Tigers owner Mike Ilitch did Dave Dombrowski a favor by releasing him from his contract on Tuesday.
The dirty little secret around Tigers Town is that Dombrowski was not going to return as General Manager. It was time for him to look for new challenges and everybody knew it. Dombrowski was a true professional in rebooting the Tigers to give new boss Al Avila a fighting chance in the future. But Dombrowski knew he would not lead the Tigers past this season.
Still I am sure he was shocked to be let go this quickly. You would think the Tigers would have a nice press conference at season’s end where everybody hugs and reports this to be a mutual departure. It did not happen but now Dombrowski can begin fielding feelers as soon as he wants. He would get a gig any way but this is a good time for Dombrowski to clear his mind and move forward.
There is speculation he will end up in Boston. Cynic Tiger fans believe he will end up in Toronto and try to keep David Price on the payroll. That would mean Toronto would get Mike Babcock, Dombrowski and Price for minor league prospects. That is not a fair deal.
Here is the only way Dombrowski would return as President of the Tigers. If he were able to find a group of investors to buy the team then he would run it. It is my belief that is what Dombrowski always wanted. However, there are no indications the Ilitch family wants to sell.
In the end Dombrowski did a good job as the top executive but failed in his ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Detroit and owner Mike Ilitch. He was able to spend and bring in top prospects. But he never figured out the small details of having a quality bullpen and eventually he lost most of the starting pitching that made the Tigers good.
Avila has been given the green light to move forward and Ilitch told him he still wants to win. I still believe the payroll will be slightly less and Avila will be asked to be more creative in how he brings a title to Detroit, which by the way is still possible.