Tigers Relieve GM Dombrowski of Duties, Avila Takes Over
Today's news out of the Detroit Tigers camp sent shock waves across the sports world. The Detroit Tigers have released GM Dave Dombrowski of his contract, due to expire at season's end, and have tapped his assistant, Al Avila, to replace him effectively immediately. Today's news comes days after three major trades that sent David Price, Joakim Soria, and Yoenis Cespedes to contending teams for younger prospects. Those kind of moves are commonplace for teams that have high-priced free-agents-to-be that don't intend on making a World Series run. Dombrowski seemed to have waved the white flag on the Tigers' season with the moves, and wanted to get at least something in return from another team than lose all three outright in the off-season for naught. But does today's decision reflect an upset owner in Mike Ilitch who didn't want to subscribe to such a theory?
After all, he has put total faith and finances in Dombrowski's hands only to come up with a few close calls at a World Series title. Ilitch didn't elude to such words in his official release (which can be read here as reported by the Detroit Free Press). But, could anybody blame him for being pissed? It seems like a logical explanation, though nobody will likely ever admit to as such. Why now? Why not let him go elsewhere once the contract expires in November? Officially, so Dombrowski has time to seek other opportunities.
If it was time for a change, and amicable separation, why was Avila asked about the job, according to his press conference, on Saturday? Why did the team only find out today? Why did the Free Press report on manager Brad Ausmus being caught as off guard as everyone else? How will the players react? After all, they're still within reasonable striking distance of a playoff berth. The answers to these questions are somewhere. But where? Much like the long-sought after truth about how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Tootsie Pop, the world may never know.
Through all of the smokescreens, and all of the mirrors, Avila is the one being most forth right: he was asked about the job Saturday, he's excited about the opportunity, the Tigers are contenders this year. I guess, fans, we take his words at face value and move forward. Hopefully the organization will do the same.