Detroit Tigers: Scott Harris is kicking the can down the road

Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris speaks to media members during spring
Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris speaks to media members during spring / Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Welcome to the 2024 Detroit Tigers, where we will be kicking the can down the road for the *checks notes* seventh consecutive year, or at least that's the impression we got when Scott Harris and A.J. Hinch both spoke to the media on Wednesday as pitchers catchers reported to spring training.

Harris was asked about the offseason and his goals for the team this season. One would think he'd try to at least hype up the team a bit and try to instill some confidence in his young team. Instead, we got this, from Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press:

""This is a talented group. Make no mistake, there is talent up and down this roster, but we got to get a lot better. We got to focus on getting better here. We haven't done anything yet in this organization.""

Scott Harris

Okay. This is mostly just Harris-speak. But wasn't the time to get better this offseason? What was he doing the last three months? If you want the team to get better, that seems like something you have a hand in, Mr. Harris — especially since, you know, you're the president of baseball operations and what not.

And if you can say that last sentence again. They really haven't done anything yet. Ever since Harris took over, they've been kicking the can down the road. Get used to me saying that.

Then he was asked about the offseason, and how and why he decided to go about things. He basically just recapped the moves he made, but some of his rational for doing so was flawed at best. Here's a little bit of that, again from Petzold:

"...we wanted to be self-aware about the team that we're about to run out there in 2024. It's going to be a lineup that's filled with young hitters. As we know from watching baseball over the last decade or so, sometimes an offense filled with young hitters is a bit unpredictable. We wanted to strengthen the pitching side of the ball. We wanted to make sure that we had a staff, a rotation, and a bullpen that can keep games close...that should help us keep games close and take some pressure off the young hitters and allow them to have a bigger influence on the outcome if it's a close game."

Scott Harris

I...I just...where do we begin? What the heck did I just write, and what am I making you all read here? Has this guy not seen the last two years of Tigers baseball, where the pitching has had to carry the load because the lineup can't keep up? Does he watch the team he runs?

And if he really wanted to take some pressure off the young hitters, he would have added another veteran bat or two to the team instead of relying solely on youngsters. Having established, quality big league hitters around the young guns has so many benefits to it. It lengthens the lineup. The young hitters can learn. Imagine if the 2006 Tigers just had a young Curtis Granderson, Craig Monroe, Brandon Inge, and a bunch of no-name fringe big leaguers instead of veteran additons like Pudge Rodriguez, Placido Polanco, Carlos Guillen, and Magglio Ordonez. That team doesn't even sniff the playoffs, let alone the World Series.

Harris was asked if he ever planned on adding another bat, and this was the excuse, I mean, answer he gave. Credit again to Petzold for asking the question.

This is a bunch of baloney. This man really said they didn't have room for another everyday-type bat. You're telling me Matt Vierling, Andy Ibanez, and Zach McKinstry are everyday bats? History and data tells us that all three of those players are best suited as bench bats. One of them will probably get everyday-ish ABs.

Also, wasn't last year the year to "earmark at-bats" to young hitters? We're really doing that again? This all sounds like an excuse to not spend in any capacity — free agency or trade — and to kick the can down the road.

A.J. Hinch had similar thoughts, basically just saying what he always does about "getting through today." At some point, considering all the success he had in Houston, you'd think Hinch would want some sense of urgency. This wil be his fourth year in Detroit, and he's done nothing but lose in the first three.

Scott Harris just doesn't get it. The Tigers are tied with the Angels with the longest playoff drought in the majors at nine seasons. It doesn't sound like they have any interest in ending that drought any time soon. This is going to be such a wasted season, and they have nobody to blame but themselves.