"It's been a rough year, not just for him but for everybody," Kinsler said. "I think a decision will be made at the end of the year. It's not my decision. My stance is I just want to win, regardless of who's managing the team. I think Brad wants to win also, and we'll see where it goes from there. …
"He won the division in his first year as a manager, and I think there's something to be said about that. This year has been kind of a mess. We were injured early. There's been some injuries that we've had to fight through as a team throughout the year. I think obviously we didn't live up to expectations, but I don't know how much of that is his fault and where the blame is to go around if you want to point the fingers at one individual."
At that point, Kinsler paused.
"It's been a tough year," Kinsler finished. "That's really all I can say."
Amid reports that Ausmus will be dismissed at season's end, followed by a statement from Tigers general manager Al Avila saying Ausmus is still being evaluated, the Tigers went about their business in much the same way as a regular day. The manager's status was part of the fallout of a bad season.
"It's just noise," catcher Alex Avila said. "We can't control that. We can't worry about that stuff. That's why I don't think it effects, really, what you do on a daily basis in the clubhouse as far as what we have control over.
"To be honest with you, I think when teams that are expected to win, don't win, there's always that elephant in the room. So it doesn't surprise me."
That said, Alex Avila cautioned, the fallout comes from players not performing up to expectations.
"I think he's done a good job," the Tigers catcher said. "Obviously, this year, he's kind of been dealt a tough hand with the amount of injuries and poor play from some of the guys who were expected to play well. A lot of that doesn't go on him. More times than not, a manager is as good as his players. And we haven't played well this year."
Ausmus has defended his players at nearly every step. Even Friday, as he took on questions about how his status would affect his players, he shrugged off the impact his tenuous situation has on a team.
"These guys will continue to play the game the right way," Ausmus said. "People want to make a big deal about that, and often managers use it in the final year of a contract to try to get an extension. But the truth is, the players will respect you or not respect you regardless of what your contract status is."