Detroit Tigers: Why the next GM must be an external hire
The Detroit Tigers need some fresh blood
It’s been roughly 20 years since the Detroit Tigers had some fresh blood in their front office. Dave Dombrowski was the GM from 2003-2015, then Al Avila—who was Dombrowski’s assistant GM—was the GM for the past seven years until his firing just last week. It was the same bloodline, the same tree, for almost two decades.
Just last year, the Detroit Tigers started to make some moves to modernize their organization by promoting guys like Sam Menzin and Jay Sartori to assistant GM roles and hiring Ryan Garko as VP of Player Development, and demoting guys like Dave Littlefield. It’s been a slow and steady process, but the Tigers have been taking steps to become a more forward-thinking organization.
One way to really accelerate this process would be to hire a GM from outside the organization. This is an organization that is in desperate need of a fresh face to lead the front office. Principal owner Chris Ilitch even said so himself in his press conference.
“I believe bringing in a new leader in our baseball operations area will bring us a fresh perspective,” Ilitch said. “It’s a real opportunity to reevaluate everything that we’re doing and bring new ideas and a fresh perspective as we go forward.”
There is no shortage of quality candidates to choose from. Astros’ assistant GM Pete Putila, Brewers; assistant GM Matt Arnold, and Braves’ VP of Scouting Dana Brown are just a few names to keep an eye on. Heck, they could pick just about anybody from the Dodgers’ front office and it would be a win.
One thing that has yet to be seen is how attractive this job really is. On the surface, it’s not attractive at all. The major league roster is super flawed, the farm system is borderline-barren, and ownership is cheap. But on the other hand, A.J. Hinch is well-respected in baseball circles, despite how his tenure in Houston ended, and he has tons of connections. Plus, like we keep hearing, there’s only 30 of these jobs. Someone will want to run their own show.
If nothing else, the Tigers GM job is a good challenge for somebody to take on. The organization still maintains that they want to be competitive sooner rather than later, so it will be interesting to see how the next GM goes about that.
If the Tigers have trouble getting interest from external candidates, then that would obviously increase the likelihood of an internal candidate getting the job. No disrespect to Menzin and Sartori, as they both seem like smart guys, but they were still part of the Avila-brass. This needs to be an external hire in the worst way.
Getting an external hire to breathe some fresh air into the organization is paramount at this point. They can weed through all the fodder on the 40-man roster and get some actual big league talent, which at the end of the day, is what the Detroit Tigers really need.