Yesterday the Detroit Tigers fired long-time team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski.
Like just about everyone else in the baseball universe, I was very surprised by this move. The timing is certainly curious: the Tigers are four games under .500 this year and sitting in third place. This isn't a good year for them, but this is the same organization that won the American League Central in 2011, and 2012, and 2013, and 2014, has had a long record of success under Dombrowski, and just made crucial trades as part of a retooling process..
Dombrowski's contract was up after this season and rumors indicate he was looking for more money, but cutting him loose right now seems like an ultimate "what have you done for me lately" move.
I'm sure there's more to the story that we don't know yet. He certainly won't be unemployed for long. Perhaps we will find out what really happened when he lands with a new team, or when he eventually writes his memoirs.
In any event, Al Avila takes over as the new general manager, which gives us an opening for a discussion question.
Let's say Avila calls you up and puts you in charge of Detroit's farm system. What, if anything, would you do differently? The Tigers system has been thin for years, on paper, but they always seem to have enough prospects to pull off interesting trades and the Latin American operation has a good reputation for finding bargains. The farm system has consistently developed assets that interest other teams, assets that Dombrowski converted into "win now" talent that brought four division titles in a row.
Did they go too far with that philosophy? For purposes of this thought exercise, we'll assume that ownership will give you sufficient funds to do what you want, within reason: you don't have a Dodgers or Yankees-type blank check, but you can meet your bonus pools and go a little over if there's someone you really like.
So what do you do, in the draft and internationally? Would you make any significant changes? Does this system need a complete overhaul, or just some retooling?