TIGERS ANNOUNCE MULTI-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION FOR EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT OF BASEBALL OPERATIONS AND GENERAL MANAGER, AL AVILA
Detroit Tigers Chairman and CEO, Christopher Ilitch, today announced a multi-year contract extension for Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager, Al Avila.
“It’s clear to anyone that follows Tigers baseball that our organization is undergoing a significant transformation,” Ilitch said. “I’ve been impressed with Al’s leadership and focus, and the steadfast way he has led our baseball operations since becoming general manager. Al has methodically implemented his plan, and the execution of that plan has demonstrated progress and results in scouting, drafting, player development and analytics. I am especially pleased with the progress we have made in securing a stable of talented prospects which bodes well for our future. Al has a proven track record in this game, and his nearly three decades of experience is paying dividends in this rebuilding phase.”
Avila, 60, was named to his current position on August 4, 2015. The 2019 season marks his 28th in professional baseball and 18th with the Tigers.
Under Avila’s leadership, he and his staff have acquired a young core of talent through trades, the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft and international free agency. A focus has been on implementing an approach to develop and retain young, controllable talent across all levels of the organization with the goal of making a Major League impact in Detroit. As a result, the Tigers player development system, which was ranked in the bottom five in all of baseball just three years ago, is now ranked eighth best, according to FanGraphs. The Tigers have four players on the Top 100 prospects list published by MLB Pipeline, including No. 2 prospect RHP Casey Mize, No. 32 prospect RHP Matt Manning, No. 62 prospect RHP Franklin Perez and No. 83 prospect INF Isaac Paredes. Nearly two dozen of the organization’s top 30 prospects are currently playing at either Triple A Toledo or Double A Erie, the highest such total in all of baseball.
Through trades made by Avila, the Tigers have acquired the following highly-ranked prospects: OF Daz Cameron, RHP Franklin Perez and C Jake Rogers from Houston in exchange for RHP Justin Verlander; INF’s Jeimer Candelario and Isaac Paredes from Chicago (NL) in exchange for C Alex Avila and LHP Justin Wilson; and INF Willi Castro from Cleveland in exchange for OF Leonys Martin.
Avila, who is the first Cuban-born general manager in Major League Baseball history, has played a major role in the staffing growth and improvement of the Tigers professional, amateur and international scouting departments. Additionally, Avila has catalyzed the expansion of the club’s analytics department, which is now one of the largest in the American League. Avila has spearheaded improvements and upgrades throughout all areas of the Tigers player development system, including in health and nutrition, renovating a state-of-the-art facility at TigerTown in Lakeland and expanding the organization’s academy in the Dominican Republic.