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.

Mets sign Matt Purke to minors deal

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The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.

Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.

While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.