Dave Dombrowski has been released from his contract as general manager of the Detroit Tigers, the team announced Tuesday afternoon. Al Avila, his top assistant, is taking over.

Tigers owner Mike Ilitch tells the media:

"I would like to thank Dave Dombrowski for his 14 years of service," said Ilitch. "Together we've enjoyed some success, but we're still in aggressive pursuit of our ultimate goal: to bring a World Series title to Detroit and Michigan. I've decided to release Dave from his contract in order to afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities. I feel this is the right time for the Tigers to move forward under new leadership."

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Dombrowski's Tigers teams went 989-1054 over 13-plus seasons, including two AL pennants. (USATSI)

It's not certain if Dombrowski, 59, was fired or quit, as he wasn't quoted in the Tigers press release. The team has scheduled a press conference for 5 p.m. ET.

Avila, father of Detroit catcher Alex Avila, says he thinks the Tigers can compete this season. Detroit is currently 51-54 and three games back in the wild-card hunt. 

After winning a World Series with the Marlins in 1997, Dombrowski oversaw the resurgence of the Tigers organization, which he took over in 2002. The Tigers won the AL pennant in 2006 and returned to the World Series in 2012, making five playoff appearances in all under Dombrowski, including four straight through 2014. The Tigers slipped this season to .500 or so, and declared themselves to be sellers at the non-waiver trading deadline. They moved ace left-hander David Price to the Blue Jays for prospects. One of them, left-hander Matt Boyd, is scheduled to start Wednesday against the Royals.

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Al Avila takes over for Dombrowski. (USATSI)

Avila, 57, has been a front-office executive for the past 24 years, the past 14 of them with the Tigers. This is his first job as general manager.

Here's a juicy bit of speculation about what Dombrowski might do next: