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The 2017 Post-Mortem

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10 hours ago, sabretooth said:

Avila's been one of the top-ranked officials for 12 years, but somehow the state of core systems are absolutely no reflection on him because he wasn't the GM until 2 years ago.

Bottom line: IMO, Avila was a successful Asst. GM for an old-school GM and a huge payroll. 

I cannot see Avila succeeding on his own with a middle-pack payroll....we'll see.

No one really knows what Avila’s duties were as an assistant GM. To me, I think it’s telling that he made a point to start building up the analytics department almost immediately. I think it is quite possible that DD simply wasn’t interested in investing in such a thing. He had a very specific philosophy to building a team, and from his view he may have seen it as unnecessary. 

Maybe Mr I preferred to spend money on players. 

Regardless, they are working on it now. I’ve been happy with everything they have done over the past year.  

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2 hours ago, Shelton said:

No one really knows what Avila’s duties were as an assistant GM. To me, I think it’s telling that he made a point to start building up the analytics department almost immediately. I think it is quite possible that DD simply wasn’t interested in investing in such a thing. He had a very specific philosophy to building a team, and from his view he may have seen it as unnecessary. 

Maybe Mr I preferred to spend money on players. 

Regardless, they are working on it now. I’ve been happy with everything they have done over the past year.  

What you're saying seems reasonable enough.......i don't like AA, but he may yet get this on the right track.  The only rational thing would be to give him 3 years and see if they are in a position to compete with a core homegrown group. 

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not sure if you're trying to be funny, but I don't understand this sentiment.  Why would you trade young, productive players to get younger, uncertain players in return?  Blowing everything up is irresponsible--we've moved everyone who is either old or has a large salary that we can (Kinsler being the lone exception).  
No where has it been stated that the Tigers feel compelled to get to a low payroll.  I think they are just trading movable assets to get younger, where possible. 

Everything is already blown up. Now the franchise is left with pieces. Some of them are building blocks, some are not. Some of those building blocks may fit within a rebuilding plan, some of them may not.

For the next two years, at least, nobody should be seen as untouchable. Every player in the system should be seen as a trading chip.

In retrospect, it is a shame that Trader Dave is no longer with the team, given his skill and success at judging the trade value of players. Avila has not inspired confidence here. I’m glad to see him build up the team’s analytics department, but (given how late they are to the party) this is not likely to be a comparative advantage for them anytime soon, if ever, as Dombrowski’s trading ability was.

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8 minutes ago, Jason_R said:


Everything is already blown up. Now the franchise is left with pieces. Some of them are building blocks, some are not. Some of those building blocks may fit within a rebuilding plan, some of them may not.

For the next two years, at least, nobody should be seen as untouchable. Every player in the system should be seen as a trading chip.

In retrospect, it is a shame that Trader Dave is no longer with the team, given his skill and success at judging the trade value of players. Avila has not inspired confidence here. I’m glad to see him build up the team’s analytics department, but (given how late they are to the party) this is not likely to be a comparative advantage for them anytime soon, if ever, as Dombrowski’s trading ability was.

DD was willing to trade prospects for veterans, and for the most part did a decent job. But he doesn’t have much of a recent track record for trading for good young players. Scherzer is basically it. 

We will see how Norris and Boyd turn out. 

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2 minutes ago, Shelton said:

DD was willing to trade prospects for veterans, and for the most part did a decent job. But he doesn’t have much of a recent track record for trading for good young players. Scherzer is basically it. 

We will see how Norris and Boyd turn out. 

Sorta Ray too and probably Austin Jackson(I know, I know)

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1 minute ago, Shelton said:

DD was willing to trade prospects for veterans, and for the most part did a decent job. But he doesn’t have much of a recent track record for trading for good young players. Scherzer is basically it. 

We will see how Norris and Boyd turn out. 

Fair enough, and that part of my point is moot anyway, given that DD is long gone. 

The larger concern is that Avila, whatever his role was under DD, has not inspired the fan base with any confidence that he can create value through trades. Maybe the trades he has made will look much more favorable in retrospect, but as best as I can tell, the consensus is, we're holding our breath.

In a "moneyball" world, where sports franchises are all relying on some mechanism for identifying value through market inefficiencies, the Tigers had Dave Dombrowski; maybe he had superior scouting information, superior ability to read/anticipate the needs of his trading partners, or perhaps just dumb luck. 

Avila is building "Ceasar" - but "Moneyball" came out in 2003, so if the team is intending to compete on analytics, let's hope it doesn't have 15 years of catching up to do.

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Speaking randomly I still think of Norris, Boyd, and Fulmer as a single unit.  Sometimes I get the names mixed up. Foris, Noyd, and Bulmer.

I'm not as doom and gloom.  I don't think the team is THAT far away.  I'm not saying we're going to make the WS again in a few years like we did from the 2000-2003 era but I also don't think we're as deep in the dumps as those teams were.  I said elsewhere we're a decent bullpen away from being ok.  I think a bullpen should be the easiest thing to fix if the right people are doing it.

 

 

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55 minutes ago, Shelton said:

DD was willing to trade prospects for veterans, and for the most part did a decent job. But he doesn’t have much of a recent track record for trading for good young players. Scherzer is basically it. 

We will see how Norris and Boyd turn out. 

Fulmer?  I can only think of the following trades where he went the other way (vets for younger players or prospects):

Fulmer/Mets

Norris/Boyd/LaBourt/Jays

J. Jones/Pirates

AJax.Scherzer/Yanks-DBacks

Ray/Nationals

I would say he did fairly well, if you just look at the trades and not subsequent moves.  We'd all love to have Ray back.  Fulmer is money and Norris and Boyd still hold promise.  Of course, we got the best of the 3-way Scherzer deal.  And I consider the Soria trade a wash--he hasn't been very good since being dealt and Jones has shown that he likely will never hit well enough to be a big league regular.  

Pretty decent, overall.

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I support and trust Al Avilia. The only question remains for me is his ability to sign the best free agents and I think he will do better next time without the pressure of an aging owner and the benefit of hindsight.

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I support and trust Al Avilia. The only question remains for me is his ability to sign the best free agents and I think he will do better next time without the pressure of an aging owner and the benefit of hindsight.

I don’t think signing high quality free agents will be relevant until the 2020 season, at the earliest.

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2 hours ago, Tenacious D said:

Fulmer?  I can only think of the following trades where he went the other way (vets for younger players or prospects):

Fulmer/Mets

Norris/Boyd/LaBourt/Jays

J. Jones/Pirates

AJax.Scherzer/Yanks-DBacks

Ray/Nationals

I would say he did fairly well, if you just look at the trades and not subsequent moves.  We'd all love to have Ray back.  Fulmer is money and Norris and Boyd still hold promise.  Of course, we got the best of the 3-way Scherzer deal.  And I consider the Soria trade a wash--he hasn't been very good since being dealt and Jones has shown that he likely will never hit well enough to be a big league regular.  

Pretty decent, overall.

Well, Ajax sucks for one thing. 

Fister for Ray was fine, but I have a hard time ignoring that he bailed on Ray so quickly, giving up leyba also to get Shane Greene, and facilitating Gregorius to the yanks. 

Given the reaction to the fister trade, it could argued that he didn’t do a good enough job of getting max value from fister. If the best you can get is a guy that needs to be packaged with another prospect to get Shane Greene a year later, I don’t think you did well. I personally don’t blame him for that deal. I’m sure he took the best that was being offered. It reminds me a lot of the JD deal, where people were unimpressed with the return. 

My only point is that there is not a lot of eveidence that DD was any better than Avila at trading veterans for prospects. And it’s also kind of fuzzy because we don’t know how much Avila was involved in identifying the prospects that came back. 

I think the JD deal was fine. I think trading for Wilson was fine (even if chad green became a stud reliever). Turning wilson and Alex into Jeimer and paredes was great. And the Verlander deal was almost universally praised. 

If you want to sing him for what JD brought back, that’s fine. But on balance I haven’t seen anything from him that would indicate he is not good and trading veterans for prospects, or that he is poor at drafting. 

Manning and Faedo are top 100 prospects. Of the top 12 prospects in the tigers system, Avila is responsible for 9 of them (manning, Perez, Jeimer, faedo, funkhouser, paredes, rogers, Daz, Lugo).

And he also identified and acquired Mahtook. 

And for all we know, he was the one that said Fulmer was the guy to target on the mets.

what did he screw up? The free agency signings last year didn’t turn out great. And pelfrey was an easy one to question. Lowe should have not been a bust. Zimmermann should have not been a bust. They suck, and that’s on him, but the thought process behind it was fine. 

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4 hours ago, sabretooth said:

What you're saying seems reasonable enough.......i don't like AA, but he may yet get this on the right track.  The only rational thing would be to give him 3 years and see if they are in a position to compete with a core homegrown group. 

I think that's fair.  Caesar isn't in place yet.  The rebuild has just begun.  The short & long term goals of the team have certainly changed in scope/priority (however anyone wants to define it).

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To me the only thing that Avila possibly blundered was the 2015 offseason and of course we don't know how much of that came from the top.  Even though we only finished a couple games back of the playoffs in 2016 in hindsight we probably should have started the rebuild then or at the very least not went out and spent money. 

With that said though looking back I'm not so sure how much more we would've have gotten then that we have now.   JD would've had an extra year and a half of control but he also didn't have as long of track record then and there were quite a few impact OFs on the FA market(Cespedes, Upton, Gordon among others) so he may have not fetched much more than he did now. 

Kinsler would probably have been somebody we could have sold though for a solid return.  I think most of all though we wouldn't be hampered with Zimm's contract but in all honesty its not like we're looking to spend money the next few years anyway so it shouldn't have any effect on the team. 

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34 minutes ago, Shelton said:

 

Given the reaction to the fister trade, it could argued that he didn’t do a good enough job of getting max value from fister. If the best you can get is a guy that needs to be packaged with another prospect to get Shane Greene a year later, I don’t think you did well. I personally don’t blame him for that deal. I’m sure he took the best that was being offered. It reminds me a lot of the JD deal, where people were unimpressed with the return,

I think the difference is with Fister you had multiple reports of teams saying we would have offered more had we known Fister was available. Didn't hear that with JD. 

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15 minutes ago, Keepleyland2 said:

I think the difference is with Fister you had multiple reports of teams saying we would have offered more had we known Fister was available. Didn't hear that with JD. 

This is a good point. It was a shock to everyone when the Fister trade went down. No advance warning. Everyone in baseball, from the fans on up, knew JD was available last winter and at the deadline.

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41 minutes ago, RandyMarsh said:

To me the only thing that Avila possibly blundered was the 2015 offseason and of course we don't know how much of that came from the top.  Even though we only finished a couple games back of the playoffs in 2016 in hindsight we probably should have started the rebuild then or at the very least not went out and spent money. 

With that said though looking back I'm not so sure how much more we would've have gotten then that we have now.   JD would've had an extra year and a half of control but he also didn't have as long of track record then and there were quite a few impact OFs on the FA market(Cespedes, Upton, Gordon among others) so he may have not fetched much more than he did now. 

Kinsler would probably have been somebody we could have sold though for a solid return.  I think most of all though we wouldn't be hampered with Zimm's contract but in all honesty its not like we're looking to spend money the next few years anyway so it shouldn't have any effect on the team. 

I'm quite certain that the FA push came from the top. DD was fired once he had to admit to Mr. I that the team needed to retool, sell of its FAs to be.

The ancient owner did not have the luxury of time and AA was hired, in part, bc he told Mr. I they could win fast. 

Upton over Cespedes turned out fine.

Zimmeran was a bust, obvs. That offseason, there were three big FA SPs. Zimm, Cueto and Samardzija. AA took Zimmerman off the board for 5 yrs/$110M. Shark went later for 5 yrs/$90M and Cueto went for 6 yrs/$130M.

Obviously, we got the short end of the stick there. Zimm was worth about a quarter of a win according to BR. Shark was worth 2.8 and Cueto was worth 5.6. If we had signed either of those guys, we'd have at least made the WC last year. 

I also think that both players were tradable last offseason. Shark was worth 2.4 this year ( 3.8 by FG) too and could have been moved at this deadline or the offseason for useful prospects, particularly if we ate a little salary. 

Maybe neither of those players would have signed with us, and if so, then I guess what can you do. But easily AA's biggest failur thus far.

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1 hour ago, Keepleyland2 said:

I think the difference is with Fister you had multiple reports of teams saying we would have offered more had we known Fister was available. Didn't hear that with JD. 

Yeah I remember that. If true, that’s an example of DD screwing up. I’m not sure how true that is though. Maybe DD didn’t call every GM, but I think he is competent enough to do his due dilligence. It could be that they didn’t like certain prospects on some teams and didn’t bother calling them. 

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25 minutes ago, Shelton said:

It could be that they didn’t like certain prospects on some teams and didn’t bother calling them. 

I would say that can't be true, but then Ray became quite excellent, so hopefully whoever identified Ray as the prospect to go after is still with the org.

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7 minutes ago, irvink said:

I would say that can't be true, but then Ray became quite excellent, so hopefully whoever identified Ray as the prospect to go after is still with the org.

If I remember correctly, DD had said that he was focused on SP prospects that were close to the majors. So it could be that he didn’t call some teams that didn’t have that. 

Was that the right decision? They were still in a competitive window so I guess it’s not horrible that he targeted a specific type of player. That’s a bit different than trading a veteran because you are going into a multi year rebuild. If you are doing that, for one thing, everyone knows that all of your vet players are available and they will probably be calling you. And on top of that, you are looking to build as much value and depth in your system without regard to specific positions, necessarily. 

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13 minutes ago, Shelton said:

If I remember correctly, DD had said that he was focused on SP prospects that were close to the majors. So it could be that he didn’t call some teams that didn’t have that. 

Was that the right decision? They were still in a competitive window so I guess it’s not horrible that he targeted a specific type of player. That’s a bit different than trading a veteran because you are going into a multi year rebuild. If you are doing that, for one thing, everyone knows that all of your vet players are available and they will probably be calling you. And on top of that, you are looking to build as much value and depth in your system without regard to specific positions, necessarily. 

The bad decision was being so impatient with a prospect you had correctly identified as having a very good MLB future.

Before coming to Detroit, Ray had a half season in AA and DD was basically counting on him to step into a playoff rotation. He pitched a month in Toledo and did not have great results there before he was rushed up to the bigs, which he quite clearly was not ready for. 

 

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Just now, irvink said:

The bad decision was being so impatient with a prospect you had correctly identified as having a very good MLB future.

Before coming to Detroit, Ray had a half season in AA and DD was basically counting on him to step into a playoff rotation. He pitched a month in Toledo and did not have great results there before he was rushed up to the bigs, which he quite clearly was not ready for. 

 

I think the thought was that Ray was ticketed for a year in AAA and that he would fill a rotation spot a year later. But then he struggled that first year (I don’t remember his aaa numbers being particularly great), and DD panicked and went after Greene, who seemed more ready for that next season. 

It was a shortsighted move for an org that was being shortsighted year after year. 

A normal organization that isn’t desperate to win a ring immediately to satiate the desires of a dying man probably handles all of this differently. They don’t give up a draft pick for José Valverde. They don’t sign Victor. They don’t give up picks for zimm and upton. They don’t trade guys like Suarez and Travis or let Perez go for nothing. They don’t trade porcello for cespedes (even though that did lead to Fulmer). They don’t trade smyly and Adams’s for price (even though that did lead to Norris and Boyd).

I get it though. 2014 could have been a World Series championship. 2015 should have been a playoff year. 2016 almost was. Even this year had potential if Verlander didn’t start slow and Cabrera and JD and Fulmer don’t get hurt. 

I am ok with where we are now, though. I think Avila salvaged this thing as best he could, and there is a real path to competitive baseball in a few years without having to squint too hard. 

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56 minutes ago, irvink said:

I would say that can't be true, but then Ray became quite excellent, so hopefully whoever identified Ray as the prospect to go after is still with the org.

He went to Arizona prior to Ray being traded there.

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38 minutes ago, Shelton said:

I get it though. 2014 could have been a World Series championship. 2015 should have been a playoff year. 2016 almost was. Even this year had potential if Verlander didn’t start slow and Cabrera and JD and Fulmer don’t get hurt. 

I am ok with where we are now, though. I think Avila salvaged this thing as best he could, and there is a real path to competitive baseball in a few years without having to squint too hard. 

Yes, there were wins and losses to this method. By the end of the run, the system was so thin, desperation/impatience took over. Agree that AA seems to be doing well so far. 

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