Detroit Tigers: Scott Harris' dumpster diving is doing more harm than good

Scott Harris needs to stop with the waiver claims.
The Detroit Tigers' president of baseball operations Scott Harris speaks during his introductory
The Detroit Tigers' president of baseball operations Scott Harris speaks during his introductory / Ryan Garza / USA TODAY NETWORK

When Scott Harris was introduced as the Detroit Tigers' new president of baseball operations last September, he said he would be aggressive when it came to player acquisition, putting an emphasis on calculated risk.

We're about a year into his tenure, and we haven't seen any of that.

One thing that became clear right away was that he was going to work the waiver wire. He came from an organization in the San Francisco Giants that made more waiver claims that any other team over the past few years.

Making a claim every now and then is fine. But using the waiver wire as your main source of talent acquisition is not at all a recipe for success.

The only successful waiver claim Harris has made has been Tyler Holton, who's been outstanding this season despite a recent blowup outing against the Astros. But how much of that is Harris' ability to identify talent, and how much of it is pitching coach Chris Fetter being a wizard? Judging based on Harris' other waiver acquisitions, I would venture to say it's the latter.

He got six good weeks out of Zach McKinstry, though he was technically a trade acquistion. He's been terrible for the past three months. Andy Ibanez is a servicable bench player. But how's the Andrew Vazquez claim worked out? He had an ERA of 12 in six innings before being placed on the 15-day IL with a calf strain.

Next, let's look at Blair Calvo. He was acquired in a small trade with the Rockies back in June. He has a 8.55 ERA in 46.1 IP in the minors. Sure, he has 61 strikeouts in that period, but that means nothing if you can't find the zone. He has a WHIP of almost 2, and a BB/9 of about 7.5. So much for dominating the strike zone.

And now this latest claim, Bennett Sousa. He's another lefty with a career ERA of 9 and a career K/9 of 5.5. Yes, he has solid numbers in the minors, but he's had 23 big league innings so far in his career and he's been awful. Another waste of a 40-man roster spot.

There's so many of these little trades and waiver claims that haven't worked. As it turns out, acquiring bad players is not an effective way of building a team.

The worst part of all of this is that Harris has good players waiting in the minors in Colt Keith and Justyn-Henry Malloy, and refuses to give them a shot. He'd rather have A.J. Hinch keep trotting out the likes of McKinstry, Ibanez, Matt Vierling, and Zack Short out there to try to prove himself right. Just total "smartest guy in the room" vibes.

Wouldn't it be a calculated risk to call up prospects to see what you have? I totally understand not wanting to rush prospects, and both Keith and Malloy have had their struggles in Triple-A this season. But they're both hot right now. Keith had four hits in a game last night and he's now hitting .299 with a .243 ISO. What else does he need to show you?

And don't give me the defense spiel. Yes, neither player has been a very good defender no matter where they've played. But have you seen the big league team's offense the past two years? It's been putrid, in case you haven't noticed. They can work on their defense in the big leagues. We can take some growing pains in the field if they can hit.

We will do a more in-depth article grading Scott Harris' first year in office some time next month, but this was something I wanted to address now. We've gotten a lot of promises from Harris. We know what his plan is. But we have yet to see him properly execute it.

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