Al Avila is Full of Shit

In the last months of the Dave Dombrowski era in Detroit** it wouldn’t have been unusual to find current Tigers Director of Baseball Ops Sam Menzin manually updating the American League standings in Dombrowski’s office.

Yep, the one person with any understanding of advanced metrics in the team’s front office was relegated to mundane tasks that could be accomplished much more quickly on an iPhone or even by opening the sports section of the Free Press.

(** — You might recall the final months of the Divot-Chin era in Motown. Who could forget dealing Eugenio Suarez to the Reds for an alleged murdering fat slob pitcher named Alfredo Simon? Or the exec with Cary Grant looks dealing away his once prized acquisition — Robbie Ray — for Shane Greene in a trade that also featured the Tigers NOT getting Didi Gregorius? If you believed in conspiracy theories, it probably wouldn’t take long to convince you that Dombrowski knew 2015 was going to be his last year in Detroit and he didn’t give two fucks about the longterm ramifications of those two transactions.)

It wasn’t a secret that Dombrowski had little use for sabermetrics during his tenure in Detroit. If his continued employment of old-school poster boy Jim Leyland as manager wasn’t enough evidence, his OWN WORDS definitely left no ambiguity regarding Dombrowski’s feelings towards math ….

That outrageously backwards thinking came from this CBS article written during the 2012 World Series between the Tigers and the Giants. And if you were on the O.J. jury and needed even more evidence of Dombrowski’s anti-Moneyball beliefs, how about some knowledge from his last managerial hire in Detroit, Brad Ausmus …..

I mean, when you are getting straight-up nuked for being behind the times regarding advanced metrics from a dude who once stated that sabermetrics had no business in the day-to-day operations of a team and who thought lineup construction was something only the cops could employ, well ….. I think you get my drift.

You might be asking yourself why I would be dredging up Dombrowski’s tenure with the Tigers here in 2017. Well, I am glad you asked …..

Yep, the flat-earther GM of the Red Sox is on the verge of hiring the best managerial prospect on the market. In Alex Cora, Boston is getting a believer in baseball mathematics off the tree of one of the most savvy organizations in all of baseball …. the Houston Astros.

A marriage of Dombrowski and Cora is as baffling as nuptials between Tony Paul and Amy Andrews. Like, what a freaking waste.

Just when you thought this era of Tigers baseball couldn’t get any more depressing than the 11-year cock tease that ended in no jewelry and included two World Series humiliations; the 2009 collapse culminating in a torturous Game 163; and the wasted primes of Justin VerlanderMax Scherzer, Miguel CabreraJ.D. Martinez, we get the current managerial search by the full-of-shit Avila.

Remember when Avila took over the GM gig from his mentor Dombrowski and spewed a bunch of garbage that the team would be more advanced-metric friendly moving forward?

“You’ll see a big difference there.”

Where was that BIG DIFFERENCE when Avila handed Mike Pelfrey a TWO-YEAR contract?

Where was that BIG DIFFERENCE when Avila refused to fire Ausmus once it was apparent that Ausmus couldn’t buy into “Moneyball” enough to move Corpse-Mart (Victor Martinez) out of the cleanup spot or use his best relievers in the highest leverage situations? (Joakim Soria, anyone???) And those are just two blatant examples, I could list off 50.

Where is that BIG DIFFERENCE now when his former boss is hiring a gem like Cora and Avila just fucking brought in RON GARDENHIRE to manage this franchise?

Are you fucking kidding me? Ron Gardenhire? There is more tread on a tire with 120,000 miles on it.

Do we even need to discuss how anti-math Gardenhire has been during his career? He makes Leyland and Dusty Baker look like Brian Kenny. 

Fredi Gonzalez or Gardenhire? They were allegedly the last two finalists for this gig. If this were a Sophie’s Choice, I’d want them both dead. And to make matters even worse, Avila didn’t even tickle our ass with a feather by granting interviews with  either Gabe Kapler or Manny Acta.

You might be thinking that the managerial choice doesn’t even matter. That this team is going to suck monumental ass for the next few years anyway. Well, that’s kind of the point. At this point, what the fuck does Avila have to lose by hiring a manager with sabermetric leanings for a team with zero expectations???

You need a grizzled, experienced vet like Gardenhire to oversee the pending calamity? The next couple of years would be perfect for a guy like Kapler to gain experience without any pressure whatsoever while managing a bunch of young players.

Who in their right mind is going to call for the head of a manager — BASED ON RESULTS — when your best player is dealing with chronic back problems and paternity lawsuits?

(Would this be a good time to mention how hilarious it is that the team’s 2017 Roberto Clemente Award nominee — Miguel Cabrera — is currently embroiled in a lawsuit over two children he had with a woman who isn’t his wife and there are rumors he had a third kid with another paramour?)

The Tigers have spent copious amounts of time, energy and money on their proprietary computer system “Caesar” and they just hired a dude who probably can’t find the power button on an HP Pavilion. Maybe I can get a good deal on Caesar on eBay or Craig’s List.

There is absolutely NOTHING to look forward to regarding this baseball team until 2020, when you’d hope they employ a starting rotation of Franklin PerezMatt ManningAlex Faedo, Beau Burrows and, potentially, Brady Singer. 

Seriously, the only thing to root for in 2018 will be Michael Fulmer avoiding Tommy John surgery so they can spin him for some more prospects in June or July…

While watching Gardenhire call for sacrifice bunts in the second inning of American League baseball games with a unit that might rival the 2003 Tigers for ineptitude.

That particular squad lost 119 games and the ONLY reason they didn’t break the record of 120 was because, during the last weekend of the season, the Twins came to town. The Tigers needed to sweep Minnesota over the last three games of the season to avoid the worst record in the history of baseball.

And the AL Central division winners that year just laid down like dogs at Comerica Park, depriving us of that Scarlet Letter. Mike Ilitch deserved that ignominy back then for allowing his once proud franchise to disintegrate into a public embarrassment. And one man put the brakes on that by basically throwing those final three games.

The manager of the Twins.

And his name was Ron Gardenhire.

Fuck.

My.

Life.

(You can follow Moss on Twitter @JeffMossDSR. You can discuss this article on Facebook by clicking here. You can also go fuck yourself if you’d like. Totally up to you.)

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