Brad Ausmus could be a strong candidate as the San Diego Padres search for a new manager.
If you haven’t heard, the San Diego Padres have an opening at manager. Of course, A.J Preller and company have plenty of options to choose from, with names such as Ron Washington and Jayce Tingler swirling around the rumor mill as the next possible San Diego manager.
One name that has garnered a considerable amount of attention comes as something of a surprise. Former Detroit Tiger and Los Angeles Angels manager Brad Ausmus, who was just recently fired from his position in Anaheim, has been garnering interest within the Padres brass to become the next skipper of the San Diego dugout.
On paper, Ausmus certainly fits the mold of what the Padres want in an experienced manager. He spent 18 years playing as a catcher in the Major Leagues, three of those coming in a San Diego jersey. After retiring as a player, Ausmus spent three years as a field executive with the Padres before moving on to manage the Tigers and eventually the Angels.
The success Ausmus had with the Tigers and Angels was middling, to say the least. From the 2014 to 2017 campaigns, Ausmus guided the Tigers to a 314-332 overall record and one postseason berth in 2014. After securing the American League Central Division with a 90-72 season thanks to the performances of players like Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Miguel Cabrera, the Tigers got swept in the American League Divisional Series by the Baltimore Orioles.
After the lone postseason appearance, he would post just one more winning season before getting his pink slip in 2017. His second chance in Anaheim didn’t end so well as he went 72-90, and Anaheim sent him packing after Joe Maddon became available.
So, why did Ausmus get fired so early, and what makes San Diego so interested? His story is similar to former Padre bench coach Rick Renteria wherein both men got fired after one season when another candidate (in both cases, Maddon) became available. Both Ausmus and Renteria have experience with international managing as well, with Renteria managing Team Mexico in the 2013 World Baseball Classic and Ausmus taking the helm of the Team Israel in their unsuccessful bid to the WBC.
His experience as a catcher is sure to a boon to both Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia, the latter of whom could use some extensive coaching for his behind-the-plate skills. Ausmus’ ability to speak Spanish is a highlight, and with the abundance of Latin players on the Padres roster, it is a useful trait for any Major League manager to have.
However, it can’t be overlooked that the teams that Ausmus has managed in the past have underperformed expectations. For example, the aforementioned 2014 Tigers, with all of their star power, made it to the postseason just to get swept and didn’t come close to making the playoffs their next years.
In his lone season with the Angels, the team lost eight more games in 2019 than they did in 2018. While a majority of the pitching staff, as well as a handful of position players, failed to meet expectations on the season. Brad Ausmus has qualifications that the Padres like, but his checkered history leaves a lot of questions as to whether he is the correct choice to become the next San Diego manager.