People who work for me are expected to succeed at the job that they are assigned to do ..which not only makes them successful, but also helps make me successful ..which in turn, helps our customers be successful. Thus, in effort to determine whether Al Avila is doing a good job or not ..one can reasonably conclude that his boss Chris Ilitch is the ultimate barometer as to whether his (Chris's) goals have been met and/or exceeded, as well as whether he (Chris) feels Al has increased his (Chris's) success..
As for my opinion of Al Avila ..I can only base it from a fan's perspective, including whether I personally believe he (Al) has been successful at improving the team, or not. And in order to do that, I must first determine how I might measure (or evaluate) the degree of his (Al's) success, or lack thereof.
Toward that endeavor .. one question that quickly comes to mind is: "Are the Tigers better now under Al's guidance over the past 5 years than they were at the beginning of those 5 years? My initial reaction is that their farm system has certainly improved. But, is that enough? My immediate thought is that "'No', that is probably not enough" .. and one reason is because any current MLB organization's farm system should logically be expected to improve if they lose as much and as often as the Tigers have under Al Avila's leadership.
So, another question might be; "Is the organization as a whole better equipped to build and sustain long-term success?" To which the fast answer that comes to mind is: "Too early to know for certain." And this ""Too early to know" answer seems to be shared by many other hopeful Tiger fans among several various Tiger discussion forums on the web.
I honestly cannot say the Tiger's organization as a whole is better under Al than before Al. I believe it remains to be seen whether the entire organization's coaching systems and development systems have improved (or not.) This suggests to me that perhaps Al Avila has not succeeded at all .. and that perhaps the only improvement (farm system) was to the variable (perceived) value of their still MLB-unproven prospects which were primarily gained via failure (losing) under Al's leadership.
My (Tiger heart) hope is that Al Avila will be considered a success within the next couple years. But for now, at this current specific point in time, my opinion is that Al Avila has not succeeded at all except by default due to failure (losing, which gained top drafts picks).
With all that said, seems to me that offering to trade any valuable player should be undertaken with a view toward desired (expected) actual return. The best way to explain what I mean is to say that no player should be traded solely for what he can 'fetch' .. but rather, should be traded for what the trading team actually expects to acquire in return ..and if expected return on value is not offered, then pull the player off the market and keep him! Yes, as a fan, instead of trading JV and/or JD for less than desired .. I would rather have kept JV and JD and enjoyed their extended time playing for the Tigers.
Now, if Salary Dump was Al's primary motive (via Chris Ilitch directive) .. then perhaps Al Avila has been an outstanding success! A contract extension lends credibility toward this view..