Big League Stew

Report: Brad Ausmus to be named Detroit Tigers manager

Mark Townsend
Big League Stew

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(USA Today)

If the first three managerial hires of the offseason are any indication, those with prior experience need not apply. According to Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal, who confirms an earlier report from Adam Spolane of Sports Radio 610, Brad Ausmus is set to be named Jim Leyland's replacement with the Detroit Tigers, becoming the third first-time manager hired.

And what do all three teams have in common?

That's actually pretty interesting. Ausmus joins Matt Williams, who takes over for Davey Johnson with the Washington Nationals, and Bryan Price, who got the nod with the Cincinnati Reds, as a first-time managers with pressure and expectations to win right away. That's like jumping over the frying pan into the fire, but unlike both Williams and Price, Ausmus has no coaching experience at the big league level to lean on.

Well, unless you count one day at the end of the 2009 season in Los Angeles.

Ausmus is actually more in the mold of Mike Matheny. A first-time manager taking over for a legend that left his organization in pristine shape.

The transition from Tony LaRussa to Matheny was a seamless one for the St. Louis Cardinals. Can the Tigers recreate that formula? That's something we'll only know over time.

Of course, we've seen teams like the Chicago White Sox and Colorado Rockies turn to inexperienced skippers with their hires of Robin Ventura and Walt Weiss. Those organizations are in a much different place than the teams noted here, obviously, but the shift towards first-time managers seems to be gaining steam all over the league, regardless of standing.

With the Chicago Cubs and Seattle Mariners still in the market for a manager, it'll be interesting to see if the trend continues. We do know for a fact the Cubs were in heavy on Ausmus as recently as early Saturday.

As for Ausmus' background. He spent 18 years in the majors playing for the Tigers on two occasions, along with the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. He's a three-time Gold Glove winner behind the plate, and made one All-Star team in 1999. He always seemed to be a clubhouse leader wherever he went, so earning the players respect shouldn't be difficult.

Ausmus is expected to travel to Detroit to finalize the deal on Sunday. An announcement could come as soon as then, but more likely on Monday.

How do you feel about the hire for Detroit? Are they going in the right direction here?

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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