Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that the Detroit Tigers have signed general manager Al Avila to a contract extension.
The details of the extension are not yet known. His current contract had been set to expire after the 2020 season.
Avila took over as the Tigers’ GM in August of 2015 following the dismissal of Dave Dombrowski. At that time the Tigers were coming off of four straight AL Central titles but, thanks to a rash of injuries, finished in last place, and posted a losing record for the first time since 2008. The trade deadline that year saw the team deal David Price, Yoenis Céspedes and Joakim Soria. While they would bounce back to a second place finish in 2016, Avila’s early tenure brought with it the beginning of the end of the Tigers’ decade-long period of contention and the beginning of a rebuild that hit full speed in 2017 following the death of owner Michael Ilitch, the trades of Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez, and the subsequent firing of manager Brad Ausmus.
How’s the rebuild going? It’s honestly too early to tell. Avila’s drafts since taking over have received mixed reviews, as have the returns he has gotten for players he has traded away. There are some segments of Tigers fandom that are down on the rebuild and believe that Avila’s marching orders prioritize keeping payroll down over returning to contention. Then agin, no rebuilds have ever been super popular among most fans, and the proof of this one will be in the won-loss record, say, two or three years from now.
Either way, this extension is a signal from new owner Christopher Ilitch that he likes how the rebuild is proceeding and wants Avila to see it through.