The news this morning that the Tigers plan to fire Brad Ausmus after the season is over really sucks for Brad Ausmus. But it sucks almost as bad that he still, technically, has the job.
Ausmus is twisting in the wind, somewhat humiliated by that leak and totally undermined by whoever leaked it. How can he manage the Tigers for another game with everyone knowing that he’s a lame duck?
If this was the business or political world Ausmus could just resign. But there’s this stigma in baseball about managers resigning. Jim Riggleman and Ron Washington can tell you about that. Being fired stinks for most of us — our pride would make us prefer to quit unless there were severe consequences for it — but Ausmus can’t do that. Because of baseball’s conventions in that regard and for the fact that he’d be walking away from more than a year’s salary the Tigers promised to pay him if he did. They’re the ones who want him gone, they should be on the hook for it all.
Maybe Ausmus wasn’t the best choice, in hindsight, to manage the Tigers. Maybe this season has been a disaster. But even if Ausmus needs to be one of the ones to pay the price for it, he doesn’t deserve to dangle in the wind like this. The Tigers, now that their plans have been made public, should do the decent thing and terminate his employment. If that keeps the final few weeks of the season from going according to Mike Illitch’s original plan, well, tough. Maybe figure out how to keep your employees from leaking those plans to the press next time.