Scott Harris' first season as Tigers president of baseball operations was very hit-and-miss. He had some victories, such as Tyler Holton, and Andy Ibanez to a lesser extent. But there were also a lot of misses, like not trading Eduardo Rodriguez at the trade deadline.
Most of his mistakes came during his first offseason. To say he played it safe would be an understatement. The only additions to the big league roster during the offseason were Matt Vierling, Nick Maton, Michael Lorenzen, and Matthew Boyd. There were other minor league signings and waiver claims that ended up making the big league roster at some point, but those were the only direct upgrades he made last offseason.
If the Tigers plan on being competitive in 2024, Harris can't afford to do that again. He's off to a good start with the trade for Mark Canha, but that can't be the headliner. The Tigers still have plenty of holes to fill. There's still a lot of work to be done.
It's time to go over four mistakes from last offseason that Scott Harris cannot repeat. Let's go.
Neglecting third base
This remains the most puzzling decision from last offseason. The Tigers nontendered Jeimer Candelario, which was fine, but they did nothing to replace him. A cast of AAAA players filled that hole in 2023, and the results were putrid.
Tigers' third baseman combined for a 72 wRC+ and a -1.0 fWAR in 2023. The latter was tied for the third-worst in baseball. They HAVE to find some sort of solution at the position this offseason, even if it's just for the short-term.
It doesn't really matter if the solution comes from the outside, or from within. They just need to find some stability at the hot corner.
It sounds like Colt Keith may end up playing second base long term, so he may not be the answer. Justyn-Henry Malloy probably isn't it either as he'll likely play somewhere in the outfield. So bringing in some outside help is probably the better solution.
This is the No. 1 need for the Tigers this offseason — finding a third baseman. It has to be Scott Harris' top priority. He can't make the same mistake he made last year.