The Detroit Tigers announced a major change Wednesday afternoon, firing longtime general manager and executive vice president Al Avila.
The team released a statement on Twitter revealing the decision, which is effective immediately.
"Once I decided to make a change, I sat down with Al and thanked him for nearly 22 years of service to our organization," Tigers chairman and CEO Christopher Ilitch said. "Al's loyalty and dedication has served as an example to all during his time as a leader in our baseball operations department."
Following a lengthy rebuild, Avila attempted to expedite their path back to contention by signing Javier Baez and Eduardo Rodriguez last offseason However, they're last in the AL Central at 43-68 and slated to miss the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season.
Given the organization's struggles, many onlookers saw Avila's dismissal as overdue.
Yet the timing was also somewhat strange, as the trade deadline passed last week. The Tigers made two minor deals, shipping away outfielder Robbie Grossman and reliever Michael Fulmer.
The Tigers were once a perennial contender behind superstars Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, and Max Scherzer. But they haven't won a World Series since 1984 despite winning the American League pennant in 2006 and 2012.
Avila's successor will have some promising young building blocks in Riley Greene, Spencer Torkelson, and Tarik Skubal. However, their other premier pitching prospects (Matt Manning, Casey Mize) have not panned out beyond Skubal, and a once-promising farm system fell to No. 24 in ESPN's post-draft rankings.
New management may need to oversee another overhaul to bring Detroit back to relevancy.