MLB.com reporter and Michigan native Jon Morosi jumped on 97.1 The Ticket this morning to discuss all things Detroit sports, including the Detroit Red Wings pending decision on head coach Jeff Blashill and what he expected the team to do with their next high draft choice. Also of discussion was the Detroit Tigers, their direction, and the front office.
Detroit Tigers General Manager Al Avila has been under scrutiny after the club has scuffled out of the gate; leaving many wondering what the timeline for a competitive club really is. Heading into Tuesday, the Tigers were 10-24 overall and already 8 games out of a wildcard spot in the American League.
The topic of when the rebuild started has been highly debated, but Morosi argued because they made the big signings in 2016, the rebuild did not start until the Detroit Tigers traded away Justin Verlander and Justin Upton in August of 2017. Regardless, he did not refrain from critiquing the direction of the organization:
"“Do you want to say it’s a five-year plan? Well, if it’s five years, then the middle of next year you’re supposed to be good, and I’m not candidly seeing that happen yet…If you’re looking for signs…you’re a Tiger fan looking for a sign next year you can start thinking about the playoffs, I don’t believe we’ve seen that yet.” -Jon Morosi on 97.1 The Ticket"
Because Morosi is so critical about the Detroit Tigers’ path to competitiveness, we can logically conclude his feelings about the front office and specifically GM Al Avila are not PR-spin, nor are they defensive in nature.
Morosi said as much — citing the Avila extension in 2019 as a sign ownership is willing to let this play out for one year plus, in his opinion. From a place of practicality, he does not feel Avila’s job is in jeopardy for this reason.
Interestingly, toward the end of the interview, he talked about Mariners uber-prospect Jarred Kelenic getting the call to make his MLB debut on Tuesday and wondered if the Detroit Tigers could take a similar approach with MCB #1 prospect, outfielder Riley Greene.
Things could certainly change in a hurry; we have seen momentous turnarounds before, but to execute it, they will need to turn over 75% of the current roster. Listen to the full interview here.