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Detroit Tigers links: Dave Dombrowski and Al Avila are still friends

An awkward transition of regimes didn't cripple a long-time friendship between Dombrowski and his former understudy.

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The Detroit Tigers endured a topsy-turvy 2015 season, but no period was more tumultuous than the week following the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Shortly after trading stars David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and Joakim Soria for a bumper crop of top prospects, the Tigers parted ways with Dave Dombrowski, their president and general manager since 2002.

Former assistant GM Al Avila was promoted and given a five-year contract, while Dombrowski quickly made his way to Boston. However, that is far from the full story. Avila was told about the moves to come three days before Dombrowski was actually fired, but sworn to secrecy by owner Mike Ilitch. At the time, it seemed like Ilitch was drunk with power. His absence at Avila's introductory press conference -- mere hours after Dombrowski's dismissal, no less -- was even more damning.

Now, over seven months later, we finally have some closure. Bob Nightengale of the USA Today finally cracked the mystery that was Dombrowski's firing.

Three days went by and Dombrowski still did not yet know the decision to fire him had already been made. It wasn’t until 3 p.m. on Aug. 5, that Ilitch telephoned Dombrowski and told him that he was fired. Avila, his loyal lieutenant, was his replacement.

Dombrowski hung up, walked out of the office, rushed past Avila in the hallway to retrieve his son, who had been shagging balls in the outfield, and left the building.

This is how Avila’s long-awaited GM career began, the history of becoming the first Cuban GM overshadowed by a clumsy transition.

Luckily, there doesn't seem to be any bad blood between the two.

"I’m really happy for him,’’ Dombrowski said. "He’s always worked hard, very knowledgeable, and has been very loyal. I know it was awkward, but I’m glad he got this opportunity.’’

Nightengale offers a few interesting tidbits about Avila's plans for the Tigers, including a new academy in the Dominican Republic and a vow to increase spending on international free agents. Be sure to read the full article at USA Today.

The Tigers won yesterday, but also lost

Dingers are good, especially when J.D. Martinez hits them. His two-run shot helped spark a 9-2 victory over the New York Mets on Monday. Mike Aviles also homered, which yay I guess. However, Victor Martinez injured his hamstring and his timetable for return is unclear.

Meanwhile, Miguel Cabrera is preparing to play third base in National League parks. Brad Ausmus wants Daniel Norris to go deeper into games.

Here's your chance to beat Kurt at something

Bless You Boys has created a March Madness bracket pool on Yahoo! Join, win, and then get ready for baseball season.


Central Michigan alum (among other things) Dick Enberg will call a Tigers game on Fox Sports Detroit this season. Our Yankees friends already miss Justin Wilson. Over the Monster discovers Rick Porcello's curveballPurple Row compares Rockies players to adorable puppies.