The Detroit Tigers are set to hire San Francisco Giants general manager Scott Harris as their new president of baseball operations, the club announced on Monday. Harris, 35, will replace the recently fired Al Avila as the Tigers’ top baseball decision-maker. Avila, who had served as the Tigers GM since August of 2015, was let go in August after offseason efforts to build a contending roster yielded little in the way of results.
Harris had been in his third season as GM of the Giants under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Prior to joining the Giants, Harris worked for seven years in baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs. He started out as director of baseball operations with the Cubs under Theo Epstein and eventually rose to the position of assistant general manager.
Harris in Detroit will inherit a Tigers organization that floundered under Avila. When Avila took over, he was tasked with rebuilding the young talent base after years of contention under Dave Dombrowski. Under Avila, the Tigers won 86 games in 2016 but went 64-98 each of the following two seasons before bottoming out at 47-114 in 2019. In the abbreviated 2020 season, Detroit won at a disappointing .397 clip and went 77-85 in 2021. This season, the Tigers (now 55-91) were 43-68 at the time of Avila’s dismissal.
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While there’s some promising young talent on hand — Spencer Torkelson, Riley Greene, Casey Mize, and Tarik Skubal, for instance — many of the Tigers’ top prospects have failed to realize their promise at the highest level. As such, Harris may need to overhaul the player-development apparatus in addition to the roster.
Likely, Harris as president of baseball operations will eventually hire a GM to help with the decision-making process, and that could happen before the offseason.