winner. And a winner is just what the Tigers need.
Ron has a hard-nosed, fiery reputation that will give the Tigers the boost they need to persevere. Ausmus was not that type of manager. His style of managing may work elsewhere, but not with this team.
Numerous reports have pointed to the firing of Coach Brad Ausmus after this season ends. Other reports show player support and a potential return. Regardless of what you may think, his hiring back in 2013 brought a wide range of both skepticism and optimism. Some felt that a fresh Dartmouth graduate was the right move for the franchise. He even came in with most of Leyland’s experienced coaching staff. With all of these guides, a high powered offense led by Miguel Cabrera, and a pitching staff that included David Price, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez, somehow the team managed to go from World Series conquest to now a world of woes.
As manager, Gardenhire will give the Tigers the best chance to win the division title and lead them back into the World Series hunt. This offseason, Detroit must look to make offseason moves that will help bring better and more experienced arms to the bullpen. This past year, the Tigers traded closer Joakim Soria and also lost veteran closer Joe Nathan due to injury. Pitching will be the second biggest hole to fill this offseason, the first being coaching.
Here’s my bottom line: Ausmus did not turn out to be the successful manager we all thought he could be, and Ron Gardenhire is our solution.