Avila was officially named general manager and executive vice president of baseball operations to replace Dombrowski, who held the official title of president, CEO and general manager.
Avila will assume the Tigers’ responsibilities related to baseball operations and report directly to owner Mike Ilitch. MLive.com reports that Avila signed a five-year contract that runs through the end of the 2020 season with Detroit.
Dombrowski, 59, joined the Tigers in 2002 after previous stints with the Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos and Chicago White Sox. Tuesday’s release comes less than a week after MLB’s trading deadline, which saw the Tigers ship star lefthander David Price to the Toronto Blue Jays, outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to the New York Mets and closer Joakim Soria to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
From 2002 to '14, the Tigers were 938–1000 with Dombrowski as general manager, winning the AL Central in each of the last four seasons and reaching the 2006 and 2012 World Series.
The Tigers entered Tuesday 51–54, three games out of the AL Wild Card race.
Ilitch said in a release that Dombrowski, whose contract was set to expire after this season, was released from his contract “in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.”
“I would like to thank Dave Dombrowski for his 14 years of service,” Ilitch said. “Together, we’ve enjoyed some success, but we’re still in aggressive pursuit of our ultimate goal: to bring a World Series title to Detroit and Michigan. I’ve decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities. I feel this is the right time for the Tigers to move forward under new leadership.”
Avila, 57, previously worked with the Florida Marlins as vice president and assistant general manager before a brief stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is also the father of Tigers catcher Alex Avila.
“Al Avila is a true baseball man,” Ilitch said. “He’s been involved in every facet of the game as a college head coach, scout and executive. His track record in identifying and developing talent is extremely impressive. I’m confident that Al will bring his own approach and his own style to the general manager position. He’s worked extremely hard over the course of his career to afford himself this opportunity with the Detroit Tigers.”
- Mike Fiammetta