Tigers fire GM Al Avila with team on pace for sixth straight losing season

Detroit Tigers executive vice president of baseball operations and GM Al Avila has been fired by the club. (Carlos Osorio/AP)

DETROIT (AP) — The Detroit Tigers fired general manager Al Avila on Wednesday, ending a seven-year tenure without a playoff appearance.

“I wish the results would have been better this season,” Avila said in a statement released by the team. “But know there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years."

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.

“I want to reestablish our momentum and progress towards building a winning team and I am driven to find a talented executive to help us do that,” Ilitch said in a statement before meeting with reporters as the team prepared to host Cleveland.

Ilitch invested millions in the offseason in an attempt to return his team to contention. Assistant general manager Sam Menzin takes over the day-to-day leadership role.

Avila was promoted to general manager on Aug. 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 making short-term moves to win.

The Tigers lost, a lot, and Avila attempted to lead a turnaround by drafting and developing players. The results haven't been what the team hoped for, and now he's out of a job.

Avila finally got the freedom to spend money this past offseason, but his two biggest investments haven't panned out.

Javier Báez, signed to a $140 million contract to address a desperate need at shortstop, has struggled in the field and at the plate. Earlier in the offseason, Avila gave Eduardo Rodríguez a $77 million, five-year contract, but the left-hander went on the restricted list due to personal matters in June and hasn't worked his way back to Detroit.

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

The Cuban-born Avila has more than three decades of experience in baseball. 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 rejoining Dombrowski in Detroit.

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