By all accounts, it was a successful first year for the Detroit Tigers' new President of Baseball Operations, Scott Harris. He took over the team last September and went to work, though much slower than some would have liked. Still, amid a 2-9 start, the Tigers finished the year at 78-84, their best finish since 2016. In his postseason press conference, Harris addressed questions of Eduardo Rodriguez, Austin Meadows, his plans for the offseason, and infrastructure within the organization, all of which should encourage Tigers' fans for 2024 and beyond.
The Detroit Tigers' offseason plans
According to Harris, there are moves that need to be made for the Tigers this offseason, but those moves will not be made in order to block promising young talent. Prospects like Colt Keith and Justin-Henry Malloy all but kicked in the door to the Major Leagues this season, but ultimately never broke through. However, they'll be first in line for the third base, second base, and potentially left field opening that 2024 could offer. Yet, Harris isn't opposed to signing players either, they'll just need to complement the core that's here not create it.
Contractual decisions to make heading into 2024 for Harris
There are really three major question marks for the Tigers heading into 2024: Will Eduardo Rodriguez opt out? Will Javy Baez opt out? and will Austin Meadows be tendered a contract as he continues to battle anxiety?
On E-Rod and Baez:
Harris addressed both opt-outs and basically reiterated that the club's hands were tied. He even mentioned not planning to have any pre-opt-out discussions with E-Rod for potential extension talks. Harris told reporters, “We don't anticipate any conversations prior to their decision. There haven't been any, and I don't plan on having any between now and then.”
On Austin Meadows:
The case for Austin is a tricky one. On the one hand, he's done absolutely nothing for the organization that acquired him two years ago for Isaac Parades; on the other hand, he's battling mental illness and needs as much support as possible. He's due roughly $4 million through arbitration next year and makes a perfect non-tender candidate, though he could be brought back on a minor league deal. Harris acknowledged not having much contact with Meadows but said that reestablishing communication was the priority in October.
Infrastructure changes and upgrades for the Detroit Tigers
The Tigers have been making improvements to their infrastructure at all levels. Some of which won't be seen by fans, but will increase the comfort and ability for players to recover and develop.
One big thing the Tigers have done, according to Harris is purchase land for development in the Dominican Republic, where they will develop a Tigers Academy and should bolster their ability to compete in the international markets during free agency periods.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Scott Harris, President of Baseball Operations for the Detroit Tigers, concludes a successful first year with the team.
- Harris discusses the Tigers' 2024 season aspirations, emphasizing the balance between developing young talents and strategic signings to complement the core.
- Key contractual decisions await resolution, including those of Eduardo Rodriguez, Javy Baez, and Austin Meadows.
- Infrastructure upgrades, including the establishment of a Tigers Academy in the Dominican Republic, are part of the team's investment in player development.