Detroit Tigers Player Development Option 2: Raid the Best Teams
Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but stealing is easier. There are a handful of teams out there with a demonstrated track record of success when it comes to player development — Houston, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Tampa, etc. — so the smartest bet is to just take from them. And no team has a better development track record than the Los Angeles Dodgers. L.A.’s current Director of Player Development is none other than former Detroit Tigers infielder Will Rhymes.
Would Rhymes want to leave Los Angeles for a similar position in Detroit? From the outside it doesn’t seem likely, but Tigers bench coach George Lombard made a similar move. And remember, Dave Littlefield was the Vice President of Player Development. Perhaps an upgrade in title, and the corresponding monetary gains it confers, would be enough to bring Rhymes back. If not, the Tigers could target his second-in-command, Matt McGrath.
The Dodgers don’t have a monopoly on player development, of course. Tampa’s Carlos Rodriguez and Kevin Ibach have stellar track records. Mike Groopman has done strong work with Kansas City and Milwaukee, and the Mariners have had a few strong development years in a row, so checking in with Andy McKay and Emanuel Sifuentes would make some sense.