MLB: Rating the front offices of the AL Central

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 17: Thad Levine, General Manager for the Minnesota Twins looks on as Derek Falvey, Chief Baseball Officer introduces Royce Lewis, number one overall draft pick, at a press conference on June 17, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - JUNE 17: Thad Levine, General Manager for the Minnesota Twins looks on as Derek Falvey, Chief Baseball Officer introduces Royce Lewis, number one overall draft pick, at a press conference on June 17, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Detroit Tigers, Daz Cameron
Tigers GM Al Avila. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Detroit Tigers

Al Avila, executive vice president of baseball operations and general manager

-5.3 games

Avila is one of those GMs who makes you wonder how they’re still employed.

His personnel moves hurt the Tigers by 5.3 games in 2020. If that sounds bad – and it was MLB’s worst — understand this: By Avila’s standards, it’s actually pretty good. His average short-term damage to the Detroit roster since 2017 is -8.75 games.

Avila signed multi-year extension for an indefinite period back in July of 2019, so how much leash he has from team owner Chris Illitch is not clear.

The best thing Avila did was to not do very much. He made a modest 22 personnel moves affecting the 2020 roster this past season. Unfortunately, only three of those 22 generated a positive short-term value to the Tigers, the most consequential being the promotion of rookie relief pitcher Bryan Garcia. His 1.66 ERA in 26 appearances worked out to a +0.7 WAA.

Some of Avila’s moves may work out over time, even if they did not justify themselves in 2020. Pitching phenom Casey Mize was promoted in August to much fanfare. His seven starts resulted in an 0-3 record and 6.99 ERA. Some day the legions of Mize fans may look back on that and his -0.7 WAA as a humorous, meaningless footnote to an asterisk.

dark. Next. Rating the AL East front offices

Here is the annual short-term performance rating of the Tigers’ front office since 2016:

2016:     + 4.1

2017:     –  7.1

2018:     –  6.5

2919:     -16.1

2020:     –  5.3