Detroit Tigers' POBO Scott Harris didn't inspire a whole lot of confidence at the Winter Meetings
Detroit Tigers' president of baseball operations Scott Harris spoke to the media last night at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. Among the things he talked about were his continued preach of developing a culture of development.
He is correct in this. The Detroit Tigers have been awful at player development for a while now, especially at the big league level. There's no question they need to get better there, and they've shown they're willing to do that with the recent coaching staff hires.
Preaching player development is great. But what about this other thing that the Detroit Tigers have been pretty bad at in recent years—you know, winning?
Here is the full statement from Harris, per Evan Woodberry of MLive:
Giving at-bats to young players is great, but here's the problem: the Tigers don't have enough young talent (at least not yet) that are ready for big-league at-bats. Other than Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, who both need to show improvement in 2023, the Tigers don't have a lot of young talent on the position player side of things.
This roster still has massive holes at third base and in the outfield. The Tigers don't have enough quality big league talent internally to fill those holes. That means you have to look outside the organization. Sign free agents, make some trades. Spend money.
We went through the whole "giving young players at-bats" thing from 2017-21, and other than a few exceptions, how did that work out? You can't keep doing this if you're serious about winning.
Which brings me to my main point. I'm not sure this new regime is serious about winning. I thought Harris and A.J. Hinch came here to win. Again, this roster has massive holes. You can't be content with young, unproven players. We just got done trying this and it didn't work out. Torkelson had a horrible rookie season, and Greene was pretty pedestrian. You can't keep putting so much pressure on them.
Instead, you need to surround them with actual, proven major-league talent. They tried this last offseason and it didn't work out. But that doesn't mean you don't stop trying. It's time for this organization to start acting like a big-boy franchise.
Go out and spend some money. They have the payroll. They could get to $200 million in player salaries for 2023 and still be comfortably under the luxury tax threshold. That would be A LOT of money to spend in one offseason, but it just proves how much payroll room the Tigers have.
You can't sell another rebuild to this fanbase. We just went through six years of losing, we're not going to put up with 3-5 more. It's time to get serious.
Now I can't sit here and put all the blame on Harris and Avila before him. Since they're basically touting the same message, it's safe to blame the man in charge: Chris Ilitch. I'll say it once again, he does not care about this team. His family is the fourth-richest ownership group in the league and the Detroit Tigers' payroll has consistently ranked in the bottom half of the league since he took over control of the team. His father is rolling in his grave.
You can't sell a culture of development if you don't first sell a culture of winning. You need proven veterans around your young players if you want to win. I was sold on this regime before. Now, not so much. There's still most of the offseason still to come, but I'm officially worred about the future of the Detroit Tigers.