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Al Avila gets thrown under the bus for Tigers’ Justin Verlander, JD Martinez trades

Tigers, Al Avila, Justin Verlander, JD Martinez, Chris Illitch

The Detroit Tigers made the difficult and surprising decision to part ways with Al Avila, who had been the organization’s general manager for the past seven seasons. During a press conference after the news broke of the Tigers’ decision, team owner Chris Illitch proceeded to throw Avila under the bus for some questionable moves he made while acting as the team’s GM. Via Brad Galli, Illitch placed the blame squarely on Avila when discussing the JD Martinez and Justin Verlander trades.

“I didn’t trade those players away, our general manager did. Al did. That’s his role,” said the Tigers owner. “I’m not going to comment on past activities and go through a litany of moves that Al has made over the course of the past years… I believe bringing in a new leader in the baseball operations area is going to give us a fresh perspective.”

It’s a bit surprising to see an owner take zero responsibility for the moves that transpired within his organization, but Illitch didn’t hesitate to throw Avila under the bus when explaining his decision to move on from the longtime GM. Avila had spent nearly 22 years with the Tigers in various roles, but had made some questionable moves since taking over as GM.

The Justin Verlander trade saw the Tigers acquire Daz Cameron, Franklin Perez, and Jake Rogers from the Astros, none of whom have gone on to leave a lasting impression on fans in Detroit. The JD Martinez trade sent the slugger to Arizona in exchange for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara, and Jose King. Again, the return in that deal has been substandard.

While Illitch had the chance to act like a true professional and thank Avila for the work he put in during his tenure, the Tigers’ owner opted to take a shot at Avila and feed him to the wolves.