Report: Detroit Tigers could have new GM by the end of the month

Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch speaks at a press conference at Comerica Park in Detroit after the firing of general manager Al Avila Wednesday, August 10, 2022.
Detroit Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch speaks at a press conference at Comerica Park in Detroit after the firing of general manager Al Avila Wednesday, August 10, 2022. /

The Detroit Tigers GM search could be nearing its end

The Detroit Tigers fired GM Al Avila on Aug. 10. Chairman Chris Ilitch said he made the decision to pull the trigger then in an effort to get a head start on the search process. Now, it appears he wasn’t kidding when he said that.

Lynn Henning of The Detroit News (subscription required) has reported this morning that the Detroit Tigers could have a new GM by the end of September. He even suggests that it could be coming sooner rather than later, saying the first half of September is “a more likely target” for naming a new general manager.

It can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction with Henning sometimes—especially on Twitter—but the fact that he was willing to publish this information in The Detroit News suggests that he feels pretty good about what he’s been hearing.

He also lists three names he believes “to be under heavy consideration.” Note that he does not name them as finalists. Those names are as follows:

—Josh Byrnes, Dodgers senior vice president of baseball operations

—Matt Slater, Cardinals special assistant to the GM, player procurement

—Sam Menzin, Tigers assistant GM

It’s no surprise to see Menzin listed here. He and A.J. Hinch seem to have a pretty good relationship. They have both been in charge of roster control virtually all season, so they probably have an idea of what needs to be done to get this team in a competitive state.

Byrnes isn’t really a surprise either. He has worked with Hinch twice before—in Arizona, where he was the GM and Hinch was the manager—and in San Diego, where he was the GM and Hinch worked in the front office. He has worked in the Dodgers organization under Andrew Friedman since 2014.

There’s no question about Byrnes’ ability to identify talent. In Arizona, he drafted players such as Max Scherzer and Paul Goldschmidt. Of course, he also traded Scherzer to Detroit. He has gone on record saying that he regrets that trade.

In San Diego, he drafted players such as Trea Turner, Max Fried, and Hunter Renfroe. The man knows how to draft. So why was he unsuccessful in both stints as GM?

The common denominator in both stops is low payroll. Both the Diamondbacks and Padres were under cheap ownership at the time he was in charge. Of course, now the Padres have one of the highest payrolls in baseball under A.J. Preller’s watch. If he was able to spend some money, there’s a much better chance he would have had more success.

Slater is the newest name here. He joined the Cardinals in 2007, and has been their director of player personnel since 2012. Previously he has worked in the Dodgers and Orioles organizations.

The Cardinals aren’t a bad organization to poach from, that’s for sure. They always seem to know how to get the best out of their players. Surely you all remember David Eckstein from the 2006 World Series (sorry if I just triggered anyone’s PTSD). More recent examples included Tommy Edman (4.9 fWAR in 2022) and Lars Nootbaar (2.1 fWAR in 81 games in 2022).

Out of any of these candidates, I would have to choose Byrnes. He has the eye for talent and the relationship with Hinch. Plus, he’s worked with the Dodgers the last eight years.

No disrespect to Menzin…but this needs to be an external hire. They need to hire someone from outside the organization to breathe some fresh air into the front office.

When the Detroit Tigers do hire their next GM, you can count on Motor City Bengals to keep you up to date.

Next. Detroit Tigers: It’s time to leave Jackson Jobe alone. dark