The case for Brad Ausmus
It was October of 2012 when Brad Ausmus, then a special assistant in the Padres organization, came to interview for the open managerial position with the Red Sox. According to multiple people who were around in 2012, Ausmus was the most impressive of all the interviewees and would have been given the position had John Farrell had not been made available.
While Ausmus was not given the position with the Red Sox, he did become a manager after Jim Leyland retired in Detroit. Ausmus at the time had no Major League managing experience, albeit minor experience leading team Israel in the World Baseball classic in 2013.
Ausmus, who has a degree from Dartmouth College, had a long and productive playing career beginning in 1993 when he was drafted by the Padres. He played for multiple teams prior to retiring in 2010. In his first season as manager, he led a veteran-laden ball club to the American League Central title, but soon after, the Tigers quickly started declining. In 2017, that ultimately led to his dismissal.
Ausmus has already become a name for multiple managerial openings from Philadelphia, New York, and Boston just to name a few. He has determined that he does not want to manage the Mets, leading me to believe that it would be in Boston where he would thrive and prove to be a great hire.
In his recent column, Hall of Fame columnist Peter Gammons talked about how back in 2012 he impressed the Boston brass and under two different scenarios would have been part of a coaching staff. Ausmus has been receiving high marks from former players including, David Price who recently told Gammons, that Ausmus was, “the best manager I ever played for.” AJ Ellis and Clayton Kershaw attribute the positive culture change in Los Angeles, to Ausmus as well.
During Dave Dombrowski’s press conference where he announced the removal of Farrell, he stated that he wanted a manager who had “job knowledge of running the game, running the pitching staff, and dealing with the media.”
He went on to explain that the ability to handle the media in Boston is different than in other cities. He named Detroit where he was formally the President and GM in the press conference.
Here are 6 reasons why I believe Ausmus would be a great choice for manager.
1) Spent 18 years catching in Baseball. Catcher is the captain of the team and is responsible for in-game management of pitchers, defenses and other important aspects of the game.
2) Previously spent the past four seasons managing the Tigers. Won the 2014 AL Central Title prior falling back in the standings over the past few season. Was picked by Dombrowski to be manager after the retirement of Jim Leyland.
3) His ability to relate and communicate to younger players which the current Red Sox roster has is crucial. It seemed that throughout his tenure John Farrell lost the ability to relate and more importantly communicate effectively with his younger players.
4) Having the support of management and players. As stated previously, David Price said that Ausmus was the best manager he played for. He has received high marks from his peers from around the game for his in-game management and ability to change a clubhouse culture, both of these aspects Farrell struggled with.
5) His ability to handle the media. Dealing with the Boston media is not at all easy. both Farrell and Francona struggled at times but were able to do it. Ausmus has the intelligence the experience from doing it albeit with Detroit so he wouldn’t be caught off guard by questions that could arise.
6) Dealing with the pressure of Boston. Ausmus grew up in Connecticut as a Red Sox fan and has always wanted to be the manager. Again his experience managing in Detroit only adds to his desire to work in Boston. If surrounded by the right staff, likely including his minor league manager, Brian Butterfield, it should help relieve some of the pressures that he could possibly face.
Overall it’s up to Dombrowski to choose whom he wants to be the manager. This is the first real test of Dombrowski’s tenure as President of Baseball Operations, so making the correct choice is important.
I think that the relationship already established between Ausmus and Dombrowski from their time in Detroit will be a big factor in whether Ausmus is handed the reigns to the Red Sox. In my opinion, I hope that even though he was not given the chance in 2012, he’ll finally get his chance to be the new manager of the Red Sox in 2018.