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Foster: Tigers need a fresh face to replace Dombrowski

Terry Foster
The Detroit News

Detroit — There were two words I kept hearing while standing along the right-field fence at Comerica Park during the Tigers’ final home game before they hit the road.

Buy?

Sell?

You heard the words more often than “Go, Tigers!”

The buzz words have taken this town by storm. It was definitely the debate at the New Amsterdam bar.

My stance, for the record, is sell. But there is no urgency. The Tigers have hot commodities and should wait to see if the market gets hotter.

But let’s look at the big picture. There is a more important move the Tigers need to make. They need to retool to become contenders again. The most important question is, who do you want leading this team back to the promised land?

Are you saying yes or no to Dave Dombrowski, the president and general manager that built this team?

Put me down for a no vote. It is time for somebody else to lead the way. Dombrowski is on the final months of his contract and there are no serious negotiations to bring him back now. And there shouldn’t be.

The Tigers need a new voice. They need a fresh perspective and new thinking. And this comes from a guy who believes Dombrowski has done a solid job. But he’s been here 13 years and he needs a new team to command. And the Tigers need someone new, too.

At the end of the season owner Mike Ilitch, his son Chris, Ilitch Holdings president Tom Wilson and whomever else wants to stand in line should give D.D. a grand send-off, thank him for his tireless work and send him on his way.

Thank him for bringing in Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez.

Thank him for four Central Division titles, five playoff runs and two World Series appearances. It’s been a good run.

Here is the problem with this town. We hang on to the old even after we’ve come to the end.

The Pistons hung onto Joe Dumars too long as general manager, even stripping him of some power while he hung onto his job. The Lions hung onto Matt Millen, Chuck Schmidt and and Russ Thomas for way too long. Millen, perhaps the worst GM in sports history, even got a contract extension and lasted nearly eight years. It took the opening notes of 0-16 to get rid of him.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is a great coach and will do great things in Toronto. But he overstayed in Detroit and it was time to move on. This doesn’t mean Dombrowski is a bum, although he never got the bullpen right. It is just time to move on.

The Tigers' championship run as we know it has come to an end. Dombrowski took over for Randy Smith and did a very good job. He did not deliver what we wanted but got the Tigers to the threshold of the promised land twice. Unfortunately, the team won just one game in two World Series appearances.

Dombrowski is used to reaching greatness with big payrolls and then tearing things apart. This isn’t to say the Tigers are going bargain-basement, but they will and should be smarter with their money. Pitcher Justin Verlander, Martinez and Cabrera are taking up a huge chunk of their payroll. It is part of the reason the Tigers probably won’t be able to sign David Price and lost Max Scherzer to free agency.

The next step is to find some younger guy who is into today’s sabermetrics and scouting.

Or there is assistant GM Al Avila, who is recognized in baseball as a guy who should have a team to run. I’d have no problem with that.

The Tigers need a fresh face and a fresh view, one who can work the draft board and work a set payroll.

tfoster@detroitnews.com

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