DETROIT -- The Tigers began their nine-game homestand just over a week ago with speculation swirling around Brad Ausmus' managerial future. As they wrapped up the homestand Wednesday, general manager Al Avila spoke up in support of Ausmus.
Speaking with Jim Duquette and Mike Ferrin on MLB Network Radio, Avila said Ausmus is part of the solution, not the problem.
"I understand you can do all you can, and if things don't work out, at the end of the day you still might have to make a change just for the sake of change," Avila said. "But for me, I'm telling you right now, Brad is one of the smartest guys that you're going to find in baseball. On top of that, he's also one of the more experienced guys from a pure baseball background. So he's got that analytical mind, he's got wit, but he's also got the baseball player in him of 18 years behind the plate.
"He's got that combination of new-school analytics but old-school baseball guy. And he brings it to the park every single day. And he gets involved on a personal basis with each and every player, and he does moreso when they're struggling. He's on the field. He catches their bullpen. He throws BP to them."
Avila said the speculation comes from a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately mentality in the sport these days, something he can't listen to.
"You go back to Jim Leyland -- and Jim Leyland was for me a Hall of Fame manager, one of the best ever -- but when he was here and we were doing well, everybody thought he was great. And all of a sudden, when we started to struggle, they wanted his head, they wanted him out of here," Avila said. "And then once he left, they gave him a parade. That's just the way it is. When you're a general manager, you can't be listening. You have to do what you think is right for your team."
Avila said he has talked with Leyland, currently a special assistant with the organization.
"He said, 'Al, the minute you know that you want to make a managerial change, don't linger, don't wait two months. Just do it and get it over with, because it doesn't serve you any purpose nor the team,'" Avila said. "I talk to him all the time. I've got Al Kaline here, I've got Alan Trammell, I've got Kirk Gibson. I've got a lot of old guys here that really know the game, and believe me, if these guys said get rid of the manager, you've got to listen. And not one person has said that. So there's a lot of support from within.
"You've just got to know what's going on. I'm not saying that anybody has a job for life, because nobody's got a job for life, but at the same time, I think he's been everything possible to get this ship straightened out. Right now, we're on a good roll and our hope and our faith is that we continue."
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.