How the Detroit Tigers can take their front office approach to free agency
The Detroit Tigers need a rare combination of youth and experience
Scott Harris’ approach of acquiring, retaining, and developing young talent was widely applauded by fans and news outlets alike–and although the Tigers have been retaining their prospects for years, the idea of utilizing every avenue to bring in that young talent is invigorating for a fanbase that has largely relied on MLB drafts as their main source of excitement in past years.
The game has shifted considerably in the last decade in a way that’s more conducive to young players. Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer have become unicorns in a game that has largely pushed out veterans after age 35. There could be many reasons why this is, but largely it’s simply a shift in the way the game is played.
Defensive metrics have infiltrated the game and can now be measured; giving credence to speed beyond the basepaths. The pitchers are throwing harder. From the hitter’s perspective, it requires quick twitch and elite reaction times. For pitchers, it favors a younger arm with less mileage. Additionally, home runs have become a large part of offensive production, leaving older finesse players to either bulk up or back out.
In Scott Harris, the Detroit Tigers have attained a rare combination of experience, expertise, and youth. Harris pushed back at the notion of being an analytics-based thinker, but he has undoubtedly been infiltrated in the information era in baseball during his time with the Chicago Cubs and San Fransisco Giants.
The Tigers, likewise, did the same when they hired Rob Metzler, a 42-year-old who had 15 years of experience with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Acquiring young players is often talked about in the context of prospects, but if the Detroit Tigers can find a way to acquire young players who can be instantly inserted into a prominent role, it will do worlds for speeding up the club’s competitive window moving forward.