The Tigers shook up their front office earlier today, shocking many by announcing that Dave Dombrowski would no longer serve as the team’s general manager and that long-time Dombrowski lieutenant Al Avila would assume the role of executive vice president and general manager. Said Tigers owner Mike Ilitch in today’s press release: “I’ve decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.”
Some more details on the decision, reactions to the move and a few rumors as to where Dombrowski may or may not end up…
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan writes that Dombrowski has become the biggest free agent on the market, and his contract, wherever he signs, should begin the trend of correcting the undervalued nature of executives. Dombrowski was earning roughly $3MM per season, but Passan wonders why the top minds tasked with overseeing a Major League team, six minor league clubs, domestic and international scouting departments, and much more earn just a fraction of what a back-of-the-rotation starter would earn on the free agent market. Passan notes that while Andrew Friedman’s reported five-year, $35MM contract with the Dodgers was a step toward correcting that inefficiency, the coming payday for Dombrowski should serve as a further benchmark for the future salaries of executives. Passan lists the Red Sox, Blue Jays, Angels, Mariners and Brewers as speculative landing spots for Dombrowski, adding that the Blue Jays have considered him over the past year while seeking a replacement for retiring CEO Paul Beeston.
- USA Today’s Bob Nightengale writes that Dombrowski was seeking a raise, but the specific reasons for the split between the two sides remain unknown. Nightengale opines that the Red Sox make the most sense for Dombrowski, though he speculatively lists the same teams as Passan did, adding in the Orioles (which would make sense if GM Dan Duquette does end up taking a higher position with another team this winter). Nightengale writes that Dombrowski’s trade deadline actions spoke volumes about his integrity, as he knew that his departure could be imminent but still found a way to convince Ilitch to authorize the trades of David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria to create a brighter future for Detroit, even if he wouldn’t be around to be a part of it.
- At today’s press conference, Avila said that Brad Ausmus will continue to serve as the Tigers manager for the rest of the season, writes MLive.com’s Chris Iott. “[Ausmus] is our manager for the rest of this season for sure,” said Avila. “I have all the confidence in him. I think he’s done a good job. Just like everything else from here on out, everything will be evaluated. Our staff will be evaluated. Our major-league club will be evaluated as we have done in years past.”
- In a second piece, Iott writes that Avila acknowledged being in an “awkward” position by inheriting the job as GM of the team for which his son, Alex Avila, plays. The newly minted GM recants the story of the 2008 draft, when he asked that the organization not draft his son. He says now that the organization made the right call when looking at the body of work his son has compiled, but he made it clear that there won’t be any nepotism at play when deciding the team’s future. “You know how you go back to Little League and the dad used to be the coach and his son always played and was the fourth batter?” the elder Avila rhetorically asked reporters. “That ain’t gonna happen here.”
- The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo writes that Dombrowski’s sudden free agency places him “on a silver platter” before the Red Sox, who could use a set of eyes to oversee GM Ben Cherington. Team sources tell Cafardo that Cherington isn’t going anywhere, but adding someone of Dombrowski’s caliber to oversee the baseball operations department and help in the trading department — where Dombrowski has long excelled — would be a boost to the organization. Cafardo also spoke to Yankees GM Brian Cashman about the news. Cashman told Cafardo that he was “shocked” to hear of it, adding that Dombrowski could get a job “any place he wants.”
- There figures to be plenty of speculation as to where Dombrowski lands, but for the time being, the Red Sox may not be that place, writes Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. Edes cites a Red Sox source in stating that the team is not pursuing Dombrowski for an executive role.
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald cites a Major League source in writing that the Red Sox do plan to reach out to Dombrowski, but a match looks “iffy.” Any conversations with Dombrowski would be due diligence, but Silverman says there’s “informed speculation within baseball circles” that Dombrowski could be Toronto-bound, and he also notes that Dombrowski’s philosophies don’t necessarily line up with the strong analytical tendencies of the Boston front office.
- Suffice it to say, there are conflicting reports and opinions when it comes to the Red Sox and Dombrowski, as ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that he’s heard rumblings that Dombrowski could indeed be in the mix for the Red Sox.
- ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets that there’s buzz in the industry that Dombrowski will end up as the new president of the Blue Jays, though despite those rumblings, today’s news was unexpected.
- Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times tweeted shortly after the news of Dombrowski’s departure that Angels sources to whom he spoke didn’t envision Dombrowski landing in Anaheim.