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‘Uniquely Qualified’ Al Avila Says Detroit Tigers Confident They Can Win Now and into Future

August 4th, 2015 at 6:29 PM
By Max DeMara

DETROIT — Dressed in a suit and tie, the neatly prepared Al Avila abruptly accepted a role he's been working for nearly his entire life.

Tuesday afternoon, after a stunning and sweeping announcement, Avila was announced as the new general manager and team president of the Detroit Tigers. In the blink of an eye, mainstay Dave Dombrowski was ousted.

"I'm very excited for this opportunity," Avila told reporters in a news conference at Comerica Park. "Mr. Ilitch called me on Saturday afternoon, he called me and offered me the job on Saturday afternoon."

Such is always the case in baseball. One era always ends as quickly another begins. Avila, Dombrowski's top assistant, is the new boss, a turn of events he admitted was a bit odd and challenging considering his long personal history with the former general manager.

"It's with mixed emotions, I worked with Dave for 24 years and we're good friends. But at the same time, after 24 years, 14 years in this organization, I think that I'm uniquely qualified and I'm prepared to do this. I've been waiting for a long time," Avila said.

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Detroit Tigers Release Dave Dombrowski from Contract, Promote Al Avila

August 4th, 2015 at 4:51 PM
By Max DeMara

On Tuesday afternoon, the Detroit Tigers clubhouse remained closed for nearly a half hour. It was clear something was going on.

Nobody had any idea just how big the news would be once it opened.

The Tigers released general manager Dave Dombrowski from his contract, the team announced, and promoted assistant general manager Al Avila to his role.

"I would like to thank Dave Dombrowski for his 14 years of service," Tigers' owner Mike Ilitch said in a statement released by the team. "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."

Dombrowski had made the playoffs five times with the Tigers, won two American League pennants and advanced to the World Series twice, but the team was swept in both appearances there. That appears to have been a sticking point with ownership, who's still chasing a World Series for the mantle.

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Detroit Tigers Vs. Kansas City Royals Preview: Tigers Suddenly Underdogs Against Dominating Royals

August 4th, 2015 at 3:49 PM
By Max DeMara

The last time the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals met, there was plenty on the line.

The Tigers had something the Royals wanted in Central Division supremacy, and Kansas City was going to spare no expense or amount of energy to get it, winning the series. Now, as the teams get set to see each other again for the first time since May, there's a change. Detroit's the scrappy underdog and the Royals have one of the top teams in baseball.

Times, they certainly can change in a hurry. Here's what to watch as the teams, with very different looks, renew their rivalry.

Players To Watch: Ben Zobrist and J.D. Martinez. With Miguel Cabrera missing, Yoenis Cespedes in New York and Victor Martinez struggling, the Tigers' offense essentially becomes Martinez, who has continued to thump the ball at an impressive pace for Detroit. They need him to be an offensive force and essentially carry the team. Zobrist kills the Tigers, and has already clubbed three home runs and six RBI since joining the Royals. Obviously, for this reason, he's the one to watch from an offensive standpoint for Kansas City.

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Dave Dombrowski’s Five Best Trade Deadline Deals with the Detroit Tigers

August 3rd, 2015 at 9:48 PM
By Max DeMara

At the end of last week, the Detroit Tigers put the capper on the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline.

This season was a bit different than most in the Motor City, as the team reverted back to their seller days, shipping away some big name talent in exchange for unproven players for the first time since 2002.

The Tigers have done well in both roles in the past, and with his work, Dave Dombrowski certainly has proven his worth as one of the elite general managers in the game of baseball. Here's a look back at some of his best handiwork.

1. 2012: The Tigers acquire Anibal Sanchez and Omar Infante from the Miami Marlins in exchange for Rob Brantley, Brian Flynn and Jacob Turner. A team that needed a mid-season boost offensively and in the rotation turned to an old friend in Infante and a new one in Sanchez to get the job done. Both helped pave the way to Detroit's surprising World Series appearance, and Sanchez continues to stay in Detroit's rotation while Infante has made waves with the Kansas City Royals. The trade has largely been a dud for Miami.

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Chattin’ Cats Week in Review: Motivation Will Be Compelling Reason to Watch Detroit Tigers

August 3rd, 2015 at 2:05 PM
By Max DeMara

Welcome to Chattin' Cats, a weekly piece recapping the most important talking point from the week before about the Detroit Tigers while taking a look ahead.

The Detroit Tigers both won and lost in compelling fashion last week.

There were very few games that could be described as boring, as the Tigers battled to both thrilling victories and frustrating defeats. There was good and bad elements of each performance.

Some will say the team has gotten tougher to watch in the wake of dealing away David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria. In certain ways, that's true. No lead is safe with the starting staff and bullpen as constructed, and taking a thumper out of the middle of the order certainly won't figure to help run scoring in the long run.

Still, that doesn't mean the Tigers won't prove to be a compelling watch the rest of the way. They've become leaner, but that might not be for the worst. Now, many players with something to prove will be forced to step in and step up. Folks like Tyler Collins and Steven Moya will likely get an extended look, and Anthony Gose will continue his development.

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