The Detroit Tigers hired San Francisco Giants general manager Scott Harris as their new president of baseball operations. the club announced on Monday. Harris, 35, will replace the recently fired Al Avila as the Tigers’ top decision maker in baseball. Avila, who had served as the Tigers’ general manager since August 2015, was sacked in August after off-season efforts to build a rival roster didn’t turn up much.
Harris was in his third season as general manager of the Giants under President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi. Before joining the Giants, Harris spent seven years with the Chicago Cubs baseball team. He started out as director of baseball operations for the Cubs under Theo Epstein and eventually worked his way up to assistant general manager.
Harris in Detroit would inherit the Tigers organization that collapsed under Avila. When Ávila took over, he was tasked with rebuilding the young talent base after years of contention under the leadership of Dave Dombrowski. Under Ávila, the Tigers won 86 games in 2016 but went 64–98 the next two seasons in each of the next two seasons before dropping to 47–114 in 2019. In the shortened 2020 season, Detroit batted by a disappointing .397 margin to go 77–85 in 2021. This season, the Tigers (now 55–91) were 43–68 at the time of Avila’s sacking.
While there are some promising young talents – Spencer Thorkelson, Riley Greene, Casey Mize and Tariq Skubal, for example – many of the Tigers’ top prospects have failed to deliver on their promise at the highest level. As such, Harris may need to overhaul the player development apparatus in addition to the roster.
It’s likely that Harris, as president of baseball operations, will eventually hire a CEO to help with the decision-making process, and that could happen before the offseason.