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DETROIT TIGERS
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Released GM Dave Dombrowski from his contract; promoted assistant GM Al Avila. [8/4]

A surprising development due to its timing rather than its content. Dombrowski seemed likely to move on at season's end, given the two sides had yet to agree to a contract extension, or, apparently, even discuss his contractual situation leading up to the split. As such, this move benefits both parties: Dombrowski can get a head start on finding his next job, whether it's as a GM or team president, while Avila can move into his new office and get to work before the offseason surge is upon him.

Dombrowski's 13-plus-season reign in Detroit was an unquestioned success. Under his watch, the Tigers transitioned from one of the worst teams in baseball to a constant contender. Their recent accomplishments—appearances in three of the past four ALCS; nine .500 or better seasons in their last 10 tries—have obscured that Dombrowski took over a franchise that hadn't been to the postseason since 1987. The last 10 months have disappointed—beginning with a poor showing in last year's ALDS and extending to the recent deadline sell-off—but few GMs or teams have enjoyed as many triumphs over the past decade as Dombrowski and his Tigers. He should land a comfy gig in the coming weeks.

As for the team he's leaving behind, they should remain in good hands. Avila has been with the organization since 2002, having previously served in various roles with the Marlins and Pirates. He's well-perceived around the game and comes complete with extensive experience as a talent evaluator. (He's also, as you've surely heard, part of a multi-generational baseball family: His son is catcher Alex Avila and his father is Ralph Avila, a longtime Dodgers international scout.) Avila has a lot of work to do in the coming months, and not just in the sense that he has large paw prints to fill: Last week's trades hinted, and Dombrowski's exit cements, that the Tigers are a team in transition.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS
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Claimed UTL-R Danny Valencia off waivers from the Blue Jays. [8/3]

As predictable as waiver claims get. Valencia is having a better season than most realize, thanks in large part to his unusually strong performance against right-handed pitchers. Whether that development proves to be a small-sample mirage or not, he should fit in well with the platoon-heavy A's. That's because "normal" Valencia is a capable short-side player whose defensive versatility—he's mostly played left field and his native third base in 2015, though he's also stood in at first and second base now and again—makes him more appealing (and interesting) than the typical lefty masher. Add in Valencia's cost—trifling as he enters his second year of arbitration—and he ought to be part of the 2016 A's.

TAMPA BAY RAYS
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Claimed OF-S Daniel Nava off waivers from the Red Sox. [8/5]

A week after dumping David DeJesus' salary on the Angels, the Rays find a cheap proxy. Nava is a nominal switch-hitter, and at times not even that: He's always performed better when batting left-handed, to the point where he tried it full-time earlier this season. When Nava is at his best, he hits a lot of singles and grinds out at-bats using a patient, disciplined approach. His poor play in 2015 aside, there's enough history here to believe he could be a league-average hitter again. If Nava validates that belief in the coming weeks, expect him to stick with the Rays into 2016 as a platoon outfielder.

NEW YORK METS
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Acquired LHP Eric O'Flaherty and cash considerations from the Athletics in exchange for a player to be named later; designated LHP Alex Torres for assignment. [8/4]

Look beyond O'Flaherty's ugly surface statistics and you'll understand why he's worth the Mets' time. Specifically, it's O'Flaherty's dominance versus left-handed hitters (.186/.286/.209) that makes him a logical addition for a bullpen that continues to be without Jerry Blevins. Of course O'Flaherty's struggles versus right-handed hitters—they've collected eight extra-base hits in 50 at-bats—will test Terry Collins' ability to micromanage his outings. Should Collins prove fit, then O'Flaherty ought to be another solid, albeit unspectacular, upgrade for the surging Mets.

Look beyond Torres' pretty surface statistics and you'll understand why he's no longer worth the Mets' time. He can still miss bats with his fasball-changeup combination, but his poor control and the Mets' desire for a traditional LOOGY meant his days were numbered. Expect Torres to land on another team's roster in the coming days because he's young (27), cheap (pre-arb through next season), and available for an iTunes gift card.

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bhacking
8/06
You're right to point out the long term success of Detroit over the past decade plus. However it is still puzzling how they weren't able to make any upgrades to the bullpen for several years in a row and that ultimately cost them repeatedly in the post season.
sbnirish77
8/06
For years this might have been true, but lately Nathan and Soria were All-Star closers than failed in the black hole of Tiger relief.
Dodger300
8/07
Nathan and Soria were both washed up has-beens with a history of arm troubles. That was the best the Tigers could do? Relief pitchers in general, including ones who have the tools to become closers, are pretty easily available throughout baseball. Several new closers are minted by other teams every year. The Tigers' inability to bring order and reasonable proficiency to their bullpen reflects a real lack of imagination and competence on the part of management.
sbnirish77
8/10
Nathan was selected to the All-Star team in 2012 and 2013 - the two years before he came to the Tigers. In 2012 he had a 2.80 ERA and 37 saves and in 2013 he had a 1.39 ERA and 43 saves and was probably the best closer in baseball. All of that accomplished pitching in the friendly confines of Texas. The Tigers went out and got what probably was the best closer in baseball at the time and certainly the best available free agent closer. In 2014 Soria had a 3.25 ERA (2.09 FIP) .99 whip and was acquired by Detroit after Nathan failed in Detroit. After Nathan failed the Tigers went out and got the best they could on the market in mid-season. After being burned by the big contract to Nathan they went with a cheaper option. Once again to say they didn't try to address the problem isn't correct. You can argue about the merits of a closer but to say that the Tigers did nothing to address the issue or that Nathan or Soria were washed up at the time they were acquired is simply not correct.
sbnirish77
8/06
Dombrowski was the anti-Billy Beane. While BP fell over itself in its love of Billy Beane's frugal approach as if wins per $ where the ultimate statistic, Dombrowski chose a different path to rebuild a moribund franchise. While neither team won the World Series there can be no argument that his rebuild of the Tiger brand helped restore a place of endearment in the hearts of the Detroit fans and was responsible for the rebirth of a downtown of which Oakland can only dream.
lmarighi
8/06
So you've never been to downtown Oakland, I see.
flyingdutchman
8/06
Your implication is that Beane is choosing to not have a high payroll. You know, just to impress the BP staff. If indeed Dombrowski chose the high-payroll path to success over the low-payroll path then I agree that he deserves credit for that. One of the reasons BP and others praise Beane is that it's evident he deserves it. If you gave Dombrowski Oakland's payrolls you think only the bullpen would be bad, and you think Cheli's Chili Bar would be quite as thriving?
jfranco77
8/06
Mets are just too cheap to keep buying Alex Torres his fancy hats.
Tarakas
8/06
I wonder, if in the dark days in Detroit when Dombrowski was interviewing for the job, what would happen if someone could see the future and say to ownership "If you hire this man, this will be the team's record under him. This is the number of first place finishes, World Series appearances, MVP awards, CY Young Awards, and Triple Crowns the team will win under his leadership." So if ownership knew all of things, would they have hired him, or would they hope they could pick someone who could do better? Given how bad the team was at that time, I'm pretty confident they would have hired him. That means he did his job well. Now, the lack of World Championships might have been an issue, so I left that out. But I think ownership would have been ecstatic knowing what he would achieve. Now, once you start winning every year, then you get all concerned about how you do in the playoffs, how many World Series you win, etc. These are the complaints that people only have about consistently successful teams. The fact that people have these complaints about the Tigers meant that he turned a very bad franchise around. To paraphrase Whitey Herzog, losing the World Series every year would be a nice problem to have.