The Detroit Tigers front office strategy would translate well in free agency this winter
There has been overwhelming relief among the Detroit Tigers fanbase since the club brought in Scott Harris as well as the hires immediately following the change in leadership. The Detroit Tigers had a way of thinking and process that, while evolving in some areas, remained the same at its core for nearly two decades.
Dave Dombrowski was hired in 2002 and brought along Al Avila as his assistant GM during his tenure. When Dombrowski and the Tigers parted ways in 2015, the club promoted Avila internally and effectively kept a large part of the front office intact. It is noteworthy the club built an analytics department from scratch and vastly expanded its player development structure under Avila. Still, these changes served more like an awkward and obvious addition to an existing home.
While Scott Harris wasn’t willing to call this a complete teardown, there have been sweeping changes that have come with the structural realignment in departments spanning from training and performance to scouting and strength. The club will not be renewing Kevin Rand’s contract, who was serving in Lakeland; Doug Teter, former head athletic trainer with the MLB club, will assume a similar role to Rand in Lakeland; former Assistant GM David Chadd and the Tigers agreed mutually to part ways; former assistant hitting coach Mike Hessman accepted a job within player development; strength coach Steve Chase will not return; and on, and on.
Harris is correct in a way–the club still has Director of Player Development Ryan Garko and Assistant GMs Jay Sartori and Sam Menzin with the organization, along with several other pro scouting and development hires–but with the changes at the top, look for the Tigers brass to be more influential on many of their retained front office talent, rather than those underneath trying to influence the top.
Could this cohesion translate into the club’s approach with their major league personnel this offseason? It certainly should.