Headed in the wrong direction since 2014 (and arguably before then, too), the Detroit Tigers gained some momentum on Monday afternoon when they hired Scott Harris of the San Francisco Giants (formerly of the near-dynastic Chicago Cubs) to lead their efforts as the President of Baseball Operations.
The Dodgers? While they’re obviously saying good riddance as a top-tier baseball mind excuses himself from the NL West, it’s likely Andrew Friedman is doubly thanking his lucky stars as the postseason approaches.
Not only is Giants exec (and former Dodgers thoughtleader) Farhan Zaidi witnessing his first-ever “winning team brain drain,” but Friedman nearly lost one of his most trustworthy lieutenants to the tempting (?) Tigers position.
Dodgers senior vice president Josh Byrnes was reportedly in contention for the Tigers job, as he has been for what feels like the past 800 front office hiring cycles. Luckily for LA, either Byrnes balked or he knows not to go where he’s not wanted. Friedman wins again and maintains continuity, while the Giants — not quite the same as they were in 2021 this season anyway — re-enter Scramble Mode.
Tigers steal Giants’ Scott Harris to lead front office, NOT Andrew Friedman’s top assistant
In case you don’t know “Scramble Mode,” it’s not quite “Panic Mode,” but … there’s scramblin’!
The 107-win Giants set the blueprint for turning nothing into something last summer, and it seems Detroit is interested in replicating their methodology with AJ Hinch at the helm. Free agent spending didn’t work this offseason, after all, when Eduardo Rodriguez and Javier Báez both turned out to be two of the worst additions made by any team this past winter. Maybe player development and unearthing hidden gems will be a better idea?
Now, it’ll be up to Harris to be a culture-changer in Motown, tasked with turning around the stalled careers of top prospects Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, as well as surrounding them with 12-14 players of similar caliber.
MLB executive Theo Epstein, who joined the home office after years of kickstarting title runs in Boston and Chicago, had nothing but incredible things to say about Harris on Monday, who — we cannot stress this enough — will no longer be affiliated with the San Francisco Giants.
In 2023, it’ll be Zaidi’s job to stick to the formula and find a happy medium between his previous two seasons.
And in 2023, it’ll once again be Byrnes and Friedman’s job to maintain their status quo. No need to change a thing. That’s always the better place to be.