Several weeks ago, I wrote about the clues that would start to appear over the winter. Clues that would tell us in which direction the Tigers were headed. Clues that would tell us more about whether the team was simply tearing down, rebuilding or getting ready for a sale.
And less than a week after the World Series concluded, we have our first ones.
Al Avila’s top 2 lieutenants, David Chadd and Dave Littlefield are interviewing for positions with other teams.
These are the guys who are in charge of implementing Avila’s rebuilding vision and plans.
Granted, it’s always good to be ambitious and want to elevate your professional standing. But in this particular case, and during this particular time, it’s a little curious.
In MLB, a team has to grant another team permission to interview an employee. For years, both Mr. I and Dave Dombrowski refused other teams’ requests to talk employment with Tigers’ employees. But now, things have changed.
Normally, it wouldn’t be suspicious if one executive became a candidate for a position. But two of them? Two of the top 3 executives? More than likely, something is going on.
Especially when you consider that both Daves have interviewed for GM positions with two of the most dysfunctional organizations in MLB. The Mets and Orioles. Littlefield was turned down by NY, btw.
It’s one thing to seek employment. It’s another when you are willing to leave the familiar and take on the chaos and less-than-ideal working conditions of another organization.
The Orioles in particular. A once-proud team with the owner’s sons now running the business and universally described as clueless. A team in which their former GM, Dan Duqette, tried to escape his contract and flee to Toronto several years ago until the owner went to court to force him back. And his manager, Buck Showalter, also tried to find a legal way to exit.
I mean, has this ever happened with another team? It’s really bad when it comes down to this.
There has to be a compelling reason for both VPs, not just one, who are willing to jump ship into these uncertain and troubled waters.
It’s not likely that they are being pushed out given their long history, going back decades with both Dave Dombrowski and Al Avila. And they have instrumental roles in helping Al rebuild the roster. Avila would not put himself in this position at this time, jeopardizing his own job as well.
It’s probably more likely that they want to flee. The question to ask is why?
Do they simply not want to be part of the rebuilding process?
Do they see the resources and talent currently available and believe they will not be able to meet the goals of becoming competitive for quite a while?
Are they unhappy with the rebuilding plan?
Do they see Al Avila as GM-for-life with no upward career path for them?
Do they believe that Al Avila’s contract will not be renewed in less than the 2 years remaining so they are looking for new opportunities now?
Are they unhappy with the organization ever since Mr. I passed and Dave Dombrowski (their long-time boss) left?
Has Chris Ilitch asked them to make significant cuts to their departments that will make their jobs harder to do?
Or do they see signs that the team will be sold in the near future and a new owner will bring in his own people to replace them?
There has to be some compelling reason for them to find it desirable to desert one ship for another that is having visible problems.
This is the first time we have experienced anyone within the Tigers’ organization wanting to leave voluntarily. The Tigers tend to offer lifetime employment as we painfully know.
But if you believe this is a good thing that may be happening, be careful for what you wish. Is it better to keep those veteran executives in their positions or potentially promote their underlings into jobs where their first test is the most challenging?
The Tigers rarely bring in outsiders and it is unlikely that Chris Ilitch would expend the vast amount of money it takes to find, recruit, interview, hire and train to fill these positions.
What we do know is that the entire Front Office has 1 – 1.5 years left to prove that they can show measurable progress in rebuilding the team. If that is indeed the goal.
Totally Tigers loves your comments! But please remember that responses are only published if they address today’s topic, are respectful and do not exceed the maximum 3-4 sentence response length. All rules are at: https://totallytigers.wordpress.com/commentsrules/.