Detroit Tigers: Scott Harris admitted the team is tanking without saying it

Tigers' new president of baseball operations Scott Harris, center, prepares to speak during his
Tigers' new president of baseball operations Scott Harris, center, prepares to speak during his / Ryan Garza / USA TODAY NETWORK

Get ready for 3-5 more years of losing from the Detroit Tigers

Scott Harris won't directly say it, so I will. The Detroit Tigers are tanking for the 2023 season and possibly beyond.

Harris spoke about the team's plans for the rest of the offseason at the press conference for the Michael Lorenzen signing on Tuesday. Here is what he had to say, per Evan Woodberry of MLive:

""Part of the broader strategy here is to strengthen our pitching and defense while we address our offense. Reshaping our offensive identity will take time. It has to take time to be able to achieve that goal.""

Scott Harris

It may sound like I'm putting words in his mouth, but he's been saying stuff like this all offseason. He's been saying how these things take time and asking fans for patience, like we just didn't go through six straight losing seasons under the previous regime.

And this isn't totally his fault. He, like Al Avila before him, has been given a shoestring budget by his boss. Chris Ilitch continues to be one of the worst owners in baseball. He has NFL money coming in now and he still won't spend.

In fact, I think I'll say something else nobody has been willing to say: I'm beginning to think Ilitch hired Harris to "build a culture of development" and operate the Tigers like a small market team ala Cleveland and Tampa Bay. We won't know this for sure until next offseason when the contracts of Miguel Cabrera and likely Eduardo Rodriguez are off the books, but it sure seems like that's what's going on here.

Don't get me wrong. Player development is extremely important, and the Tigers have been horrible at it for years now. They desperately need to improve in that area, and they finally showed some signs in 2022, at least at the minor league level.

But the best teams do both—they develop their players *and* they spend money. Look at the Astros, Braves, and Dodgers for examples of that. But no, the Tigers are putting all of their eggs in one basket.

Why else would Harris put so much emphasis on giving young players at-bats? Many of the young players that are ready for major league playing are either unproven or have gotten a cup of coffee and didn't impress. Most of the Tigers' good prospects are at least a year away.

The Detroit Tigers can't possibly think some combination or Ryan Kreidler/Andre Lipcius/Andy Ibanez is going to get the job done at third base. And who plays right field? Akil Baddoo? Kerry Carpenter? They already have Riley Greene and Austin Meadows. Getting a quality third outfielder would at least make Tigers fans feel more optimistic about one position group.

This team could compete next year if they wanted to. If the Detroit Tigers were owned by someone who cared even a little bit, they would have spent more money this offseason. They may not make the playoffs, but the on-field product would at least be serviceable and competitive.

Instead, it's going to be a complete embarrassment once again. Buckle up, Tigers fans, because it may be a few more years before this team is good again.

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