The Detroit Tigers have fired general manager Al Avila.
The team announced the decision Wednesday.
Before the 2022 season, Avila proclaimed the prolonged rebuild had ended and set his sights on snapping the franchise's seven-year postseason drought. But through 111 games, the Tigers own a 43-68 record, have the worst offense in baseball and are the worst team in the American League Central.
"It's really about progress," owner Christopher Ilitch said Wednesday. "I've said it for years, each and every season, we need to make progress. If we do that, we'll ultimately reach our goals and objectives. This year, it become evident that we did not make progress, particularly at the major-league level."
Until a new general manager is hired, assistant general manager Sam Menzin will oversee the day-to-day operations for the team. Avila worked as the general manager for seven seasons, beginning in August 2015.
Avila compiled a 404-573 record.
"I try to let our leaders lead and run their areas of responsibility," Ilitch said. "I feel very comfortable that I've given Al the time and the resources to accomplish our mission. He's made good progress, up until this year when our progress stalled."
THE PAST SEVEN YEARS: Tigers fire GM Al Avila: A quick recap of his disappointing tenure
Ilitch, who informed Avila of his departure earlier this week, will seek both internal and external candidates for the vacant position. He does not have a timeline for his decision, though the 2022 season ends Oct. 5.
Although Ilitch didn't pinpoint any necessary qualifications, he is seeking a general manager that can accomplish three objectives: winning at a sustainable rate, qualifying for the playoffs and securing a World Series championship.
"We're going to start the process, and we're going to let it run its course," Ilitch said. "When we find the right candidate, it will have finished. That's a longer way of saying there's not an established timeline. At the end of the day, it's about getting the right person."
Manager A.J. Hinch, hired by Avila in October 2020, will not enter his name into the mix. He expects to serve as the manager into the future.
But Ilitch plans to lean on Hinch, among others, for advice.
"This organization has committed a ton to me, and vice versa," Hinch said Wednesday. "I want to help get it right. ... I said at the All-Star break that I felt like we needed to push the ball forward and move in a direction more aggressively. I didn't anticipate the personnel change, but I do think there's a lot of areas that we can address and we will address once we get our leader in charge."
Under Avila's leadership, the Tigers never reached the playoffs. His best finish came in 2016, when the team went 86-75 and finished second in the AL Central but missed the postseason on the final day of the regular season.
Avila signed a contract extension in July 2019.
Ilitch suggested Avila signed another contract extension in October 2021. If true, that extension was never made public.
"From '17 to '21, the organization and the ballclub showed a lot of progress, so I think the extension in '21 was appropriate," Ilitch said, when asked directly about the 2019 extension. "I do think it was the right decision to extend him in '21, but unfortunately today, we just haven't seen progress this season,"
Asked to clarify, Ilitch seemed confused.
"Whatever the year was he was extended by me," Ilitch said. "Was it '21 or '19? I don't remember. But we extended him after my father had hired him in '15. Nonetheless, he had made progress through that extension time period. That's the more pertinent point here. This year, we didn't see that progress."
Avila joined the organization in 2002 as assistant general manager.
"For nearly 22 years, I have given my heart and soul to this franchise, and I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch, along with Chris, for the opportunity and treating me and my family as their own," Avila said in a statement. "We've celebrated successes and enjoyed great moments, and I'm proud to have worked with so many talented people in baseball operations and throughout the organization.
"I'll cherish our friendships and the successes we all celebrated together. To Tigers fans, you're the best and you deserve a winner. I wish the results would have been better this season but know there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years. God bless everyone."
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Tigers fire GM Al Avila after 7 seasons