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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Detroit Tigers fire general manager Al Avila after seven seasons

The Detroit Tigers have fired general manager Al Avila.

The team announced the decision Wednesday.

Until a new general manager is hired, assistant general manager Sam Menzin will work as the day-to-day point of contact for the team. Avila was the general manager for seven seasons, beginning in August 2015. He first joined the organization in 2002 as assistant general manager.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 04:34 PM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: al avila, tigers

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   1. JL72 Posted: August 10, 2022 at 04:52 PM (#6091108)
Not a surprise. Looks like the next GM will have a lot of work to do.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:00 PM (#6091111)
Seems like the only GM hire in the last, I don't know, decade other than Brodie Van Wagenen that didn't have an analytics background.
   3. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:00 PM (#6091112)
How many baseball men stay 20 years inside the same organization and *then* get fired? Is Avila at least entitled to receive a gold watch?
   4. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:02 PM (#6091113)
Seems like the only GM hire in the last, I don't know, decade other than Brodie Van Wagenen that didn't have an analytics background.
Chris Young? Jerry Dipoto?
   5. JL72 Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:15 PM (#6091116)
Is Avila at least entitled to receive a gold watch?

Based on the current state of the Tigers, no he is not.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:32 PM (#6091119)

Seems like the only GM hire in the last, I don't know, decade other than Brodie Van Wagenen that didn't have an analytics background.
Chris Young? Jerry Dipoto?

Young yea, I thought DiPoto was kinda like Beane, an ex-jock who adopted analytics? Maybe I'm wrong.
   7. DFA Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:35 PM (#6091121)
I suppose that Avila felt the pressure last off season and signed Baez and Rodriguez. Not the best contracts though isn’t that always the way with free agents? (I know it’s not always…)
   8. John Northey Posted: August 10, 2022 at 05:40 PM (#6091122)
So he took over after 4 years of playoff appearances (all central division titles) and proceeded to finish 10+ games back in all but one season, 2016 when they were 8 back. Sub 500 in all of those years except 2016, sub 300 in 2019 with the 2nd most losses in Tigers history. Interesting that 3 of the 4 highest loss totals for the Tigers are in this century - 2002/2003/2019.

I suspect A.J. Hinch isn't long for the team either - if I was him I'd be putting up my house for sale the minute the season ends. Given his poor record in Detroit and Arizona I suspect he only wins with trash cans banging.
   9. The Duke Posted: August 10, 2022 at 06:50 PM (#6091143)
The walls are closing in on TLR. Not many left to go before he rises to top of the list. Unless he gets reinsdorf to off Hahn first
   10. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:04 PM (#6091150)
I suspect he only wins with trash cans banging.
He wasn't exactly given a stellar product to market in Detroit.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:04 PM (#6091151)
It's an interesting team to take over. Obviously not a lot of current talent here but nearly everybody on the roster is under 30 which is when rebuilding teams usually start improving (or becoming mired like the Pirates and Royals).

As to Avila, he took over in the tough spot of a vet team on the way down so it was almost inevitable his teams would be bad on the field. But the Tigers got next to nothing out of the 2016-17 drafts, did get Mize (TJS) and Skubal (9th round! on the IL with a tired arm though) in 2018 and Riley Greene (1st 2019) is off to a solid start for a 21-yo in the majors. But look through their draft pages and there are a lot of blank lines, guys who ended up not even good enough for a cup of coffee with one of the worst teams in the majors. Per, their top prospect is a 20-yo SP at A ball, #22 overall and their only top 100 prospect. Their #2 prospect is a AA C striking out over 33% of the time; #3 is a 18-yo A-ball SS. So Avila has shown himself not good at building a ML roster and not good at developing young talent.

Hopefully a new regime can get Torkelson back on track, hopefully Mize gets better, Skubal stays healthy and Greene matures into a very fine player. If all of that happens and the new folks can successfully draft some top college players, a few judicious FA signings and maybe they can be decent in 2025-6 ... just in time for Skubal and Mize to hit FA.

EDIT: And agreed that surely Hinch and the coaches are gone (at least most of them). New GM will want their own guys and it's not like any of the current bunch will have much track record of development at the ML level to point to.
   12. Walt Davis Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:19 PM (#6091152)
Is TLR really in much danger at the moment? Sox are over 500, just 1.5 out of first, 2.5 out of WC. This team probably should have been able to win this division pretty easily and they've been weirdly meh the entire seeason (pretty much always within a couple of games of 500 in either direction, never really getting hot or cold). It's not a success but it's not really a failure and about all they need to win the ALC is a good stretch like winning 10 of 12. If they crash out in Aug then I can see he might get canned in Sept; if they crash out in Sept, I suspect they'd ask him to retire.
   13. John Northey Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:27 PM (#6091154)
What doesn't help whoever takes over is the Tigers have just 1 player on the top 100 prospect list at - #22 Jackson Jobe a RHP drafted in 2021. That is pathetic when you have been so bad the past few years that you get lots of top picks. For comparison the Dodgers have 7 in the top 100 despite being in contention year in-year out thus having a bigger need to trade prospects for assets at the deadline, plus much lower picks every year.
   14. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:34 PM (#6091156)
A.J. Hinch will have a role in the process of hiring a new GM along with other Tigers baseball executives, team chairman Christopher Ilitch said.

Hinch said he does not have interest in becoming the GM.

"I'm the manager," Hinch said. "I plan on being the manager."
   15. TJ Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:39 PM (#6091157)
“Is Al Avila entitled to a gold watch?”

Nah, he would just trade it away for a couple of lottery tickets and one of those Cracker Jack toy watches anyway…

   16. RickG Posted: August 10, 2022 at 07:46 PM (#6091159)
Walt: No, because Jerry. Yes, because most of the other 2.7M people in Chicago can't stand the TLR experience, and are voting with their feet and/or t-shirts.

If they win the Central he probably returns (if he wants to) and if not, probably not, as he and Jerry work something out.
   17. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: August 10, 2022 at 09:31 PM (#6091173)
If you say "Al Avila" into a mirror five times, your favourite baseball team will lose 100 games.
   18. The Honorable Ardo Posted: August 10, 2022 at 11:05 PM (#6091198)
Wow. Talk about things I wanted to see but never actually thought I'd see happen.

A Tigers blogger I respect said that Hinch may go upstairs as the new GM - a development I'd welcome, with Ramon Santiago the clear manager-in-waiting.
   19. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 11, 2022 at 10:11 AM (#6091245)
A Tigers blogger I respect said that Hinch may go upstairs as the new GM - a development I'd welcome, with Ramon Santiago the clear manager-in-waiting.
Speculation is fine but see Hinch's quote in 14.
   20. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 11, 2022 at 02:05 PM (#6091294)
Tigers owner puts blame for team’s woes on fired GM Al Avila, promises ‘exhaustive search’

Along those lines, Ilitch was asked if he regretted the decision to trade popular veterans like Justin Verlander.

“I would say to you, I didn’t trade those players away. Right? Our general manager did. Al did. That’s his role.”

“I’m not going to go through a litany of moves that Al has made over the past few years. You can all assess that on your own. “I’m really focused on looking forward. I believe bringing in a new leader in our baseball operations area is going to give us a fresh perspective.”

   21. cHiEf iMpaCt oFfiCEr JE Posted: August 11, 2022 at 02:18 PM (#6091296)
Any chance the Red Sox will have an opening at first-base coach next season?
   22. Walt Davis Posted: August 11, 2022 at 05:06 PM (#6091349)
If I recall, the main get in the Verlander trade was Franklin Perez, a young pitching prospect, a #50 prospect at 19. Poor kid. He almost immediately got hurt, throwing just 19 innings in 2018, managed just 7 in 2019, the 2020 shutdown, missed all of 2021, finally back on the field in June this year but all the way back at rookie ball at 24 where he's got an ERA over 9 with 16 K and 22 BB in 21 innings. Signed at 16 out of Venezuela, I doubt he's set for life.

Also if I recall, I thought the Verlander trade was OK. I may have slightly underestimated Verlander's mid-30s talent level.
   23. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 13, 2022 at 01:15 PM (#6091465)
Overall, at the moment we would have to judge the Ilitch ownership era very harshly. I have a bit of time for Mike because he was always willing to spend. The problem was he rarely did it wisely. Chris is a total toe-rag, and [20] just shows his desire to evade responsibility. Come one, Chris, did you actually tell Avila not to worry about the luxury tax?

However, apart from the Dombrowski era, it's been pretty bad under the Ilitches. I don't think at any time we would have praised the Tigers' player development or their professional scouting. It just was less worse under Dombrowski because I think he personally has an eye for useful major leaguers (whom he will then sign to overvalued contracts).

Frankly, I think the Tigers offer an object lesson in why, if you don't have good scouts or player development, the recipe of 'trade all the vets and play crap substitutes' is just not a pathway to success, but a course of action that leads to an endless cycle of rebuilds with little to show for the pain. The first step isn't to salary dump or get value for veterans, the first step is to make sure you have scouts who know what a real prospect is like, and coaches who can guide them to adequate performance in the majors. Avila failed miserably at this. The evidence is your 2022 Tigers.
   24. Mr Dashwood Posted: August 13, 2022 at 02:53 PM (#6091477)
I think I did pretty well here.
   25. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: August 13, 2022 at 05:33 PM (#6091490)
Mike Ilitch seemed like a great owner, willing to spend but not overly involved like a Steinbrenner.
   26. TJ Posted: August 13, 2022 at 06:04 PM (#6091492)
Mike I;itch was a great owner. He said about his spending on the Red Wings that, if they made the playoffs, the club would turn a profit, so he always wanted to be certain they were good enough to do so. His approach to the Tigers was the they were good enough to be contending in September, then the club would make a profit (easier to do in baseball with the TV money). His son Chris is running the team not to just make a profit like his dad did, but to make a bigger profit. Mike Ilitch ran his teams like a rich sportsman should- put the best product out there you can and any profit is acceptable. Chris Ilitch runs the teams like an investment banker who has the goal of maximizing the profit. Personally, as a fan I prefer Mike’s approach…
   27. sunday silence (again) Posted: August 13, 2022 at 06:40 PM (#6091493)
Personally, as an investment banker, I prefer Chris's approach.

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