Tigers hire Brad Ausmus to replace Jim Leyland

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As first reported by Adam Spolane of SportsRadio 610 in Houston and then later confirmed by FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Tigers have selected former major league catcher Brad Ausmus to be their next manager. The deal will be finalized on Sunday.

Ausmus had been serving as a special assistant in the Padres’ front office. He was the manager for Team Israel during 2013 World Baseball Classic qualifying but otherwise carries no managerial experience at any level of MLB-affiliated ball.

Ausmus, 44, was also in the running for the Cubs, Mariners and Nationals — before the Nationals hired Matt Williams.

Jim Leyland stepped down last month after a highly successful eight-year run in Detroit.

The Tigers considered their current hitting coach, Llyod McClendon, Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, Padres bench coach Rick Renteria and Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach before settling on Ausmus.

Phillies, Red Sox interested in Carlos Santana

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The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.

Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.

As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.