The news came on Monday afternoon, seemingly out of nowhere. The tigersThe search for a new leader is complete. They hired Scott Harris – the former general manager of San Francisco Giants – As head of baseball operations.
Harris will be officially presented at a press conference Tuesday afternoon in Detroit.
We’ll be talking about Harris for the rest of this season and probably all fall and winter as well. For now, there are some ideas scattered about renting and where the tigers go from here.
On paper, this sounds like a good hire. The key word, of course, is “seem”. Harris checks all the boxes to see what the Tigers were looking for in a general manager: creative, ambitious, a history of working in winning front offices, a willingness to analyzes and player development. However, Harris is 36 years old, still pretty young in the game. Worked under executives such as Theo Epstein with Cubs Farhan Zaidi with the giants. Harris has no apparent connection to manager AJ Hinch, so there can be no accusations of the Tigers simply having a friend of the manager. In an ideal world, Harris and Hinch could form a new partnership to help push the Tigers forward.
One league source provided a simple rental review: “A-plus.”
Harris was a trainee with Citizens In 2008 and reds In 2010. Then he spent two years working MLB As coordinator of major league operations. Biography of Giants Per Harris, and his time with the MLB included work on “transaction support and analysis for all 30 clubs and … first-year player draft, base 5 draft, World Baseball Classic and various industry studies.”
Harris joined Cubs’ front office at just 25 years old as Director of Baseball Operations. He was promoted to Assistant GM in 2018. In Chicago, Harris worked “assisting with all potential player acquisitions, contracts and commercial negotiations, and player evaluations while overseeing several departments including research, development and high performance.”
This work in R&D and high performance (mainly biomechanics and sports science) may have made Harris very attractive to Tigers.
Scott Harris Education
the athleteSahadev Sharma wrote an adorable Harris profile in 2018. One tale told: Harris—who has an economics degree from the University of California—spent one spring internship on a red-eye flight every Saturday from Phoenix to Chicago. He’s been taking business school classes this weekend in Northwestern, and he’ll be back in Arizona on Sunday with red eyes to resume his work with the Cubs.
“He’s really smart and hardworking,” Epstein said at the time. “He’s got a strong, distinguished executive background. But you wouldn’t know by hanging around him. He’s not one of those guys who tells you where he got his degree from, that he went to business school, that he worked in the commissioner’s office, that he knows the rules better than you.”
“He’s really easy to get on with, people love being around him and he just makes the group better by being a great team player. That’s so important. And it goes a long way. Especially if you’re going to move fast at a young age. People can get jealous of that and look for ways To irritate them. But it’s hard to find a way for Scott Harris to irritate anyone.”
Read the rest of Sharma’s profile over here.
Here’s another in depth (and hilarious) interview with harris From the athleteJohn Greenberg in 2017. In addition to being a skillful baseball mind, Harris is the man who had Epstein eat cake in the executive box, hoping to help ignite the Cubs rally during the 2016 race.
what did he do?
It’s always hard to know exactly what to get into a PBO for the first time. Giving a chance to rise is how stars like John Daniels and Epstein have made their mark in the game. Everyone has to start somewhere. So far, it’s worked out well with the likes of Zaidi, who previously worked under Andrew Friedman in Los Angeles.
Harris has pretty much everything you could want on paper – the experience of building a World Championship winner in Chicago, an understanding of analytics and player development, and experience in another forward-thinking front office. But what movements did he actually have his fingerprints on? Hard to tell from the outside. While another candidate is rumored in Josh Burns from Dodgers He could have been in his third job at GM after two previous stints ended with his dismissal, Harris getting a blank slate and a chance to prove what he’s up to. He has the right qualifications for this opportunity.
The Tigers conducted an unusually quiet search for GM, with many whispers circulating but virtually no confirmed reports of other candidates who might have been interviewed for the job. Burns, Dana Brown from braveMatt Slater from basics And the Diamondbacks Special Assistant Jason MacLeod is among the names that have appeared in conversations throughout the league. But Tigers CEO and Chairman Chris Illich maintains a well-known small circle, and Harris’ announcement on Monday was largely a surprise.
Will there be a GM hire, too?
This is perhaps the biggest unanswered question yet. It remains unclear if the Tigers will hire someone with the title of general manager to work under Harris. In the Tigers press release, Harris was introduced as the “Chief of Baseball Operations.” Note Al Avila was previously named “Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager.”
As of Monday evening, it wasn’t clear if another announcement was coming, but the lack of a GM title seems clear. Current assistant GM Sam Menzin could be naturally a good fit for the promotion, or Harris could also seek to bring in his GM if the Tigers wish to set up 1-2. Such structures are increasingly prevalent in the game; Harris was the general manager of Zeddy, Brandon Gomez works under Friedman in Los Angeles, and Matt Arnold works under David Stearns in Milwaukee, to name a few. But it’s entirely possible that the Tigers would work without the traditional GM in the title.
Regardless of how the front office restructuring moves forward (with changes to the amateur survey division being an area to watch closely), it’s clear that Harris will be the man with the last word in the direction of the franchise.
(Top photo: Eric Riesberg/The Associated Press)