The timing of Dombrowski’s firing was really weird. No warning, no nothing just we decided to go in a different direction but only after the Tigers decided they were going to trade off David Price and Yoenis Cespedes . I am sure even Dave Dombrowski was surprised by the timing of the move
“You’re sort of suspicious there’s a chance it could go the other direction,” Dombrowski said.
The Tigers announced Tuesday that Dombrowski’s tenure as president and general manager was over, naming Al Avila the new GM. The move seemed abrupt, especially because Dombrowski had just finished making a series of trades with an eye toward the team’s future. But Dombrowski was in the last season of his contract, and he says there were no talks about a new deal.
Dombrowski said he found out about the organization’s decision Tuesday. He said Avila — who has been his top assistant — had given him an indication that owner Mike Ilitch would be reaching out to him.
Dombrowski said he spoke with Ilitch a short while later, and the team had simply gone in another direction.
Just like that. He had more success than some of his peers (Alderson) and yet he’s fired. To his credit he took the high road.
“I respect ownership’s decision,” he said Wednesday.
Dombrowski was with the Tigers for nearly 14 seasons. He guided Detroit to two American League pennants and four Central division titles, building a star-studded team that made Motown home to one of the American League’s glamor franchises. About the only thing Detroit didn’t do during his tenure was win the World Series, which the Tigers still haven’t done since 1984.
“That will sadden me because we’ve had opportunities,” Dombrowski said.
Avila said he was offered the promotion by Ilitch on Saturday, the day after the Tigers made the last of their major moves before the trade deadline. After winning the last four division titles, Detroit has slipped badly in 2015. Last week, the Tigers traded standouts David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria for younger players they hope can provide help beyond this season.
Avila said the Tigers weren’t sure of their deadline plans until pretty much the last minute.
“We were hoping to get on a roll and win, and we were hoping to be buyers. But as time went by, the decision was made pretty late, to be sellers,” Avila said. “When I say late, I mean we waited until the last possible day that we felt that we could wait to make that transition.”
His son, Alex, is a catcher for the Tigers and can become a free agent after this season. So he offered this perspective…
“Definitely shocked like everybody else, but extremely happy for my dad,” he said. “I don’t think it was the ideal situation that he probably would want the opportunity. So that’s one way that makes it tough, especially — him and Dave have known each other forever, worked with each other for a long time. I’ve known Dave for a long time as well, and his family. So that’s definitely bittersweet.”