Just removed from his role as Tigers general manager, veteran baseball executive Dave Dombrowski told the press today that he is looking for a new opportunity in baseball operations, with Jon Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter links), Joel Sherman of the New York Post, and MLB.com’s Jason Beck all contributing notable quotes. Dombrowski made clear that the decision to terminate his contract, which was set to expire after the season anyway, was made unilaterally by ownership. And he added that there were no real efforts between the sides to reach a new agreement.
Upon the surprising news yesterday, many wondered whether Dombrowski had demanded a salary increase or asked to be let go to permit him to pursue another opportunity. Neither were the case, per his comments. “There were no [contract] talks, so there were no demands,” he explained.
Dombrowski added that he was not surprised by the move or its timing, though he neither asked for nor received an explanation from his former boss. “I knew this potential existed,” he said. “It was a very short conversation with Mr. Ilitch. I suspected in recent times that something has to happen.” He added: “It’s pretty simple. Mike Ilitch let me know yesterday they were going in a different leadership direction.” Dombrowski made clear that he was pleased that he’ll be succeeded by longtime assistant Al Avila, wishing him and the organization well.
As those quotes would suggest, and Dombrowski confirmed, there was no movement on his status before the trade deadline. With just hours to go before the deadline, of course, Dombrowski decided to sell key veterans David Price, Yoenis Cespedes, and Joakim Soria to add young pieces. “I didn’t make [the deals] with any expectations other than I felt it was the best thing for the organization,” he said. “My feeling in my heart was that we were not going to win a championship.” The biggest problem facing the Tigers roster, by the then-GM’s reckoning, was that the team was “a little short of starting pitching.”
Though his time with Detroit is over, that wasn’t Dombrowski’s first organization, and he indicated it probably won’t be his last. “I definitely want to stay in the game,” he said. “I want to be involved in day-to-day baseball operations. I am open to a lot of different possibilities.” He acknowledged that he’d already begun taking calls from new clubs, though he declined to name them. “I’ve had some nice conversations,” he said.