The Detroit Tigers made THE move. They did the thing. They finally fired Al Avila from the general manager position, leaving a vacancy at the position. While the team gave Sam Menzin the reins, for the time being, they will have to go through the interview process. It’s going to be a lengthy process but worth it.
While there are a couple of options out there for the Detroit Tigers to consider, they have time to think this through. The rest of the 2022 season does not matter. At this point, the team needs to realize that the end of this season can be thrown away; as long as Menzin keeps the tires from falling off more than they have, it’s a victory.
The sights are on 2023. The team needs a general manager who can get the team through the remainder of this rebuild. They have several options to consider, and now is the time to get the ball rolling. They need the guy who can get them to the finish line. The pieces are there (sort of); they need someone who can come in, right the ship, add the missing pieces, and get this team to the finish line.
As the Tigers get their search for a new general manager underway, here are three names they need to have at the top of their list. Whether it’s an internal hire or external hire, they have work to do to ensure they make the right hire.
Here are three candidates for the Detroit Tigers vacancy.
The internal option for the Detroit Tigers to consider hiring to fill the team’s vacancy is Sam Menzin.
He will be taking over the day-to-day operations for the time being. While it may just be through the end of the 2022 season, he’s going to get some experience in the chair and be able to put out some of the fires left from Avila’s time.
After all, he was the team’s assistant GM to Al and will get his chance to keep the ship upright and start putting the puzzle back together. He’s been in the team’s front office since the Dave Dombrowski era and has worked his way up the chain into the assistant GM spot.
He’s been around the game as a former collegiate player at Swarthmore college and knows how this organization operates, working his way up through the ranks. There’s no way that Menzin is not in the team’s top grouping of candidates.
While shaking things up may be the direction that the team goes. It’s going to be really hard not to give Menzin a long look during the search process. He’s got the tools and the mindset to be a future big league GM; the question is when that day will come.
The external option that many fans will lobby for is Theo Epstein.
He was the general manager who took the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs to the World Series to accomplish three championships in his time in the front office. The Detroit Tigers organization is in need of someone who can lead them back to the postseason.
There seems to be a feeling that with Epstein’s pedigree as a winner, he can accomplish this at the helm of a new organization. If the Tigers want to pick up someone with multiple World Series championships and the pedigree for putting together winning rosters, Epstein could be the guy.
The one drawback I will say is that Boston has the money to do a lot and the Cubs do too, even if they are less keen on spending it. So Epstein had the resources at his disposal to help build the winners. Chris Ilitch finally loosened up the grip on his checkbook last offseason, so there may be more room for spending, but the Tigers could be a challenge for Epstein with less room to bring in the pieces he may want.
Again, that is speculation. There will be lengthy interviews that could leave the Tigers organization feeling like Epstein is the guy who gets them there. He’s a name that the team must consider, that is for sure.
Another name for the Detroit Tigers to consider during their search to fill the vacancy is Billy Owens.
While he played a similar role as Menzin has with the Tigers, Owens has a bit more experience under his belt. He is the assistant General Manager for the Oakland Athletics, was with the team throughout the “Moneyball” era, and was able to learn from Billy Beane.
Owens is someone who is going to bring a very different perspective to the organization. He worked his way up from an area scout and hitting coach to being the team’s assistant GM. Baseball America referred to him as a student of the game in a piece about his baseball knowledge and journey through the game.
If the Tigers want to go rogue and get someone who might be able to succeed in a GM role, Owens is someone they need to consider. Owens may not have the GM experience that someone like Epstein has, but he’s been at the top of the front office and worked up the ranks to get there.
The Tigers are going to do their due diligence, and Owens is someone who needs to be on their list of targets.