By Jamie Samuelsen
A week ago, Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski shocked the baseball world when he traded Prince Fielder to the Rangers for Ian Kinsler. Is it possible that Dombrowski has an even bigger shock up his sleeve?
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Dombrowski is receiving a groundswell of support to replace Bud Selig as MLB Commissioner when Selig retires following the 2014 season.
Olney tweeted this morning, “It’s been interesting in recent weeks to hear more and more executives speak of the Tigers’ Dave Dombrowski as a candidate for Commissioner.”
This is hardly the first time Dombrowski’s name has been mentioned in conjunction with the highest office in the sport. But it’s the first time that it’s garnered any mention of momentum. For weeks we’ve heard Dombrowski listed alongside MLB Executive V.P. Rob Manfred, Business Operations Director Tim Brosnan and longtime GM Sandy Alderson as potential successors to Selig. Both Manfred and Brosnan have a knowledge of the inner workings of the executive offices so would seem to be better candidates. But when you have such access, you also tend to have good relationships and bad relationships with the owners who are the ones making the final decision.
A few things to consider about Dombrowski’s candidacy.
1) Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has been absent from many public appearances over the past year leading many to wonder about his health. Ilitch is 84 years old. Would Dombrowski view the future of the Tigers as somewhat unstable and look for an opportunity elsewhere?
2) Dombrowski is one of the great wheeler-and-dealers in the past quarter century of baseball. He was hired to be the Tigers President and quickly assumed the GM duties only months later. Some people just have running a team in their blood and Dombrowski seems like one of those guys.
3) While the job of commissioner is a powerful one and certainly comes with a financial bump, you’re also beholden to 30 MLB owners instead of just one. It’s obvious that Dombrowski loves the game of baseball. But does he love it that much?
4) The Tigers have done everything under his watch except win a title. Would a World Series win in 2014 clinch a decision for him? Would the lack of a title make him want to stay to finish the job?
Dombrowski is one of the most private executives we’ve ever had here, which is why he can stun Tiger nation with trades and signings. These are just my theories trying to read the situation. What Dombrowski thinks might be 100 percent different.
There’s no doubt that Dombrowski taking this job would be a blow to the Tigers. He’s helped turn a 119-loss team into a contender every season. I heard Olney and ESPN’s Jayson Stark once discuss this issue on a podcast and they both agreed that the next commissioner would probably be a name that nobody has discussed before. The thinking being that any name that’s out in the public will already have detractors amongst the owners.
It will be interesting to watch this play out over the coming months. If Dombrowski’s past is any indication, we probably won’t find out his interest or his decision until the job is actually announced.