Tigers GM Al Avila sacked after 7 years, no playoffs

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers’ disappointing season cost Al Avila his job.

Avila was fired as Detroit general manager on Wednesday, ending a seven-year tenure without a playoff appearance.

“I wish the results had been better this season,” Avila said in a team statement. “But know that there is much to look forward to in the years to come.”

Owner Chris Ilitch announced the move with his team mired in another disappointing season. Detroit entered Wednesday at 43-68, last in the AL Central.

“Our progress has definitely stalled this season,” Ilitch said hours before the Tigers host Cleveland.

Ilitch invested millions during the offseason to try to get his team back in contention.

“All of us – the players, the front office and many of you (journalists) – had high expectations and enthusiasm for the season,” he said. “Unfortunately, we haven’t seen any progress this season at the major league level. This is the main reason why I decided it was time for a change.

Avila, of Cuban descent, was the only current Latino general manager or equivalent of MLB, which has few minorities in leadership positions.

Chicago White Sox executive vice president Kenny Williams is the only black leader of baseball operations for any club, Marlins general manager Kim Ng is the only woman and Asian-American in the position , and the president of the Giants, Farhan Zaidi, of Pakistani origin, is the only Muslim.

Tigers assistant general manager Sam Menzin takes on the day-to-day leadership role.

Avila was promoted to general manager on August 4, 2015, after serving as Dave Dombrowski’s assistant.

Avila’s chance to lead the team coincided with a rebuilding process that prevented him from taking short-term steps to win.

Hoping for a long-term gain, Detroit dealt star pitcher Justin Verlander and All-Star outfielder JD Martinez in 2017, but the players the Tigers got in return didn’t end up helping in the majors.

“I didn’t trade those players,” Ilitch said. “Our general manager did. Al did.

The Tigers lost badly and Avila tried to lead a turnaround by recruiting and developing players. The results did not meet the team’s expectations.

Avila finally had the freedom to spend some money this past offseason, but his two biggest investments also fell short.

Javier Báez, who signed a $140 million contract to fill a desperate shortstop need, struggled on the field and at home plate. Earlier in the offseason, Avila gave Eduardo Rodríguez a five-year, $77 million contract, but the southpaw went on the shortlist due to personal issues in June and did not return to Detroit. .

Detroit seemed poised for a breakthrough after winning 77 games in 2021, its best record since 2016, which was its only winning season under Avila.

“Last year we had some momentum,” said manager AJ Hinch, who added he was not interested in also being the team’s general manager. “This year, we hit a snag.

“Today is another reminder that we failed. The record reflects where we are.

Avila has over three decades of baseball experience. He was Dombrowski’s assistant with the Marlins, whom he helped sign Miguel Cabrera when he was 16. Avila worked with the Pittsburgh Pirates as a special assistant in 2002 before joining Dombrowski in Detroit.

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