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Drafting in the Al Avila ERA (as GM & Asst. GM) Spoiler: It's not good


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47 minutes ago, mtutiger said:

I'm seeing all the comparisons with WCF, but In the grand scheme of things, it's not like the situation today is all that different than the one his Daddy had in 2002. It basically took the beginning of a historically bad season to prompt any change in this organization out of Mike I. 

Maybe this is just history repeating itself. If so, I'd just rather have the metaphorical ax fall now rather than 2-3 years from now.

I think Mike's reaction to the 2002 and 2003 slide was due to his new debt exposure on Comerica Park....he didnt have the giant national TV contract that Chris has today, so I think he knew had to hustle to get the ship righted on the field to make things work.

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You can argue about bad the system was when he took over, and how much support Ilitch has really given him, and how much he has moved the organization forward with tech and data, but Avila has had ample time and opportunities to show what he can do.

Trading : bad

Free agency: bad

Drafting: bad

Developing: bad

Waiver wire/minor leaguer dumpster diving: decent

Rule 5: good

Manager: good, finally

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9 minutes ago, RatkoVarda said:

You can argue about bad the system was when he took over, and how much support Ilitch has really given him, and how much he has moved the organization forward with tech and data, but Avila has had ample time and opportunities to show what he can do.

Trading : bad

Free agency: bad

Drafting: bad

Developing: bad

Waiver wire/minor leaguer dumpster diving: decent

Rule 5: good

Manager: good, finally

Pretty much.  He hasnt signed any bad FAs in the last couple of years, mostly because beyond Schoop, Cron and Grossman, he has barely signed anyone.

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28 minutes ago, Oblong said:

and DD being let go by Florida was another "fall into his lap" thing. 

 

That's why I mentioned Luhnow before.... to an extent, Hinch fell into their lap, might as well kick the tires on the GM of the same franchise who helped build a reasonably successful organization.

But yeah, not going to happen for a variety of reasons.

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1 hour ago, Oblong said:

I don't think Chris Ilitch is an idiot or necessarily a "spoiled kid".  He's just not devoted to his sports franchises to the extent that he cares if they win championships.  Little Caeser's under his stewardship is doing very well.  So is the rest of this business.  The organizations are linked to the entire operations of Ilitch Holdings and serve as cash cows and accounting opportunities.  It's a prioritization issue.  The sports teams are great and all but let's not go crazy.   He'll go on TV and get softball questions from the FSD... errrr... Bally's guys and tell us how competitive he is and use the other lines his marketing people crafted for him.  

The Tigers always make the safe choice.  DD is let go, bump up the next guy.   Brad leaves.... go get Gardenhire, he's a "respected name" among the old school baseball guys who think it's 1993, he's got nothing to do.  Rod/Mario are let go... just get that guy on the radio who does some studio work for us.  Let Gibby/Jack be his color guy.  The 84 fans will like that.    Need to offer the guise to compete?  Sign some free agents but not the super duper expensive ones.  Oh look, Houston won the WS... they 'tanked' for a few years and now they won!  There's our tagline.  We'll just do what they do.  Look at our 'prospects' that fell into our lap.  Aren't we great?

Yep.

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1 hour ago, Oblong said:

I don't think Chris Ilitch is an idiot or necessarily a "spoiled kid".  He's just not devoted to his sports franchises to the extent that he cares if they win championships.  Little Caeser's under his stewardship is doing very well.  So is the rest of this business.  The organizations are linked to the entire operations of Ilitch Holdings and serve as cash cows and accounting opportunities.  It's a prioritization issue.  The sports teams are great and all but let's not go crazy.   He'll go on TV and get softball questions from the FSD... errrr... Bally's guys and tell us how competitive he is and use the other lines his marketing people crafted for him.  

The Tigers always make the safe choice.  DD is let go, bump up the next guy.   Brad leaves.... go get Gardenhire, he's a "respected name" among the old school baseball guys who think it's 1993, he's got nothing to do.  Rod/Mario are let go... just get that guy on the radio who does some studio work for us.  Let Gibby/Jack be his color guy.  The 84 fans will like that.    Need to offer the guise to compete?  Sign some free agents but not the super duper expensive ones.  Oh look, Houston won the WS... they 'tanked' for a few years and now they won!  There's our tagline.  We'll just do what they do.  Look at our 'prospects' that fell into our lap.  Aren't we great?

 

 

i dont think he's an idiot, but im pretty sure he's a spoiled rich kid of a multimillionaire.  but its all speculation, i dont really know.

he doesnt seem to have the same burning desire for winning sports teams that his dad did.

i dont necessarily blame him for not spending money on this team.  his dad went through periods when he didnt spend money either.  

but what his dad did was being able to identify when **** wasnt working and bringing in competent people to do the job when he saw the people he hired before werent good enough.  

we'll see if chris does that this offseason if the tigers continue to scuffle or if he blindly sticks with avila.  if he does stick with him, i think its a sign that he isnt paying attention or doesnt know what to do.

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27 minutes ago, Buddha said:

i dont think he's an idiot, but im pretty sure he's a spoiled rich kid of a multimillionaire.  but its all speculation, i dont really know.

he doesnt seem to have the same burning desire for winning sports teams that his dad did.

i dont necessarily blame him for not spending money on this team.  his dad went through periods when he didnt spend money either.  

but what his dad did was being able to identify when **** wasnt working and bringing in competent people to do the job when he saw the people he hired before werent good enough.  

we'll see if chris does that this offseason if the tigers continue to scuffle or if he blindly sticks with avila.  if he does stick with him, i think its a sign that he isnt paying attention or doesnt know what to do.

Let's be fair, here.  Randy Smith was kept around longer than he earned.

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1 hour ago, Casimir said:

Let's be fair, here.  Randy Smith was kept around longer than he earned.

We'd all like to go back and get rid of Smith earlier, but if we are comparing father and son on this point, there is NO comparison.

There were independent indicators that Smith was at least somewhat talented and successful: Smith was a EoY winner with the Tigers, who also built a half-way decent team by the time they moved to CoPa, before it fell apart.  And Mike **did** react swiftly when the Tigers fell apart after moving to CoPa.

I am not aware of any independent indicator of AA's success/stature as a GM, nor am I aware of any movement on Chris' part to do ANYTHING about the current and apparent future state of this team as an all-time-suck-bottom-feeder-joke of an organization, which apparently thinks that Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Casey Mize, Matt Manning, Willi Castro, Harold Castro, and Isaac Paredes are about to lead them from worst-to-winning, a laugher if ever there was one.

There was never a time with Randy Smith where I said "I am fed up, I am never watching this team again!"  By the time they bottomed out in 2003, I was hopeful because I knew that DD was primed to step in.  

I have been pretty depressed about the Tigers for 4+ years, and I really have never had much hope in Chris or AA.  Nor have they given me any reason for hope.  Chris seems dead-from-the-neck-up.

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Smith was worse than Avila.  He had no plan at all.  He just kept making pointless trades with the Astros and Padres and then there was the big dumb Gonzalez trade.  Avila has a plan and has stuck to it, but hasn't executed it well.  Plus, Smith was easier to dislike because he came across as a self important *** whereas Avila seems like a baseball lifer who is a nice guy but not cut out to be a GM.  

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Don't get me wrong, with the right GM and Owner behind him, and with some positive player development, this roster and minor league system could produce 75 wins.  Take them from a bottom 5 to an average payroll and I think you are on the cusp of winning by 2023 or 2024.

The problem is that the wrong GM and the "win-first then think about an average payroll, maybe" approach make it feel that they are never going to get over the hump, and that it doesn't really matter to the only guy that matters, the owner.

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3 minutes ago, sabretooth said:

We'd all like to go back and get rid of Smith earlier, but if we are comparing father and son on this point, there is NO comparison.

There were independent indicators that Smith was at least somewhat talented and successful: Smith was a EoY winner with the Tigers, who also built a half-way decent team by the time they moved to CoPa, before it fell apart.  And Mike **did** react swiftly when the Tigers fell apart after moving to CoPa.

I am not aware of any independent indicator of AA's success/stature as a GM.  

There was never a time with Randy Smith where I said "I am fed up, I am never watching this team again!"  By the time they bottomed out in 2003, I was hopeful because I knew that DD was primed to step in.  

I have been pretty depressed about the Tigers for 4+ years, and I really have never had much hope in Chris or AA.  Nor have they given me any reason for hope.  Chris seems dead-from-the-neck-up.

I think the one thing that was in Mike's benefit at that time was that the Red Wings were successful, and that gave a bit of a veil of "pro sports owner knows what he is doing".  There was also chatter of the Tigers not making payroll and the debt load on the new park and maybe keeping Smith around was more of a financial decision than it was a competitive decision.

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2 minutes ago, tiger337 said:

Smith was worse than Avila.  He had no plan at all.  He just kept making pointless trades with the Astros and Padres and then there was the big dumb Gonzalez trade.  Avila has a plan and has stuck to it, but hasn't executed it well.  Plus, Smith was easier to dislike because he came across as a self important *** whereas Avila seems like a baseball lifer who is a nice guy but not cut out to be a GM.  

I'm not arguing in favor or defense of Smith (I wasn't at all aware of his personality at the time he was around), I knew at the time that he sucked.  I'm only saying that had some outward indicators of success that AA completely lacks.

You may be right that the lack of success for AA is simply a failure to execute the plan, but based on how far behind AA's movement towards technology and quantitative analysis has been, I wonder if it's a poorly executed plan, or just the poor result of badly imitating some D/D trends out there. 

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39 minutes ago, Casimir said:

I think the one thing that was in Mike's benefit at that time was that the Red Wings were successful, and that gave a bit of a veil of "pro sports owner knows what he is doing".  There was also chatter of the Tigers not making payroll and the debt load on the new park and maybe keeping Smith around was more of a financial decision than it was a competitive decision.

Exactly.

That period of time where the Wings were winning and the Tigers weren't is a big reason that, to this day, I hate the Red Wings.

I know it's irrational, but I was young and was always more of a baseball than a hockey guy.

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The thing with Smith is I understood the strategy at the time.  After a few years of bumbling around Ilitch decides to mold the Tigers into a family affair.  McHale came from a baseball family and seemed to be a good hire.  He gets a hotshot GM who also came from a baseball family.  Smith hires Buddy Bell, also from a baseball family.  On paper that seems like a good plan doesn't it?   Smith would have been gone sooner if not for Comerica Park.  That first season the team hovered around .500 and just maybe... the public hit of firing the GM going into or just after the new stadium would have been bad given the public money thing for the new stadium.

Thank God they hired DD in 2001.   

I remember seeing Randy Smith in a party store in Plymouth/Livonia, somewhere in that area around I 275/Ann Arbor Road where I get confused, at lunchtime.  I was on my break getting party store pizza slices, which are the best.  He was checking out the liquor prices.  The guy was showing him the book.  No joke.  He was still living here I guess.

 

 

 

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Smith drafted a closer #1 overall. 

He also drafted a second baseman in the first round, I think his name was Michael Woods. I went to a few Whitecaps games and he was a horrible infielder. It's not like he couldn't catch or throw, almost every grounder his footwork left him unprepared to catch and throw without taking 5 steps. He was the most awkward untrained infielder I have ever seen. You don't realize how easy good infielders make it look. Maybe i caught a few of his bad games but I remember thinking he wasn't going to make it. 

 

I don't believe he made it past A ball.

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1 hour ago, Oblong said:

The thing with Smith is I understood the strategy at the time.  After a few years of bumbling around Ilitch decides to mold the Tigers into a family affair.  McHale came from a baseball family and seemed to be a good hire.  He gets a hotshot GM who also came from a baseball family.  Smith hires Buddy Bell, also from a baseball family.  On paper that seems like a good plan doesn't it?   Smith would have been gone sooner if not for Comerica Park.  That first season the team hovered around .500 and just maybe... the public hit of firing the GM going into or just after the new stadium would have been bad given the public money thing for the new stadium.

Thank God they hired DD in 2001.   

I remember seeing Randy Smith in a party store in Plymouth/Livonia, somewhere in that area around I 275/Ann Arbor Road where I get confused, at lunchtime.  I was on my break getting party store pizza slices, which are the best.  He was checking out the liquor prices.  The guy was showing him the book.  No joke.  He was still living here I guess.

Ha ha, thats hilarious.  Pass the Courvoisier.

Yeah, I don't ever remember thinking "The Tigers are hopeless".  I remember thinking in 1999 - 2001 that they had some good players like Clark, Easley, Palmer, Encarnacion, Higgy, Fick, Sparks, Weaver, Ausmus, Cat, Polonia, Becker, Mohler, Nomo.  Thats 14 guys who were decent to good, watchable players.  The team had a couple of legit decent seasons where it looked like they might be a winning team.  I was not excited but I was never depressed or hopeless.

Putting aside guys we got or drafted during DDs regime, which AA dumped to rid ourselves of salaries (like Nick, etc), I am hard pressed to think of anybody acquired or developed by AAs regime that would fit in the above group, other than maybe Candy, Schoop, Grossman, and maybe Skubal, if he pans out.

Never have I thought during AAs reign that we are on our way to winning or on the right track with the stated plan.  I have been continually convicted that AA is over his head and that we are likely to keep being a losing team.

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Again, this is not an argument in favor of Smith, he sucked.  Its merely that the owner seemed to be moving in a positive direction that was oriented towards putting a better product on the field, at least in the 1999-2001 period, then he quickly pivoted to DD, which was clearly not the move of a guy who was waving the white flag.

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The organization needs a complete overhaul top to bottom.  Obviously it starts at the top with Avila but just replacing him without overhauling other things isn't going to change anything imo.

Our scouting and developmental sucks.  Very rarely do players ever come to our system and get better,  there has to be a reason why other than just not identifying the right players.   

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8 minutes ago, sabretooth said:

Again, this is not an argument in favor of Smith, he sucked.  Its merely that the owner seemed to be moving in a positive direction that was oriented towards putting a better product on the field, at least in the 1999-2001 period, then he quickly pivoted to DD, which was clearly not the move of a guy who was waving the white flag.

I couldn't stand Smith. Much as Avila Smith always seemed a day late and a dollar short. In the mid to late 90s teams won by outslugging their opponents. Smith never figured that out. He kept assembling a roster that he thought was a potent offense, but instead it consisted of guys whose profiles would have stood out in the 70s and 80s but fell far short of what was necessary to compete at the time. To his credit, he did churn the roster quite a bit in search of answers, which failed to materialize because he never fully understood how the game was changing. Also to his credit I never felt the Tigers were content with losing. Today, of course, the losing is mostly by design. 

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My hunch is Avila, Littlefield, Chadd, Bream and Pleis will all be let go if the Tigers finish with the worst record or close to the worst record. But, we'll see. I certainly favor a total overhaul and would like to see them bring in someone like Jeff Kingston from the Dodgers.

https://www.mlb.com/news/dodgers-add-jeff-kingston-to-front-office-c301626896

It would actually be a good GM job assuming Illitch chose to spend money. You have one of the richest owners in the sport as your boss and they are very patient. The Tigers only have one bad contract with Cabrera and it ends at the end of 2023 and you have Manning, Skubal, Mize, Tork, Greene, the # 3 pick in this draft and a top 5 pick in next draft as building blocks 25 and under. I looked up Fangraphs Future Value rankings over the past few prospect classes and the Tigers were 6th in MLB in number of players who were graded at 60 or higher (projected future All Stars) and they'll climb closer to the White Sox, Rays, Padres and Dodgers in that once they pick 3rd this year and top 5 next year. They could even get the #1 pick and Elijah Green is probably the most highly regarded prep prospect since Bryce Harper.  So, they should be able to land an innovative GM if they want one.

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38 minutes ago, RandyMarsh said:

The organization needs a complete overhaul top to bottom.  Obviously it starts at the top with Avila but just replacing him without overhauling other things isn't going to change anything imo.

Our scouting and developmental sucks.  Very rarely do players ever come to our system and get better,  there has to be a reason why other than just not identifying the right players.   

even randy is done with avila now!  :)

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1 minute ago, Buddha said:

even randy is done with avila now!  :)

Lol yep, I don't know what was the straw that broke the camels back for me, maybe it was Mize/Skubal's struggles or seeing teams that rebuilded after us have success(like the Royals) but something just made me give up on him and join the mob against him. 

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