Detroit Tigers News

Detroit Tigers: What General Manager Would You Choose Part 2

TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 20: The MLB logo is installed prior to the game between Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - MARCH 20: The MLB logo is installed prior to the game between Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics at Tokyo Dome on March 20, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Masterpress/Getty Images) /
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In my last article, I asked what General Manager you would choose based on track record and nothing else. Now here are the candidates with some context.

The purpose behind doing this article was to see without the noise that can be presented on social media, biases and just based purely on facts from their resume, who people would choose as their general manager. A disclaimer to note: This is just an article for conservation purposes. This does not reflect any changes that should be suggested. Here are the candidates and the rest of their stories. If you not checked out my first piece, please do so this all can make sense.

Candidate A:  Jeff Luhnow (Win At All Costs)

Jeff Luhnow will be suspended for a year in the wake of the Houston Astros cheating scandal. Here’s what I originally wrote up as his description.

"“This candidate has quite a track record. He spent his first job overseeing the scouting, international, and player development aspects of the team. He led development in Latin America and even built a computer program to house data on all the players in the organization, from scouting reports to personal information. All the hard work paid off as this candidate saw two pennants, a World Series win, and a runner up finish in a league championship. In his first general manager position, his minor league affiliates all made the postseason in one season within his first two years. His data-mining completely changed the course of several players’ careers, allowing them to perform their best”.“This candidate has quite a track record. He spent his first job overseeing the scouting, international, and player development aspects of the team. He led development in Latin America and even built a computer program to house data on all the players in the organization, from scouting reports to personal information. All the hard work paid off as this candidate saw two pennants, a World Series win, and a runner up finish in a league championship. In his first general manager position, his minor league affiliates all made the postseason in one season within his first two years. His data-mining completely changed the course of several players’ careers, allowing them to perform their best”."

Now, prior to Houston, Luhnow built up the St. Louis Cardinals farm system as according to a MLB.com article, Luhnow’s “first three drafts from 2005-2007, produced 24 Major League players, which is more than any other Major League team in that time frame.” But as Manny Gómez discussed on Luhnow’s path to Houston, some of the building came at a price. He and long-time former Cardinals GM Walt Jockey fought constantly about how to construct the team in his time in St. Louis.

When New York Times reporter Michael S Schmidt reported about the St Louis Cardinals were investigation in 2015 for hacking the Houston Astros database, this was the purpose behind it.

"“Investigators believe that Cardinals personnel, concerned that Mr. Luhnow had taken their idea and proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials when they worked for the Cardinals. The Cardinals employees are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said.”"

There is a lawsuit pending over stealing trade secrets, as reported on WTTS.  With all that being added, would you still want “win at all costs” GM?

Candidate B: Al Avila (New To the Role)

Al Avila is in the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame and the St. Thomas University Hall of Fame to clear up the description from the last article.  Most people guessed this one correctly.

"“He is a Hall of Famer and can evaluate talent, based on his past track record”."

He is in the middle of a rebuild currently (it is highly argued when the “rebuild” got started among fans on Twitter)  and he is aware of his critics when speaking to the media during the fall meetings. This is a make or break year for Avila as the Tigers have the first pick in the 2020 MLB draft.  He has been fixing the team on what appears to be limited resources recently. To his credit, he has been trying to get new-age thinking with their off-season hires. 

Candidate C: Tony LaCava (Assistant GM Looking for the right opportunity)

Tony LaCava was the one candidate that had no guesses for.

"“He has been with the same organization for more than 10 years, but prior to that, he was a scout, a national scouting supervisor, a director of player development, a national crosschecker and he spent time in another front office prior to his last stop.”"

He is part of the Toronto Blue Jays front office brain trust since 2002 and interviewed for the Pittsburgh Pirates job this off-season.  He did turn down the Baltimore Orioles position in 2011 to stay with then Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos. His track record of developing some of the Blue Jays top talent with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio and from what has been reported, both AL and NL executives praise his abilities.  With his impressive track record, perhaps it is just a matter of the perfect opportunity for him.

Candidate D: Dave Dombrowski  (The old, familiar face Detroit Tigers fans miss)

Everyone guessed candidate D. Even after his firing in Boston, Dave’s track record speaks for itself. (the “fowl” statement was when he was fired by the General Manager at the time, Hawk Harrelson.)

"“He served as a farm director, then assistant GM duties before a fowl went and cut it short quickly.”"

He won the Boston Red Sox a World Series and fired less than a year later. In a recent article in the Boston Globe from December 21st, 2019, he noted how his colleagues noticed his absence.

"“During the GM Meetings, a number of Dombrowski’s colleagues reached out to note how odd it was not to see him at the annual gathering of executives. None of the 30 heads of baseball operations had ever attended the gathering without Dombrowski being a part of them. “I heard from quite a few general managers at that time from other clubs saying, ‘Gee, it’s strange you’re not here,’ ” he noted.”"

A certain contingency of Tigers fans has noticed it too. Kudos by the way to Tigers blog “Glass Half Fulmer for getting them all right minus candidate C.

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