Detroit Tigers fire general manager Dave Dombrowski

Al Avila takes over as team GM


DETROIT – After a closed-door clubhouse meeting, the Tigers have released GM Dave Dombrowski from his contract. Al Avila has been named the team's new general manager.

Avila, the father of Tigers catcher Alex Avila, is a longtime member of the Tigers front office.

"I would like to thank Dave Dombrowski for his 14 years of service," said Tigers owner Mike Ilitch. "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."

Last week, Dombrowski traded David Price and Yoenis Cespedes for prospects that included starting pitcher Daniel Norris. The move was part of a so-call "reboot" after a disappointing campaign that has left the Tigers 11.5 games out of first place.

Watch: Fans react to change

Dombrowski joined the Tigers as team president in 2002. Six games into that season, he fired GM Randy Smith and began an initially painful but ultimately successful rebuilding effort.

Following an American League-record 119 losses in 2003, the Tigers opened the checkbook to high-profile free agents including Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez.

Dombrowski then replaced Alan Trammell with Jim Leyland as manager in 2006 and the team made its first postseason since 1984. They would lose the World Series that year to St. Louis.

Other high-profile moves by Dombrowski included trading for Miguel Cabrera in 2007, Max Scherzer in 2009, and drafting Justin Verlander in 2004.

The Tigers have won the last four American League Central titles, going to the World Series in 2012 but losing to the San Francisco Giants.

Avila has been the Tigers assistant general manager since 2002.

"After 24 years in professional baseball and 14 with the Detroit Tigers, I believe I'm uniquely qualified to be successful in this role in leading this organization," said Avila.  "We're confident we can make a strong push to win this year, and that we have the foundation in place to win next year and for years to come."  

He previously worked with Dombrowski for nine years with the Florida Marlins. According to the Tigers website, Avila is credited with the Marlins' decision to draft starting pitcher Josh Beckett, who would lead the Marlins to a 2003 World Series win.