COMMENTARY | The 2014 Detroit Tigers coaching staff is a lot different than it was last season.
The fact that the Tigers have some new voices in the dugout is a good thing. Detroit has certainly experienced success these past few seasons, but, let's face it, the Tigers haven't won a World Series since 1984. I think this newly formed coaching staff has a very good balance of experience and youth.
First off, let's look at the manager, Brad Ausmus. This is his first MLB managerial job, and he truly is fresh out of the league. He's 44 years old and last played in 2010 for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ausmus had an 18-year major league playing career and will bring a lot of energy to this organization.
Ausmus was a very smart and defensively sound catcher in his playing days and will provide the Tigers with a lot of first-hand knowledge and insight. Having a young, energetic manager will obviously be a completely different experience for Detroit, considering that Tigers fans have been used to an older veteran the past eight seasons with Jim Leyland.
I don't think we will truly know what Ausmus' managerial style is like until around the All-Star break when there will be a good sample size of his performance. Nonetheless, I think a young, fresh voice in the dugout will be a good thing.
The other new, young member of this Tigers coaching staff is the first-base coach and baserunning instructor, Omar Vizquel. He's another guy that's fresh out of the league. Vizquel is 46 years old and last played in 2012 for the Toronto Blue Jays. I loved the hiring of Vizquel; he's an 11x Gold Glove Award winner and was a very good base-stealer.
Last season, the Tigers were dead last in the MLB in stolen bases, and I'm certain that Omar Vizquel will come in and change that through his instruction and tutelage. He will be able to relate well to the players and share a lot of tips and personal experience.
In addition to this new youth and energy that the coaching staff possesses, there is also a very nice mix of veteran coaching experience as well. The Tigers retained (bench coach) Gene Lamont and (pitching coach) Jeff Jones from the staff last season. These are two guys with a lot of managerial experience and obviously know this Tigers team very well. Detroit also added (third base coach) Dave Clark from the Astros and (hitting coach) Wally Joyner from the Phillies. I think both will benefit this team with their leadership, experience and guidance.
In my opinion, the Detroit Tigers' coaching staff is certainly intriguing, and I'm very pleased with what the Tigers have done this offseason. This staff is a great mix of youth and experience and will be able to provide the club with a lot of first-hand knowledge and instruction.
The main reason why I'm satisfied with the coaching staff is because they are going to make the Tigers a lot more fundamentally sound. I think we will definitely see improvements with plate discipline and baserunning. This staff is newly assembled, so I'm sure there will be some bumps at the beginning, but, overall, I'm expecting the coaches to do a lot for this team in 2014.
Are you pleased with the staff that Dave Dombrowski assembled? What are you expecting from this 2014 coaching staff?
Mike Sullivan is a sports talk radio host and sports writer from Detroit. You can follow him on Twitter @MikeSullivan.
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