There was a major piece of news in the Motor City earlier this afternoon, as it was announced that the Detroit Tigers parted ways with general manager Al Avila after seven years on the job. The Tigers and team owner Chris Ilitch released a statement shortly after the news was announced in which they thanked the now-former GM for his years of service to the franchise; Avila had been with the Tigers since coming aboard as an assistant manager in 2002.
For Ilitch, who infamously stated earlier this year that he was “very pleased” with the progress that the team made, he explained the thought process that went into relieving Avila of his duties in a press conference at Comerica Park and said that he informed Avila “in the last day or two”.
“Once I made the decision, there was no reason to wait until the end of the season,” he said. “I wanted to get a jump right now on the search process.”
“It's really about progress. I've said it for years. Each and every season, we need to make progress, and if we do that we'll ultimately reach our goals. And this year, I think it became evident that we did not make progress, particularly at the major league level.”
“We will deploy the full resource of our entire organization to ensure we identify the best candidate to lead our baseball operations into the future,” he said. “I am going to tap into every resource at my disposal.”
Chris Ilitch explained the reasoning for firing Al Avila
When asked if he feels he bears any responsibility for Avila's past missteps, he had this to say:
“Everything I manage, I try to let our leaders lead and run their areas of responsibility,” he said. “I feel very comfortable that I’ve given Al the time and the resource to accomplish our mission.”
However, Ilitch had this to say when asked about trading the likes of Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez:
“I didn't trade those players away. Right? Our general manager did. Al did. That's his role,” Ilitch said. “If you're asking at the organizational level, I'm not gonna comment on past activities and go through a litany of moves Al has made over the course of the past years. You can all assess that on your own.”