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Detroit Tigers: Finding Avila’s Batting Average as GM

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila watches spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020.02162020 Tigers Springtrain 7
Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila watches spring training at TigerTown in Lakeland, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020.02162020 Tigers Springtrain 7 /
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(Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Al Avila’s Batting Average in Free Agency

What hurts Avila here is his early work with Jordan Zimmermann, but if you recall, Zimmerman was one of the better arms on the market in 2015. The numbers showed a slight decrease in some major categories, but no one expected Zimmermann to be plagued by injuries the way he was in Detroit.

Let’s examine how Avila’s batting average works here. This will not include all the minor league player signings who did not make the roster.

2015 signings:

  • Jordan Zimmermann – Miss
  • Mike Aviles – Miss
  • Mark Lowe – Miss
  • Jarrod Saltalamacchia – Miss
  • Mike Pelfrey – Miss

2016 signings:

  • Alex Avila – Hit
  • Jim Adduci – Hit
  • Justin Upton – Hit

2017 signings:

  • Niko Goodrum – Hit
  • Ryan Carpenter – Miss
  • Leonys Martin – Hit
  • Mike Fiers – Hit

2018 Signings:

  • Louis Coleman – Hit
  • Francisco Liriano – Hit
  • Jordy Mercer – Miss
  • Nick Ramirez – Hit
  • Tyson Ross – Draw
  • Matt Moore – Draw

2019/2020 Signings:

  • Gordon Beckham – Miss
  • Josh Harrison – Miss
  • Trevor Rosenthal – Miss
  • Edwin Jackson – Miss
  • Austin Romine – Miss
  • C.J Cron – Draw
  • Jonathan Schoop – Hit
  • Ivan Nova – Draw
  • Cameron Maybin – Draw

Hits: 10 Misses:13 Draws: 4

This ends up being a .371 batting average, though there are a lot more misses here than in other categories. In his first offseason, in the winter of 2015, Justin Upton proved to be the only solid hit, as Avila’s attempts to shore up the rotation and bullpen fell flat.

The Tigers got plenty of use from Jim Adduci during his two seasons in Detroit as a fan favorite, batting .259 as a part-time player. Both Coleman and Liriano did what was expected without costing Detroit a lot of money.  It is fair to say Liriano’s best days were behind him for that 98-loss Tigers team, but unlike Ross, Moore, and Nova, he was able to go out there without any injury issues. Coleman was a journeyman reliever who gave Detroit one good season before getting cut in spring training in 2019.

What will sting the most is Rosenthal. Detroit could not help him figure out his control in his brief time here, but Kansas City did and was able to flip him to the Padres. Fiers, Maybin, and Martin were flipped for players, so Avila was able to get something for them. And taking a flyer on Nick Ramirez gave the Tigers a lefty in 2019 who was dependable. But Romine’s bad second half behind the plate really put the Tigers on the hunt again for another catcher this off-season.

Overall, Al Avila is 21/60 in his moves as Tigers GM, good for a flat.350 batting average. That’s a Hall-of-Fame batting average for a hitter, but when you’re a general manager the only number that matters is wins. Al Avila’s track record on trades is better than I expected, but for the Detroit Tigers to compete again, he’s going to take some bigger swings soon.

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