PSO: It’s Time To Fire AL Avila

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I’ve been having an internal debate since the baseball season began.  Would I rather sit through three hours of some of the most putrid, sloppy, and boring baseball played by our own Detroit Tigers, or sit through three hours of class.  I have yet to decide.  

This Tigers team is bad, no way around it.  Yes, it’s technically still early in the season.  Yes, the bullpen has been stellar.  Yes, Tarik Skubal is pitching the best baseball of his young career.  Yes, Javier Baez and Austin Meadows (for the most part) have been really good.  The problem is that that is where the positives stop.  Mize has been brutal and may need Tommy John surgery, Torkelson has been up and down, Schoop and Candelario are dragging the offense to the bottom of the sea, and Eduardo Rodriguez has been a poor excuse for an ace pitcher.

There is one man and one-well, technically two men, to blame for this on field product, and that is general manager and overall conman Al Avila.  Avila has now been the general manager for this team for seven years.  This team has been rebuilding for seven years.  In his tenure he has traded Justin Upton, J.D. Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Justin Verlander, Justin Wilson, David Price, the list goes on.  In return, the Tigers basically wound up with Jeimer Candelario (who has becoming a bad to low-end average a third baseman) and Willi Castro (who is already a poor shortstop and can’t wiggle his way into the lineup permanently).

Avila has poorly scouted prospect after prospect.  Trade after trade has been botched.  After seven years of bad baseball, which is an absurd amount of time to rebuild a team, the Tigers are still playing horrible, can’t hit for power, and have a distinct lack of young talent.  After Greene and (hopefully soon) Dillon Dillinger are called up, there is a distinct lack of high-end prospects in the farm system.  Their season is likely dead less than two months after it began unless the Tigers can go on a massive winning streak and do so soon.  You know what that kind of job from a general manager is called?  A big fat failure.  Al Avila has failed this team, and owner Chris Ilitch has failed the team by allowing Avila to stay in charge of the roster for as long as he has.  The pair are cheap on contracts, can’t draft properly, and have preached patience to the city of Detroit for seven long years.  

Detroit is one of the top sports cities in America with a loyal, passionate fan base.  It deserves better than a mizer as the owner of it’s baseball team, but unfortunately he can’t be fired.  But he can fire the general manager, a man so inept and incompetent at his job that he essentially got nothing back for a generational talent in Verlander and former multiple time all-stars in Upton, Price, and Martinez and Nick Castellanos.  He let C.J. Cron, one of the best hitting first basemen in baseball today, walk out the door after one season.  He refused to be aggressive in free agency.  Pre-Austin Meadows trade, Avila was happy to walk into the season with an outfield comprised of Akil Badoo (batting .140), Robbie Grossman (batting .263), and a combo of Victor Reyes (was batting .261 in a backup role before injury), and likely Eric Haase (batting .130).  In addition, not a single one of the infielders is hitting above .250.  Not a single one has even a pedestrian batting average.

After seven long years, it’s time for Chris Ilitch to wake up.  Al Avila cannot continue to run this baseball team.  If he truly wants to win (which no one seems sure of), then Avila isn’t his guy. Tigers fans have suffered enough from Avila’s roster decisions, and it seems that they’ll have to suffer at least one more season of them.  But if Ilitch has even a shred of common sense, he’ll have Avila packing his desk up by July.