On Tuesday afternoon the Tigers dropped a bombshell, announcing that Dave Dombrowski will no longer be the Tigers' general manager. Assistant general manager Al Avila has taken over as team vice president and general manager.
The news came as a shock around the baseball world. Dombrowski's contract was to expire at the end of the 2015 season but there was little reason to believe that he wouldn't be back in 2016. The last contract extension that he signed was in 2011, but was penned in August. Because of the timing of his last contract, multiple Detroit writers speculated that he should be re-signed. by Drew Sharp and Anthony Fenech. The Tigers ended up "rebooting" at the trade deadline, and given Dombrowski's track record of four straight division titles it was assumed that he would see this phase through for the next few years.
Despite never winning a World Series with the Tigers, the Dombrowski's legacy will be remembered as one of the best eras in Detroit Tigers history.
Even w/o World Series title, one of greatest eras in #Tigers history. #Dombrowski.— Scott Miller (@ScottMillerBbl) August 4, 2015
Dave Dombrowski's teams just finished 1st in 4 straight seasons. Before that the #Tigers had finished 1st 4 times in previous 65 seasons— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) August 4, 2015
@Buster_ESPN The Tigers won more games than any team in baseball from 2011-2014. How these people can criticize Dombrowski is mind boggling.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) August 4, 2015
Al Avila being named to replace Dave Dombrowski wasn't entirely shocking, as it seems like Dombrowski has been grooming him for that position ever since they both signed on with the Tigers. However, the timing of it sure is puzzling. Neil Weinberg of New English D tried to sort through the muck.
I just can’t put together a logical string of events that starts with Dave getting fired and ends with the announcement happening the way that it did. And that’s before we get to the elephant in the room: Dave Dombrowski had earned as many chances as he wanted from Mike Ilitch.
Ilitch hired Dombrowski to resurrect a tire fire of a baseball team and he gave his boss five trips to the postseason, two pennants, and just three non-competitive seasons since the 2006 revival. And that’s before you talk about the attendance spike and untold value Dave has brought to the Ilitch portfolio. If anyone’s past performance has earned another contract, it’s Dombrowski.
Meanwhile, Lynn Henning of the Detroit News wonders if Dombrowski has his eyes set a bit higher.
Was it Dombrowski hoping to become more of a president and CEO and less of a GM that led both men to wonder if another town and building project might be prudent? Each party was inclined to look at Al Avila as a capable nuts-and-bolts GM who could handle the everyday machinations of running a team and its roster. It could be after this year disintegrated that Ilitch was ready for a new architect, a new voice, and that it made little sense in either man's eyes for Dombrowski to hang on in a ceremonial role.
And this leads into where Dombrowski could end up next year. Boston and Toronto seem like logical destinations that have openings in their front offices, however Seattle and Los Angeles Angels are other teams that are being mentioned.
owner mike ilitch says he's giving dombrowski release so to pursue other opportunities. tor, sea, laa, bos could have spots— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) August 4, 2015
Dave Dombrowski is out as Detroit president/GM. Stunning. Players heard the news about 15 minutes ago. Speculation he ends up in Toronto.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 4, 2015
It's extremely early in this process, obviously...but the Red Sox are looking for a president of baseball operations. #Dombrowski— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) August 4, 2015
All that is left is the speculation of why now is the right time for Dombrowski and the Tigers to part ways. Henning disagrees with the move.
This move will be cheered by some of the Tigers fan base. They'll say Dombrowski "failed" at delivering a World Series and deserved firing.
But that's ignoring reality in today's sports world where every team wants to win, where most teams are given the means to win, and where most clubs don't come close to tasting the postseason as regularly as have the Tigers these past nine years.
While Jon Morosi believes that it is the right move.
Ilitch did right by Dombrowski here: Contract up in October, return was becoming less likely, now he can pursue other jobs.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 4, 2015
And lastly, this move speculates on how long Brad Ausmus will keep his job as Tigers' manager. Avila has already secured his job for the remaining of the 2015 season, however Ausmus could be another domino to fall in this rebooting process. How much blame exactly to put on Dombrowski and on Ausmus for this failed season is up for debate but some are making it known how they feel.
Things aren't right when Ausmus still has a job with the Tigers and Dombrowski doesn't.— HUGE (@Hugeshow) August 4, 2015