Tigers make right move to dump Dave Dombrowski
DETROIT – If you really followed what has gone on with the Tigers the last two seasons, it shouldn't have come as a big surprise that Dave Dombrowski was let go on Tuesday.
Maybe, the timing was a bit shocking. But most in the know didn't think Dombrowski - the team president and general manager the last 14 years - would survive his team's poor play.
It was one of the items I reported on during last Sunday night's Clubhouse Confidential on Sports Final Edition.
Still, most thought the firing would come at the end of the season when the Tigers failed to make the playoffs for the first time in five years.
And after the Tigers - who won the last four Central Division titles -agreed to be sellers at the MLB trade deadline. After moving David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria for prospect, it appeared as if Dombrowski's services were no longer needed.
"I feel this is the right time for the Tigers to move forward under new leadership," owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement.
The Tigers owner didn't just dump Dombrowski because of a lousy 2015 season. Ilitch - who wasn't at the press conference to announce that Al Avila will be the new GM - sacked Dombrowski because ultimately, he didn't get the job done.
The goal was simple - win a World Series.
Ilitch, the former Tigers' minor-leaguer, wanted to win desperately - both for himself and this city, too.
The Tigers - who last won it all in 1984 - were supposed to win this time. Ilitch turned over his franchise, and checkbook, for that matter, to Dombrowski.
And he spent and spent and spent. This season, the Tigers have the third-highest payroll in MLB at $173 million.
Instead of a legit shot at a Fall Classic win in 2015, the Tigers are bad. Real bad. T
hey are 51-54 and have played under .500 ball since June 2014.
For sure, this season has been a bitter pill for fans to swallow. This incredible run of Tigers' baseball wasn't supposed to end empty-handed. There was supposed to be a trophy and a parade down Woodward like never seen before.
Instead, 2015 has been wildly inconsistent. The Tigers' offense scored two runs or less in 27 of their first 56 games. The Tigers' pitching is even worse, ranking next-to-last in team ERA in the American League.
There's just one man to blame, Dombrowski.
Sadly, he's failed to fix a bullpen that has been broken for many years.
Yes, Dombrowski must take the blame for players, like Joe Nathan and Joba Chamberlain, who didn't pan out.
If those players performed and worked out, Dombrowski would get credit for pulling the right trigger and getting the right personnel.
In reality, this team is really flawed. Dombrowski has to get the blame for it.
The same goes for the 2014 team. The Baltimore Orioles swept the Tigers in the best-of-five American League Division Series.
There are plenty of reasons the Tigers didn't advance to the ALCS. Most pointed to the rancid bullpen. Others blasted the inconsistent hitting.
That sounds like the 2015 team, too.
Last year, many fans also pointed to then-rookie manager Brad Ausmus, who hardly looked ready for primetime in his first season.
Plain and simple, Dombrowski swung and missed last season, too. He made a lot of moves and most simply didn't work out.
Dombrowski's 2014 season was an epic fail, almost from the beginning. He decided to change a team that in 2013 went to the ALCS and lost to the Boston Red Sox in six games.
First, Dombrowski dumped Prince Fielder. But Fielder's bat was missed in the lineup whether people want to admit it or not.
Two Decembers ago, Dombrowski gave away starter Doug Fister. He went 16-6 for the Washington Nationals in his first season in DC.
Dombrowski teams are simply too top-heavy. They have stars in Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, but the rest of the roster is thin and ultimately hurts the team's depth if someone is injured.
For sure, Dombrowski elevated this sad-sack franchise to a contender since he got here in 2002.But you can't live in the past.
The Tigers' run is over. Ilitch was smart. Dombrowski's run at the helm was also done.
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