Scott Harris finally takes a calculated risk with Colt Keith extension

Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris talks about the future of the team
Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations Scott Harris talks about the future of the team / Kimberly P. Mitchell / USA TODAY NETWORK

Scott Harris has been the Detroit Tigers president of baseball operations for about a year and a half. One of the main points of his introductory press conference was that the team was going to start taking some calcuated risks under his leadership. Through roughly two offseasons and a whole regular season, we had barely seen any risk at all, let alone a calculated risk. That was, until Sunday morning.

The Tigers signed Colt Keith to an extension before he even took an at-bat in the majors, all but guarenteeing that he makes the Tigers Opening Day roster in 2024. It shows just how much confidence the Tigers have in Keith.

The Tigers essentially have team control over Colt Keith for the next nine (!!!) years — six years for the original contract, and three years of club options. They have a potential all-star infielder locked up for almost a decade. That's huge.

Something to note here is that the Tigers didn't do this all willy-nilly. Every team has their own projections of players and prospects. If the Tigers didn't have a favorable projection of Keith, they wouldn't have offered him this deal. They would have either waited to see how he handles the big leagues, or just not offer him an extension at all.

This move does not come without risk. Keith could simply flame out for whatever reason, whether it be injuries, underperformance, or otherwise. But for what Keith is making over the next six years — $2.5 million in 2024, $3.5M in 2025, $4M from 2026-27, and $5M from 2028-29 — the organization thought it was worth the risk. That's what this is. A calculated risk.

Harris finally came through with that promise. We've waited so long for him follow through on that. All of these waiver claims and short-term deals do nothing to move the needle for this franchise. But this? This is monumental. This is a move for both the present and the future.

A fair question to ask is why would Keith take this deal? What's in it for him? After all, he won't be making very much at all in terms of what he could be worth until the club options kick in six years down the line.

Well, instead of making the league minimum, he's making over double that right off the bat. Then, he'll be making more than triple the league minimum. Then quadruple. Then he won't have to go through the arbitration process. He just saved himself a few headaches down the line. And again, he also virtually guarenteed himself a spot on the Opening Day roster this season.

Could he have had made more money down the line in free agency? Absolutely. But nothing is certain in this business. Like I said earlier, he could end up flaming out for one reason or another. This is a calculated risk on his end as well.

This is a huge day, not just for Keith himself, but for the Detroit Tigers organization. This is by far the most forward-thinking move this team has ever done. This is something teams like the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays have been doing for years. Now, the Tigers can fancy themselves as modern, forward thinking organization — and they can actually back it up.