Well the time has finally come. After seven years, Executive Vice-President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, Al Avila, has been fired by the Detroit Tigers. We had an inkling this was coming, but it’s still surprising to see that Team President Chris Ilitch has decided to make the move. The Tigers announced the move themselves on Wednesday afternoon.
Avila was promoted to the role in August of 2015, after the firing of long-time GM Dave Dombrowski by previous owner Mike Ilitch. Starting with his first full season in 2016, the Tigers have a record of 404-573 under Avila heading into Wednesday night’s matchup against Cleveland.
Avila’s hiring was supposed to initiate a new era in Tigers baseball. The idea was to construct a modern organization largely from scratch after the final years of big payrolls left the Tigers’ minor league system in terrible shape both in terms of players, personnel, and facilities. At the same time, Avila was to oversee the 2016 re-tooling in a final attempt to turn out another winner for Mike Ilitch. On every front things went very poorly.
A tacit admission of the fact came last summer, when Avila fired his long-time head of player development head, Dave Littlefield, beginning a major overhaul in coaches and decision-makers in the player development system. At the time, those major changes to the front office engaged speculation that Avila had bought himself a few more years to turn things around after pretty poor progress to that point. Unfortunately for Avila, his attempts to build a team with the potential to at least begin competing for a playoff spot fell badly flat this year, and the prospect capital built up through years of losing hasn’t produced the stockpile of high end young talent that was hoped as of yet.
Meanwhile, the fanbase finally reached the limits of its patience this season. Anger and frustration has been the theme of the 2022 season, and we can only hope now that brighter days are ahead.
There is no word on Avila’s replacement. A press conferrence is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. EDT with Ilitch to discuss the firing and the plan to move forward in finding the next general manager of the Detroit Tigers. For now, it sounds as though Ilitch intends on a wide-reaching search for Avila’s replacement. In the interim, Vice-President and Assistant General Manager, Sam Menzin, will handle day-to-day operations.
"To Tigers fans, you're the best and you deserve a winner. I wish the results would have been better this season but know there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years. God bless everyone."— Johnny Kane (@JohnnyKaneTV) August 10, 2022
- Al Avila