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Tigers fire longtime general manager Al Avila

Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The Detroit Tigers fired general manager Al Avila, ending his two-decade tenure with the MLB franchise, team owner Christopher Ilitch announced.

Ilitch announced Avila's dismissal Wednesday night.

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"Once I decided to make a change, I sat down with Al and thanked him for his nearly 22 years of service to our organization," Ilitch said in a news release. "Al's loyalty and dedication has served as an example to all during his time as a leader in our baseball operations department.

"I will oversee the search process for our next baseball operations leader, in collaboration with several members of our baseball and business operations executive teams."

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Avila, 64, joined the Tigers in 2002 as assistant general manager. He was named general manager and vice president of baseball operations in 2015.

The Tigers went to the playoffs five times, including two World Series appearances, and won their division four times from 2002 through 2014. They failed to win their division or reach the postseason during Avila's tenure as general manager. The Tigers finished in last place in the American League Central division in four of the past seven seasons.

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Three different full-time managers -- Brad Ausmus, Ron Gardenhire and A.J. Hinch -- and interim manager Lloyd McClendon have led the Pirates under Avila.

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They sit in last place this season, at 43-68 through 111 games under Hinch, who was hired in 2020.

Avila started his MLB tenure as the assistant director of Latin American operations in 1992 for the Florida Marlins. He also served as the Marlins' director of Latin American operations, director of scouting, interim general manager, vice president and assistant general manager. The Marlins, who started play in 1993, won two World Series titles (1997 and 2003) with rosters Avila helped shape.

He joined the Pirates in 2002 as as special assistant to the general manager. He left later that year to join the Tigers.

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"For nearly 22 years, I have given my heart and soul to this franchise, and I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch, along with Chris, for the opportunity and treating me and my family as their own," Avila said. "We've celebrated successes and enjoyed great moments, and I'm proud to have worked with so many talented people in baseball operations and throughout the organization.

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"I'll cherish our friendships and the successes we all celebrated together. To Tigers fans, you're the best and you deserve a winner. I wish the results would have been better this season but know there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years. God Bless everyone."

The Tigers will host the Cleveland Guardians (58-52) at 1:10 p.m. EDT Thursday at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Guardians will attempt to complete a three-game sweep. The Tigers have lost six of their last seven games.

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