Former Tigers catcher Brad Ausmus has never been a manager — in the major leagues or the minor leagues. But all signs pointed this morning that Ausmus would become the Tigers’ next skipper. Ken Rosenthal of foxsports.com — an esteemed baseball reporter — tweeted that Ausmus was the choice of Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski. He was confirming a report Saturday from Adam Spolane, who works at a Houston sports-talk radio station. Later, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports also confirmed the report. The Tigers, meanwhile, said nothing. Texts and e-mails to team officials were not returned.
It's not really surprising that the texts and e-mails weren't returned, because this report first broke Saturday just before midnight Eastern time. (Which gives me a chance to remind you to turn your clocks back, if you haven't already, because Daylight Saving time ended early this morning.)
So now what do the Cubs do? If you recall, two years ago the Red Sox appeared to be all set to hire Dale Sveum, only to see Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer do it first... and then Boston went ahead and hired Bobby Valentine. You all know how that turned out. Obviously the Cubs won't hire Valentine, but what do they do now that one of their apparent top choices for the job looks like he's not going to be available?
Personally, I hope they go back and re-visit the idea of hiring Dave Martinez. His credentials are impeccable.
Here's an early-Sunday article from Ken Rosenthal that sums up the recent trend of hiring managers with little or no experience, citing Mike Matheny, Robin Ventura, Ausmus and even , who, although he does have coaching experience, has never managed. This, I found interesting:
Former White Sox GM Ken Williams pointed out after the hirings of Matheny and Ventura that both had an advantage of understanding the expectations of their respective fan bases.
Martinez is the only one of the prospective Cubs managers who has that, having played four years for the Cubs (and also three years for the White Sox, so he has considerable experience being around Chicago media). This isn't the be-all and end-all of criteria, and obviously he didn't have the long career with the team he'd be managing as Matheny and Ventura did, but in a situation like this one, where all the candidates seem roughly the same, maybe it's a tiebreaker.
The only thing we know for certain is that Theo said that he wanted someone in place by the general managers meetings, which begin a week from Monday. So we're likely to hear something this week.
I'm posting the same poll I posted yesterday, except without Ausmus. Weigh in again, in the comments.