The Tigers announced that they have parted ways with executive vice president and general manager Al Avila, effective immediately, per a press release from the team. Sam Menzin, vice president and assistant general manager, will continue as the day-to-day contact for the team, per the release. The club’s chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch says that he will oversee the search for Avila’s replacement.
“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 served as an example to all during his time as a leader in our baseball operations department. I will oversee the search process for our next baseball operations leader, in collaboration with several members of our baseball and business operations executive teams.”
Avila is also quoted in the release: “For nearly 22 years, I have given my heart and soul to this franchise, and I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch, along with Chris, for the opportunity and treating me and my family as their own,” he says. “We’ve celebrated successes and enjoyed great moments, and I’m proud to have worked with so many talented people in baseball operations and throughout the organization. I’ll cherish our friendships and the successes we all celebrated together. 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.”
Avila, 64, has been the club’s general manager for a few years now, taking over in late 2015 when Dave Dombrowski departed. The club has effectively been in a deep rebuild for the entirety of his tenure, registering a winning percentage below .400 for four straight seasons from 2017 to 2020. They showed some signs of promise last year and then acted aggressively this winter, hoping to return to contention this season. However, they’ve instead suffered a dismal campaign, compounded by various injuries, resulting in a club sporting a record of 43-68, ahead of only the A’s among American League teams. With the rebuild struggling to bear fruit, it seems the club has decided to change course and will begin looking for a new front office arrangement for the upcoming offseason.
Though Avila’s been the key front office person in Detroit for seven years now, his time with the club actually goes back much farther. He was first hired in 2002, having already accrued a decade of experience in baseball, first with the Marlins and then the Pirates. His first role with the Tigers was assistant general manager and vice president, until his promotion, which made him the first Cuban-born general manager in baseball history.
When he took over as general manager in August of 2015, the rebuild had essentially already begun, as the club traded David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria prior to the trade deadline, while Dombrowski was still at the helm. The club managed to put up a winning record in 2016 but was dismal in the seasons after that. They bottomed out in 2019, going 47-114 for a winning percentage of just…
Read More News: Tigers Fire General Manager Al Avila