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#pounditThursday, September 29, 2022

Tigers owner throws former GM under the bus

Chris Ilitch looking away.

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. Mandatory Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Detroit Tigers owner Chris Ilitch blamed recently-fired Tigers GM Al Avila for trading away two veteran players who went on to enjoy career resurgences with other teams.

The Tigers announced on Wednesday that they had fired Avila after seven years. Ilitch said he would lead the new GM search, and that assistant GM Sam Menzin would take over as interim GM.

Detroit had made some questionable moves during Avila’s tenure, including trading away Justin Verlander and JD Martinez.

While addressing reporters after Avila’s firing was announced, Ilitch was asked if he had any regrets about trading away Verlander and Martinez. Ilitch responded by placing the blame on Avila for dealing away the two franchise cornerstone players.

“I didn’t trade those players away,” Ilitch said. “Our general manager did. Al [Avila] did. That’s his role.”

Regardless of who had the final say in signing off on the two trades, both moves did not work out too well for the Tigers.

Verlander was traded to the Houston Astros in 2017 for Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron and Jake Rogers. Perez was released in 2021, while Verlander played a key role in Houston’s World Series championship in 2017. Verlander won his second Cy Young Award in 2019 with a 21-6 record, 2.58 ERA and 300 strikeouts to 42 walks in 223 innings. Entering Wednesday, the 39-year-old was 15-3 with a 1.73 ERA in 130 innings.

Martinez was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2017 for Dawel Lugo, Sergio Alcantara and Jose King. He hit .302 with 29 home runs and 65 RBI in just 62 games with Arizona. Martinez then signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2018, and proceeded to lead the league in both RBI (130) and total bases (358) while winning two Silver Slugger Awards and a World Series title that season.

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