Why the Tigers parted ways with Al Avila: Bad trades, Michael Fulmer situation h atlanta braves jersey mens small ighlight ex

August 11, 2022 By Kevin Skiver 0

The Tigers entered the 2022 season with lofty ambitions. They thought they had exited the long dark of a prolonged rebuild with the high-profile signings of Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez, arguably the team's biggest free-agent swings since Justin atlanta braves red jersey large Upton and Jordan Zimmermann in 2016.

Unfortunately, the signings have panned out much the same way, and in some ways, they have been even worse. Baez has continued the boom-or-bust (but mostly bust) trend he has followedLevi s thr atlanta braves jersey kids size 7 oughout his career; Rodriguez has been on the restricted list since May while dealing with personal matters.

These were supposed to be the moves that rewrote the Al Avila era that began when Avila took over as general manager in August 2015. Avila and the Tigers "parted ways" Wednesday, the team announced, with the club in the throes of a 43-68 season. The Tigers are 361-573 since the start of the 2016 season.

"To Tigers fans, you're the best and you deserve a winner. I wish the results could have been better this season but know there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years," Avila, who had been in the Tigers' organization since 2002, said.

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Why did the Tigers fire Al Avila?Addison Russell

As a rule of thumb, GMs shouldn't get to manage two rebuilds in a row.

Avila was hired to cut costs after Dave Dombrowski's characteristically expensive tenure. Club owner Mike Ilitch and Dombrowski had feverishly pursued a World Series in Miguel Cabrera's wonder years, but when it became clear that wasn't going to pan out, the Tigers turned to Avila. He had come up through the Marlins organization, so he was no stranger to the cost-cutting strategy.

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He inherited several absurd contracts, so he had to make do early on. Cabrera had just signed his eight-year extension in 2014, and his earliest signings were when he signed Jordan Zimmermann and Justin Upton to $110 million and $132.75 million contracts, respectively, in 2016. Victor Martinez was on a four-year, $68 million legacy contract that came from Ilitch himself.

In other words, the books were a mess.

MORE: Cabrera walks back retirement comments, says he will return for 2023 season

Avila did himself no favors, however. The 2016 season brought optimism: the Tigers finished second in the AL Central with 86 wins and had the league's Rookie of the Year in right-hander Michael Fulmer. 

In 2017, however, the reality of the Avila era became clear. The team became sellers to the highest degree at the trade deadlines, with Avila sending J.D. Martinez to the Diamondbacks and franchise icon Justin Verlander to the Astros. In return, they got prospects Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King from Arizona and prospects Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron and Jake Rogers from Houston.

Of those hauls, only Alcantara, Cameron and Rogers have seen the field in the majors. Alcantara has played for several organizations since, while Cameron and Rogers will likely top out as fringe, defense-heavy players.

Detroit continued to be sellers in 2018, dealing Ian Kinsler and Mike Fiers at the deadline while again getting prospects in return. In 2019, Nick Castellanos was deadline fodder to the Cubs, and in 2022 Avila traded Fulmer to the Twins (more on that shortly).

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Amid all of the wheeling and dealing, the team's drafting has been rife with bad luck. Matt Manning and Alex Faedo are finally getting MLB innings this season, Casey Mize has been shut down multiple times this year and is hurtling toward an injury-prone career. Center fielder Riley Greene has looked good since his MLB debut but has battled injury. First baseman Spencer Torkelson was sent down to Triple-A after prolonged struggles at the plate.

Despite the optimism around the young trio of Mize, Greene and Torkelson plus the Baez and Rodriguez signings, it's looking as if another rebuild might be in the cards. Without a winning season to speak of, the Tigers needed a scapegoat. And AStancevila had earned that role, as team president and CEO Chris Ilitch made clear Wednesday.

"I didn't trade those players away, right? Our general manager did. Al did. That's his role," Ilitch said at a news conference "If you're asking if the organization (regrets trading Martinez, Verlander and others), I'm not going to comment on past activities.

"Go through Freddie Freeman Dodgers Jerseys a litany of moves that Al has made over the course of the past years; you can all assess that on your own. I'm really focused at this point (on) looking forward."

What happened to Michael Fulmer?

One of the most baffling failures of the Avila tenure was what happened after Fulmer's Rookie of the Year campaign.

For a team that had already declared itself sellers in 2017 by moving on from Verlander and J.D. Martinez, who both brought middling returns, Fulmer didn't fit. Yet the Tigers held onto their All-Star. Then injuries began to hinder Fulmer in the second half of 2017, and they have bMLB Camo Apparel othered him since.

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The Tigers finally traded Fulmer, who has become a solid set-up reliever, at this year's deadline to the Twins. In return, they got minor league pitcher Sawyer Gipson-Long.

Matthew Boyd was a different case entirely. The Tigers non-tendered the once-promising left-hander after the 2021 season. He was signed by the Giants, who then traded him to the Mariners at the deadline. There were precious few windows in which to trade Boyd, but Avila didn't capitalize on any of them.

Ultimately, Avila's firing comes from roster mismanagement, poor amateur scouting and an inability to value his own players in trades (see Isaac Paredes for Austin Meadows). The Tigers have some faces for the future, but the Baez and Rodriguez contracts will continue well past Cabrera's contract when it ends after 2023 (assuming he opts in for next atlanta braves jersey riley year). With the Tigers floundering this year, it's clear they'll have to retool. History has shown Avila wasn't the man for the job.

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