The Detroit Tigers reportedly have their replacement for Jim Leyland, who last month re-signed as manager.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweeted Saturday that sources have told him Brad Ausmus will be offered the Tigers’ managerial job.
The 44-year-old former catcher was interviewed by GM Dave Dombrowski and Tigers officials early this week, and no interviews have been announced since then.
Sources said that Padres coach Rick Renteria would be interviewed later in the week, and John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press said that happened Thursday in California. Renteria couldn’t travel because of a recent hip surgery.
Ausmus, who has never managed in the minors or majors, was considered one of the favorites for the vacant Chicago Cubs job, which might have convinced Dombrowski to move quickly to make the hire.
The Tigers didn’t interview Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, who was also considered a strong candidate for the job.
Ausmus played 18 major-league seasons, including two stints with Detroit. He played for the Tigers in 1996 and again in 1999-2000.
He spent most of his career with the Houston Astros before finishing with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2010. After his retirement, he took a job in San Diego’s front office, where he’s spent the last three years.
Generally considered one of the smartest players in baseball — he graduated from Dartmouth in 1991 — he’s been a hot managerial prospect despite his lack of coaching experience.
Ausmus has never worked as a coach, and his only managerial job was three games in charge of Team Israel during qualifying for this spring’s World Baseball Classic.
Dombrowski said repeatedly that he would prefer a candidate with managerial experience, especially with the Tigers considered one of the favorites to reach next year’s World Series.
That led many observers to think he would prefer a candidate like Lovullo or Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach, both of whom managed in the minors.
Ausmus, though, apparently performed well enough in Monday’s interview to beat out Wallach, who had interviewed along with Tigers hitting coach Lloyd McClendon during the first days after Leyland stepped down.
In his eight seasons in Detroit, Leyland, 68, led the Tigers to the playoffs four times, including two World Series appearances. They lost to the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS this season.