Al Avila is NOT the guy to see this through

Swept out of Boston right into the desert.

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Al Avila

A.J. Reilly: Al Avila’s potentially the worst GM in all of baseball. He might even be the worst GM in all sports. And speaking of utter failures, let’s get to the peanut gallery for tonight. The final segment of the night. Now on Thursday, there was a tweet that was sent out by a local baseball writer. I know he had stepped away from his paper, but he still writes for him. I don’t really know what the situation is with him. But Lynn Henning wrote a tweet that was very, what’s the word I want to put? 

I don’t wanna say it’s dumb because I actually respect Lynn. He can be a little contrarian in a lot of the things that he says. In a lot of ways, he was calling for us to trade Michael Fulmer back when ER’s value was the highest which was actually something that I wrote for Detroit Sports Nation a long time ago as well.

I wrote the section 313’s when I was the Detroit Tigers’ editor specifically. So he and I agreed on that. He also called for Matt Boyd to be traded. This is clearly the right choice as well. But now he’s throwing a new pony into the race as trade bait.

And that’s Tarik Skubal. He said, “Repeating an earlier conclusion and conviction Tigers have two ways out of their offensive muck. Looking past this season, Gregory Soto is being dealt next month is one imperative. Tarik Skubal assuming the mid-season blip is just that, must be auctioned off this autumn.” The reactions are mixed is a bit of an understatement.

Because when I first saw that I was like, what in the world is Lynn talking about? How is this even an option that the best pitcher that we have right now and even potentially the ACE of our staff, even when they’re all healthy, is even in the conversation as a trade chip? That was my initial reaction. And then I started thinking wait a second, maybe that’s out of the box.

Maybe that’s something that a savvy GM might do. You can’t really talk about players being untouchable because truthfully there really shouldn’t be anybody that is truly untouchable. Unless they’re, like a Mike Trout or a generational type talent. Which Skubal is not. Skubal has the opportunity to be a great pitcher and a very crafty and dominant lefty for sure.

And definitely can be the ACE of the staff no doubt about it. But is he untouchable? There’s a tweet that I saw that somebody quoted Branch Rickey the famous, general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers that helped Jackie Robinson break the color barrier in Major League Baseball. And he said it’s always better to trade a player one year too early than one year too late.” which is smart.

So not that I’ve come around and said, you know what? We need to trade Tarik Skubal. But I wanna take a little bit different approach to it because truthfully, I think Skubal’s the guy that you keep to anchor a staff. Given what he’s showing and the dominance that he can have. Yes. He had three bad starts in a row.

Sure. He’s young and still learning. But if he is a valuable trade piece that can get you MLB-ready bats right now, maybe it’s something you have to look at. But here’s my problem. We don’t have the guy to do it. Al Avila’s potentially the worst GM in all of baseball. He might even be the worst GM in all sports.

I don’t even know at this point, I just know that he’s not good at what he’ does. He’s terrible. He’s built a product through this rebuild that’s apparently over and they’re the worst offense in baseball. But yet had the opportunity to draft bats last season and took a high school pitcher again. 

Which, listen, you need arms. I’m not saying you don’t need arms, but you also have to have baseball players that can hit the baseball and score runs. Which this team does not have as evidenced by the stats. And the fact that they’re, the worst run-creating team in baseball. 

But then I read a report as well from The Athletic’s, Ken Rosenthal, and everybody knows Ken Rosenthal and his bow ties. He’s a fantastic writer. And one of the things that he said in this article about the strife of the Tigers is that around MLB, there are executives that believe that Al Avila is not savvy or crafty was the quote enough to turn things around in Detroit. 

Do you know why? Because he’s the worst poker player in the world, you know why? Because he tells teams, Hey, we need to trade this guy because we got dump salary. So just give me whatever you have. 

And I went through and looked at Al Avila’s transactions. And there are a number of them. I’ll just show this. This is them. They’re sideways, but I didn’t wanna show you my daily schedule.

They’re not good. To sign Jordan Zimmermann to a five-year, 110 million dollar contract. How’d that work out for us? Signed Mike Pelfrey to a two-year 16 million dollar contract. How’d that work out for us? Traded for Francisco Rodriguez, then ultimately released him a few years later. and traded for Justin Wilson, which netted us, Candelario, eventually.

But do you remember who he gave up in that deal? Chad Green, a stalwart of the New York Yankees bullpen. Who’s an 8.1 career war player. Justin Wilson is not an 8.1 career war player. Signed Mike Lowell signed Mike Aviles signed his son, Alex, which also netted us, Candelario. Signed Leonis Martinez, which netted us, Willi Castro. He Signed Mike Fiers and traded JD Martinez. Lugo is no longer in the Major Leagues. Sergio Alcantara journeyman somewhere. Jose King is still young, but down in the minors. He traded Wilson and Al Avila eventually in 2017. For Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes. Who was then flipped for Austin Meadows because Riley Greene got hurt.

MUST READ:
Detroit Tigers: How much trade value does Gregory Soto have?

Then traded Justin Upton for Grayson Long, who was never above Double-A and hasn’t played since 2019. Traded Justin Verlander for Daz Cameron. Jake Rogers and Franklin Perez. Franklin Perez has pitched nine games since the trade in 2017. He’s logged 27 innings since the trade in 2017. Yes, the minor league season was canceled in 2020 but dealt with injury problems.

Jake Rogers is on the IL hopefully coming back from surgery and he was coming on a little bit at the end of last season. So the verdict’s still out on him. Daz Cameron, maybe a major league contributor, fourth outfielder type guy. Not really in that package. 

Cameron, Rogers, and Perez are not really the type of package that you get for an ACE of a staff. He was dealt to a team that clearly needed him to get over the hump. Their first world series in the Astros. Traded Ian Kinsler for Wilkel Hernandez who had Tommy John in 2021 in his recovery. And hopefully will be back this season. And also for Troy Montgomery, who never, I think got above, A ball was 28 years old, in 2019. He also signs Zack Godley, C.J. Cron, and Austin Romine to a one-year deal.

Romine’s the only one that I think actually finished that season. He traded Nick Castellanos for Richan and Alex Lange and Alex Lange’s actually contributing to our bullpen. He traded Shane Green for Joey Wentz and Travis Demeritte

Wentz, oft-injured. Hopefully, he can come back. He looks okay at the start. Here’s what I’m trying to say. Do we really trust this guy to make that trade? If you’ve got a valuable asset like Tarik Skubal, you’re talking about a guy that had this entire roster. Yes. The roster needed to be purged for financial reasons.

Sure everybody knew that we needed to trade these guys to cut payroll. I get it. But you can’t tell me there wasn’t a better market for these guys. You can’t tell me that JD Martinez in the season that he was having that season, that there was no market for him. I will not buy that. And I know that’s been championed by the media, but I do not believe it to be true.

What I believe to be true. Is that we have a GM that can’t make a deal, can’t make a good deal. So if we’re really selling off if the rebuild, according to our owner, Chris Ilitch is a hundred percent over, maybe he’s showing and setting the expectation for the GM maybe, but if it’s a hundred percent over and you’re selling it next, month’s deadline. This guy doesn’t get to oversee that second rebuild.

Absolutely not. He doesn’t get to have his imprint on the MLB draft. That’s coming up. He doesn’t get to have his imprint on this trade deadline because he can’t do the job. It’s time to let him. The proof is in the pudding and the proof takes the field every night in our beloved old English D and it’s not good proof.

So Chris Ilitch man up and cut ties with the guy. That’s not the guy. If we’ve gotta make deals and we need bats and we clearly need bats, then let’s get somebody in here that can make those deals. Because the guy that’s right now, the executive of your baseball operations and your general manager is not the guy to do it.

He’s had it since August of 2015, that’s a long enough time to make something happen. He hasn’t made it happen. It’s time to cut ties. Because of what has been put on the field for us, the product that is out there every night, there are some players and Al Avila will say have to bear some responsibility too, for their production.

Yeah, you’re right, Al Avila, they do. Who else has to bear some responsibility? You do. Coaches have a responsibility to bear for the way the team plays. Players have responsibility for the way they perform, but you have a responsibility for the product that you expect us to watch every night.

So like I said, a few weeks ago, it’s time to be better. The problem is I just don’t think you can. So while your time in Detroit, hopefully, is short. I’d like to say it was fun, but it wasn’t, wish you the best. Hopefully, you’re not in charge of our team next year, because we deserve better as fans. We deserve better as Detroit Tigers fans, and we just haven’t gotten better.

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