The Tigers should fire Brad Ausmus now

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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.

Colin Poche, Rays go to arbitration just $125,000 apart

Colin Poche torn UCL
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Reliever Colin Poche went to salary arbitration with the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday with the sides just $125,000 apart.

The gap between the $1.3 million the pitcher asked for and the $1,175,000 the team offered was the smallest among the 33 players who exchanged proposed arbitration figures last month. The case was heard by John Woods, Jeanne Vonhof and Walt De Treux, who will hold their decision until later this month.

A 29-year-old left-hander, Poche had Tommy John surgery on July 29, 2020, and returned to the major leagues last April 22 after six appearances at Triple-A Durham. Poche was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and seven saves in 65 relief appearances for the Rays. He struck out 64 and walked 22 in 58 2/3 innings.

Poche had a $707,800 salary last year.

Tampa Bay went to arbitration on Monday with reliever Ryan Thompson, whose decision also is being held until later this month. He asked for $1.2 million and the Rays argued for $1 million.

Rays right-hander Jason Adam and outfielder Harold Ramirez remain scheduled for hearings.

Players and teams have split four decisions thus far. All-Star pitcher Max Fried ($13.5 million) lost to Atlanta and reliever Diego Castillo ($2.95 million) was defeated by Seattle, while pitcher Jesus Luzardo ($2.45 million) and AL batting champion Luis Arraez ($6.1 million) both beat the Marlins.

A decision also is pending for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Hunter Renfroe.

Eighteen additional players are eligible for arbitration and hearings are scheduled through Feb. 17. Among the eligible players is Seattle utilityman Dylan Moore, who has a pending three-year contract worth $8,875,000.