The Boston Red Sox have a managerial vacancy after parting ways with John Farrell. While there are many other quality names being linked to the position, there is one that shines above the rest, 48-year-old former Detroit Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus. The clear-cut choice and early favorite to land the job in Boston and I’m on board. Let me tell you why.
John Farrell was fired for a multitude of reasons, most not disclosed publicly, but we could pretty much infer that Farrell and President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski were not an ideal match. Farrell lost the room, and it got ugly at times. The Red Sox missed the playoffs for two straight seasons, brought in Dombrowski who saw his team exit in the ALDS in back-to-back year’s after winning the division with only a single postseason win to show for his efforts. It was time for a change, “Change is good for the manager position for the Boston Red Sox heading into the 2018 season. It’s a very important role and job.” Dombrowski said when talking to the assembled media Wednesday morning after the team announced Farrell would not return in 2018.
Dombrowski mentioned multiple times the preference for a candidate with managerial experience that has been in that dugout and knows what to do and handle certain situations. What better candidate than the last manager he had to hire when he was in Detroit in Brad Ausmus. The former major league catcher grew up in Connecticut as a Red Sox fan with his mother that inspired his interest in baseball yielding from Brookline. The Ivy League graduate of Dartmouth is widely respected as one of the game’s brightest minds and a chance to manage the team he grew up cheering for could bring his career full-circle.
Brad Ausmus has a very close relationship with Dave Dombrowski as he was even seen in Boston this past weekend catching ALDS action between the Red Sox and Houston Astros, perhaps taking a look at his future club and players. Dombrowski hired Ausmus in Detroit for his ability to organize and control information, the persona he carries himself with and the relationship he is able to cultivate with his players.
On the relationship with his players, Ausmus was a very well liked manager in Detroit and was seen as “one of the guys”. The same could not be said for John Farrell who was at times alienated by his players and the disconnect between the coaching staff and the players on the field was apparent in each game, team flight and even interviews with the media. Brad Ausmus is the type of manager the Red Sox need after a season like last one, he can get through to the veterans and massage their egos while also communicate and connect with the younger players as they develop and get the most out of each guy.
Ausmus is a player’s manager. A manager that has also had the opportunity to work with David Price in Detroit and the two had no issues like the fiascos seen in Boston in 2017. Ausmus was able to get his message through to veterans such as Price and Verlander and keep the team aligned for a common goal. While a thin bullpen, injuries, aging stars and lack of experience did-him-in during his Detroit tenure, Boston should be confident in handing over the reigns to Ausmus.
Ausmus has often been criticized for not being too hard on players with many that covered the team in Detroit calling it a “country club” atmosphere, but I’m not buying it. Not all managers have to be of the old guard with a cigar in one mouth and a stern fist in the other. There’s nothing wrong with Ausmus fielding ground balls during pregame workouts, there’s nothing wrong with being one of the guys. He can get the most out of young players while they develop, just ask Michael Fullmer who was the 2016 American League Rookie of the Year under Ausmus before running into elbow issues this season.
Dave Dombrowski hired Ausmus in Detroit, and now four years later and looking for his second go-around as manager, Ausmus would be better equipped to succeed in Boston. The experience garnered as well as the rotation consisting of two former Cy Young Award winners that he’s managed in Porcello & Price as well as Chris Sale, with the young core group of position players and an elite closer (something he didn’t have in Detroit), Ausmus can win with this team immediately. The Red Sox are one power bat away from contending for a title if they bring in Ausmus. Be it through free agency with Eric Hosmer or J.D. Martinez who Ausmus also managed in Detroit, Dombrowski will equip him with all the tools to succeed in Boston.
Managers don’t often hit it right away in their first big-league gig, just ask Joe Torre or Terry Francona. It’s the second or third time around where in the right organization with the right personnel they can flourish. Ausmus has the media relations skills to thrive in Boston which Dombrowski also mentioned as an attribute he’s looking for in their search. Don’t let the 314-332 record fool you, Ausmus is a bright mind and will get another opportunity real soon. The New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly already showed interest in the former Tigers skipper and he won’t be between jobs for long.
Former Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington said Ausmus was the most impressive person he interviewed for the Red Sox managerial vacancy in 2012 following Bobby V, in which Farrell was hired and the team went on to win the World Series. The potential to be great is there for Ausmus and there’s not another available candidate better suited to manage this club in 2018 and beyond than him.
Dave Dombrowski will surely do his due diligence and interview a multitude of candidates for the position, but in the end, I feel he’ll come to the same realization he did before the 2014 season in Detroit, Brad Ausmus is the perfect man to manage his ballclub. I’m all-in on New Englander Brad Ausmus to be the Red Sox next manager.
Good thing he already has a house on the Cape.
Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank