By: Will Burchfield
Are the Tigers close to finding Brad Ausmus’ replacement?
Per FanRag Sports, Fredi Gonzalez is “the favorite” to become the team’s next manager.
Gonzalez, who served as the Marlins’ third base coach in 2017, interviewed with the Tigers earlier this month. He has ties to general manager Al Avila, having managed the Marlins’ Class-A affiliate in 1992 when Avila was a front-office executive for the team.
Avila, who promised an “extensive search” for Ausmus’ replacement, said he’s looking for someone with managerial experience, something Ausmus had none of when the Tigers hired him in 2014. Gonzalez, 53, managed the Braves from 2011 to 2016 and the Marlins from 2007 to 2010.
“I would say the manager doesn’t have to have managerial experience at the major-league level, but he certainly has to have managerial experience, in my opinion, in the minor leagues or coaching experience in the major leagues,” Avila said.
The Tigers opted to part ways with Ausmus in order to lend the organization a new voice as it sets out on a potentially arduous rebuild.
“The conclusion is, let’s just take a brand-new road and open up to new things. We felt that it’s a new beginning, a fresh start and we’ll have fresh leadership as we move forward,” Avila said.
Would a younger manager be a better fit for a rebuilding team? In theory, yes, but Avila noted there can be exceptions.
“I know one thing,” Avila said. “I would like to get a guy that has the energy to get through the process because it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be a long process, a hard process, a trying, grinding process, and you want somebody that has the kind of energy that can get through that.”
FanRag Sports adds that Gabe Kapler’s name has also been considered in the Tigers’ manager search. The former Tiger is currently the director of player development for the Dodgers.
“It would be a little bit of outside-the-box but I think he’d a good choice,” an AL executive said. “They are in the beginning stages of a massive rebuild and he loves working with young players. He would embrace the opportunity.”