The defending AL Central champion, Detroit Tigers, traded away a scary-good power hitter. Their starting shortstop has such wonky wheels, if he was a horse, they’d have to shoot him. They lost a closer to free agency, gave up a solid starter for prospects, and saw long-time manager Jim Leyland give up his job to a guy who’s had less managerial experience than one of those Rollback Price automatons at your local WalMart.
So, what could go wrong, right?
Brad Ausmus has never led a major-league club, except in his dreams. He takes over a team that, even with all its off-season permutations, remains a force. They have reached the ALCS the past three seasons, went to the World Series in 2012, but in Leyland’s eight seasons as manager, never ended a season by winning the last game they played.
Now Ausmus, a 44-year-old who caught 18 years in the big leagues, but whose only managerial experience has come with the Israeli national team, will try to go where Leyland never could.