Brad Ausmus will not return as the Tigers' manager in 2018, general manager Al Avila announced Friday.
Ausmus is in the final year of his contract after the team picked up its 2017 option on him last October.
"As we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it's best we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position," Avila said in a release. "Brad has done an admirable job under, at times, difficult circumstances, especially this season, and we appreciate his professionalism and dedication to the Tigers the past four years. Our search for a new manager is underway. We plan to keep an open-mind in considering current members of the coaching staff for positions in 2018, but that will be in conjunction with the manager we hire."
The move was announced shortly after the Tigers took their annual team photo, in which Ausmus sat smiling alongside owner Chris Ilitch.
— George Sipple (@GeorgeSipple) September 22, 2017
The Tigers hired Ausmus to replace Jim Leyland in November 2013 for his first managerial or coaching job aside from a brief stint with Israel at the World Baseball Classic.
Detroit got swept by the Orioles in the division series in 2014 and hasn't returned to the playoffs since. Ausmus is 312-325 in his nearly four seasons at the helm in Detroit, with the bottom falling out this year.
The Tigers enter Friday at 62-91, the second-worst record in the American League, and have traded away stars like Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez as they attempt to pare a massive payroll and rebuild their farm system.
Ausmus, 48, spent 18 seasons as a catcher in the majors, spending time with the Padres, Tigers, Astros and Dodgers. The Dartmouth product was known for his cerebral approach as a player and frequently tabbed as a potential future manager.
Now he'll have to wait for another chance to prove himself in the dugout.
As for the Tigers, they'll have at least one strong internal candidate in first base coach Omar Vizquel, and hitting coach Lloyd McClendon and third base coach Dave Clark could end up in the mix as well.
Outside the organization, Cubs bench coach Dave Martinez figures to draw plenty of attention after serving as Joe Maddon's right-hand man for nearly a decade.