Dombrowski spent the last 14 seasons with the franchise, including winning the last four AL Central titles, but made some questionable moves at this year's deadline. Some believe the GM gave up on the Tigers' season too soon, trading away David Price and Yoenis Cespedes with the team just four games out of a playoff spot.
Dombrowski was in the final year of his deal, but said that there were never any talks on a new deal. Assistant GM Al Avila, father of Tigers' catcher Alex Avila, was promoted to the GM position for at least the rest of the season. Avila said in a press conference that Brad Ausmus will be the manager for the rest of the season, but that the entire team will be evaluated in the off-season.
The press conference did not include owner Mike Illitch or Dombrowski, just Avila and Ausmus. Avila has been an assistant in the Tigers' front office since 2002. He revealed that he was hired as the GM on Saturday, a day after Dombrowski made the final deadline deals. He also stated that he has signed a deal with the team, keeping him in long enough to continue to "build on a winning tradition."
Ausmus claims that he did not know of the move until Tuesday, when the entire public found out. The young manager was hired before last season, leading the team to an AL Central title, but was swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS. The team got off to an 11-2 start this season, but currently sits two games under .500, but are still in striking distance for a playoff spot.
Ausmus took over for Jim Leyland, whom Dombrowski hired prior to the 2006 season. Despite making it to two World Series, and four championship series, the Tigers could not raise the trophy under Dombrowski.
Some of the biggest names that Dombrowski has signed and traded for include: Miguel Cabrera, Magglio Ordonez, Ivan Rodriguez, Anibal Sanchez, Omar Infante, Jose Iglesias, J.D. Martinez, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, Prince Fielder, and David Price.
The biggest concern over the former Florida Marlins' GM's career was Detroit's bullpen. He attempted many times to fix that issue with names such as Jose Valverde, Joe Nathan, Phil Coke, and Joakim Soria. None of the above, and many more attempts, were successful in maintaining a consistently reliable bullpen.
That issue, along with the team playing far below expectations and being unable to get it done in October, points to why Dombrowski is no longer with the team. But the numerous big-time names that have been added, along with the timing of the decision, makes this move even more shocking than any deadline deal.