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Ausmus hopes Tigers play with anger now

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News
Brad Ausmus greets Rajai Davis after Davis scored on a single by Ian Kinsler in the first inning Friday night.

Baltimore — Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski understands that his manager, coaching staff and the players in the clubhouse aren't thrilled with his decision to trade away three of their top players for a batch of highly regarded prospects.

He would be astounded if they were. But he's made no bones about his rationale for trading David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria.

"We've won the division four years in a row," he said. "But, however you would like to say it, unless you are in a position to win a world championship — that's where we are at this time. In my heart, I didn't think we were there with the club."

The primary reason for that, he said, was he didn't feel there was enough starting pitching to make a legitimate run this season.

"We just weren't deep enough with starting pitchers to do it on a consistent basis," he said. "But other people might say, 'Hey, the biggest thing for us is to qualify for the postseason.' So I think it just depends on where you are as an organization.

"I think for us, the prudent move was to say, 'OK, take a step back.' I'm sure that guys in there don't necessarily feel the same way, and I wouldn't expect them to. I wouldn't expect the major league staff to feel the same way."

The mood of the clubhouse hasn't been real chipper since Price, Cespedes and Soria were jettisoned.

"I was prepared for it," manager Brad Ausmus said, "but still, when it happens, it stings a little bit. We have to stay positive. We don't have the big-name players we had a couple days ago, but we're three and a half games back. No one is folding up shop."

Asked if his team was playing angry, Ausmus said, "If they are, good. It helps focus."

Dombrowski referred back to 2009, a time where he made a similar decision to take a step back. He traded Curtis Granderson and Edwin Jackson for a group that included Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer and Phil Coke.

"You take a step back," he said. "Let's put ourselves in a better position to win a world championship. People kind of forget that we did somewhat like this (in 2009). ... We kind of took a step back, and then moved forward. And I think the organization's capable of doing that."