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Al Avila Fired as Tigers GM, EVP After Nearly 22 Years with Organization

Erin WalshAugust 10, 2022

Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Detroit Tigers announced Wednesday that they have "parted ways" with executive vice president and general manager Al Avila, who spent nearly 22 years with the organization.

"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," Tigers chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch said in a statement. "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."

Ilitch added:

"I want to re-establish our momentum and progress towards building a winning team and I am driven to find a talented executive to help us do that. They'll be entering an organization with many foundational elements in place and an exciting path forward. Tigers fans deserve winning teams, and I'm highly focused and committed to deliver that to the people of Detroit and Michigan. With new baseball operations leadership will come a fresh perspective toward evolving our roster and maximizing our talent to reach our objectives. To be clear, our goals are to build a team that wins on a sustainable basis, qualifies for the playoffs, and ultimately wins the World Series."

The Tigers hired Avila as assistant general manager and vice president in April 2002. In August 2015, he was promoted to general manager and executive vice president after the club released Dave Dombrowski.

Avila said in a statement:

"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. 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. God bless everyone."

Since Avila officially took over in 2015, the Tigers have not made the postseason, finishing only one campaign (2016) above .500.

The Tigers entered into a rebuild in 2017, trading J.D. Martinez, Justin Verlander, Justin Upton, Justin Wilson and Alex Avila midseason.

With the rebuild in full swing, Detroit hired Ron Gardenhire to replace Brad Ausmus in October 2017. After going 64-98 in 2018, the club went on to have a disastrous 2019 campaign, finishing last in the AL Central with a 47-114 record. Detroit hadn't lost more than 100 games since the 2003 season.

Gardenhire remained as the club's manager through most of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but he stepped down because of health reasons in late September. Lloyd McClendon took over on an interim basis before being replaced by A.J. Hinch in 2021, and the team finished third in the division.

That brings us to 2022, with the Tigers once again sitting at last place in the AL Central with a 43-68 record despite landing two of the best free agents on the market over the winter in Javier Bรกez and Eduardo Rodriguez.

However, Bรกez, along with nearly every other player on the Detroit roster, has underperformed, and Rodriguez has stepped away from the team because of personal reasons, though he is expected to return this month.

The Tigers did see some solid prospects graduate from their minor league system over the 2021 and '22 seasons in Spencer Torkelson, Riley Green, Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize and Matt Manning.

With those promotions, the Tigers have the 24th-ranked prospect pool in MLB, per ESPN's post-trade-deadline rankings. Now the franchise's next general manager will be tasked with not only building up the club's prospect pool but also fielding a contending team.

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