You can add Brad Ausmus to the unofficial list of potential managers for the New York Mets in 2018. Baseball insider Jon Heyman is reporting that the franchise has reached out to the former major league catcher and has had at least one conversation with him regarding the open manager position.
Ausmus worked as a backstop in the majors for 18 years from 1993 to 2010 before quickly ascending to manager of the Tigers in 2014. Detroit won the American League Central that season with 90 wins, but it was quickly eliminated by Baltimore in the ALDS. Ausmus and the Tigers failed to qualify for the postseason during his next three years as skipper, although the team did outperform its Pythagorean win-loss record during three of his four campaigns at the helm. That didn’t stop Detroit from letting him go following the 2017 regular season.
Although Ausmus didn’t find a lot of success in Detroit, he checks a lot of the boxes that front offices look for in a manager. Since he retired as a player just seven years ago, he shouldn’t have too much trouble relating to the veterans in the game today. He’s also got an Ivy League education from Dartmouth and played catcher in the majors for a very long time. Theoretically, that combination should give him the book smarts and the street smart that he needs to succeed as a manager. On the other hand, his win-loss record with a pretty talented Detroit roster hasn’t been great.
However, you can argue that the Tigers have been on the decline ever since Ausmus took over with stars like Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Justin Verlander aging out of their primes. Despite the trade that brought Michael Fulmer to Detroit, there wasn’t a lot of young talent in the farm system to make up for the lost veteran production. Perhaps with a young roster like New York’s, Ausmus will be cut a little more slack and be allowed to flourish as manager of the Mets.
Ausmus doesn’t have a strong connection to the Mets the way other candidates like Bob Geren and Alex Cora do, but he did grow up in nearby Connecticut and at age 48, he should be able to bring youth to a position that was just previously manned by the oldest skipper in the big leagues.