The Tigers have announced that they have separated from Executive Vice President and General Manager Al Avila, effective immediately, according to a team press release. Sam Menzin, vice president and assistant general manager, will continue as the team’s daily contact, according to the release. Christopher Illich, chairman and chief executive of the club, says he will oversee the search for a replacement for Avila.
“Once I decided to make a change, I sat down with Al and thanked him for his nearly 22 years of service to our organization,” Ilitch says in the press release. “Al’s loyalty and dedication has been an example to all during his tenure as a leader in our baseball operations division. I will oversee the search for our next baseball operations captain, in collaboration with several members of the baseball and business operations teams.”
Avila was also quoted in the release: “Nearly 22 years ago, I have given my heart and soul to this privilege, and I would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Illich, along with Chris, for the opportunity for me and my family as he says.” We celebrated successes and had great moments, I am proud to work with so many talented people in baseball operations and throughout the organization. I will cherish our friendships and the successes we all celebrated together. For Tigers fans, you are the best and you deserve a winner. I hope the results will be better this season but I know there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years.”
Avila, 64, has been the club’s general manager for a few years now, and took over in late 2015 when Dave Dombrowski left. The club has already been in a state of deep rebuilding throughout his tenure, posting a win percentage of less than 0.400 for four consecutive seasons from 2017 to 2020. They showed some signs of promise last year and then acted aggressively this winter, hoping to return to competition this season. However, they instead endured a dismal campaign, exacerbated by various injuries, which resulted in a club record 43-68, just ahead of the top flight among MLS teams. With the rebuilding difficult to bear fruit, it appears the club has decided to change course and will start looking for a new front office arrangement for the outing of next season.
Although Avila has been the chief front office official in Detroit for seven years now, his time with the club actually goes back much further than that. He was first hired in 2002, having already gained a decade of baseball experience, first with the Marlins and then the Buccaneers. His first role with the Tigers was as assistant general manager and vice president, until his promotion, making him the first Cuban-born general manager in baseball history.
When he took over as general manager in August 2015, rebuilding had already begun, with the club being traded David PriceAnd the Eunice Cespedes And the Joachim Syria Before the deadline for trade, while Dombrovsky was still at the head of the company. The club managed to set a winning record in 2016 but was poor in the seasons that followed. They bottomed out in 2019, going from 47 to 114 for a win percentage of just 0.292.
Of course, one of the advantages of bad seasons is the ability to restock the farm system, as Tigers have had a number of high-profile first draft picks in recent years. Matt ManningAnd the Alex FaidoAnd the Casey MizAnd the Riley GreenAnd the Spencer TurkelsonAnd the Jackson Joby And the Jess Jong The club’s picks have been in the first round since Avila took charge, with both The Miz and Turkelson being picked first overall.
With some of this group making it into the big leagues in recent years, the club did well in 2021. His 77-85 record was more plausible than previous seasons, leading the team to believe it was time to act hard and finish it off. tank process. The Tigers followed suit by spending big, giving them a $140 million contract Javier Baez$77 million to Eduardo Rodriguez13 million dollars to Andrew Chavin and $5.5 million to Michael Pineda. The club also switched to the commercial market, acquiring Tucker Barnhart From the Reds and Austin Meadows from rays.
Unfortunately, all of these moves failed to work for various reasons, which exacerbated the other issues on the list. Bayes Mercury averaged 0.220/.262/.372 on the season for 77 points. Rodriguez has only made eight appearances for the team due to injuries and personal matters. Chavin made a good offer but could opt out in the second year of his deal, which he seems likely to do. Pineda has started only ten times due to injuries and has a 5.27 ERA in the year. Barnhart scored .198/.258/.228 for 41 points per minute, while Meadows played only 36 games due to various injuries.
In addition to the struggles of new additions, the club’s core pieces also failed to deliver in different ways. Previous all-round pick, Spencer Turkelson, was on the opening day roster, but he struggled enough to be selected for the Palace last month. Riley Greene missed the start of the season through injury and has been below average since joining the team. Matt Manning was limited to just four games a year due to injuries, while Mays appeared only twice before Tommy John’s surgery ended his season.
All that can be put at Avila’s feet, of course, not injuries. However, after years and years of agonizing rebuilding, the club and its fans have certainly been hoping for more signs of good things on the horizon and have found none this year.
Ilitch and the Tigers will now try to find a new leader to guide the team to its next stage. Given the club’s suffering this year, the organization will look to another strong position next summer, in order to add young talents who, despite their suffering in 2022, can remain key players in the coming seasons. There is also another important focal point appearing on the horizon, such as the guaranteed final season of Miguel CabreraThe mega contract of 2023, which will provide a place for the roster of candidates and plenty of salary space. The person who decides how to deal with these situations in the future will be decided in the coming months.
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