It's somewhat surprising that the Atlanta Braves haven't dismissed their skipper, Fredi Gonzalez yet. Currently sitting at 7-23, the Braves have the worst winning percentage in all of baseball. At .233, the Braves are actually the only team below .400 in the National League.
While firing Gonzalez surely wouldn't fix the issues for the team, this was first rumored a week ago now, and the case for Gonzalez hasn't really strengthened since then. The Braves are scoring three runs per game on average, which would be the lowest since the 1972 California Angels and Texas Rangers scored 2.93 and 2.99 runs per game respectively.
Earlier this season, Bovada handicapped the likelihood of managerial firings. With Walt Weiss, Paul Molitor, and Terry Collins rounding out the top four, it seemed like Gonzalez was the surest bet. However, the Detroit Tigers, who are on a six-game losing streak, may have created a new challenger.
Brad Ausmus' job has recently been called into question as the team now sits 14-16. Just one week ago, the Tigers were in second-place in their division at 14-10.
While the team on the field is more at fault for the team's losses, Ausmus seems to be under fire. According to Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News "Ausmus’ job has to be in jeopardy, even if he’s not the one serving up eighth-inning meatballs and blowing leads. Mike Ilitch is known to be impatient, even impulsive, and although there are plenty to blame, the manager feels the heat first."
When questioned about his job security, Ausmus said "That’s fine. I knew when I took this job that I probably was going to end up getting fired before I walked away from it. Not this job in particular, but managing in general. How many managers walk away from a job?"
According to some players on the team though, that isn't fair. The Tigers' 37-year old designated hitter, Victor Martinez was quoted as saying "[Ausmus has] been good... It was our fault. It's easy to blame the manager for this and that. We're the ones who have been horseshit." Martinez was adamant that the team needed to play better and that the players were at fault.
Martinez has begun a resurgent 2016 campaign, batting 59 percent better than league average according to wRC+. While it's nice that a veteran in the clubhouse has his manager's back, it may not matter. Ausmus has been know for being somewhat flippant with the media. Ausmus' decision late last season to allow Daniel Norris to throw a 54-pitch first inning was met with particular criticism, which the skipper downplayed by saying "they have a lot less knowledge of Daniel Norris and baseball than I do, so I'm not really concerned about it."
This cavalier attitude toward player health is one thing if your team is playing well. However, Ausmus likely faces a shorter leash to harsher criticism from the media during cold streaks like these.
While Ausmus' job is likely pretty secure, if this stretch continues it will be hard to imagine a scenario where the Tigers and their skipper don't part ways. With new winter-time additions on big contracts and an aging roster, the Tigers had some expectations coming into this season. A team looking to contend would likely try to shy away from these controversies.