Detroit Tigers: Dombrowski Ousting Was Ilitch’s Decision, Not Mutual


Yesterday we received the shocking news* that Dave Dombrowski was out as Detroit Tigers general manager and that assistant GM Al Avila would be taking his place. There was some question about who wanted the change — if Mike Ilitch wanted him gone of if Dombrowski was looking for a new team — but today we seem to have our answer.

*It’s not necessarily a surprise that Dombrowski was ultimately replaced, we’d been hearing those rumblings, but it was surprising that it happened before his contract expired and immediately after the trade deadline.

Jon Morosi and Joel Sherman each spoke to Dombrowski on Wednesday and reported bits of their respective conversations via Twitter. The crux: it was Ilitch’s decision to remove him from the position, not a mutual one.

This makes the timing of the events even more curious. It seems, from the lack of contract negotiations, that Ilitch had been considering replacing Dombrowski for a while now. But if you’re going to replace your franchise’s main decision maker — and you’re sure enough to make that decision on August 4 — then why do you allow him to make trades that will so greatly affect the future of the organization?

If Ilitch didn’t trust Dombrowski to build the next competitive Detroit Tigers team — and if he does trust Avila — then why not make this move weeks ago? I realize it puts a new general manager in a difficult position to immediately have to come in and navigate the trade deadline, but it’s not like Avila is new to the organization.

We’ll have to see if Ilitch’s camp says anything further, but this just seems like such a strange end to what was a very good tenure for Dombrowski and the Tigers.

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