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Detroit Tigers introduce Scott Harris as president of baseball operations

(CBS DETROIT) - More than a month after the firing of Al Avila, the Detroit Tigers have a new man in charge.

On Monday, the Tigers named Scott Harris as the club's president of baseball operations. He was formally introduced Tuesday alongside Tigers Chairman and CEO Chris Illitch and President and CEO of Illitch Holdings Chris McGowan. 

Harris spent the last three seasons as general manager for the San Francisco Giants. Under Harris, the team posted a 205-163 record, including a 107-55 finish in 2021 which double-dipped as both champions of the National League West Division and the best regular season record in franchise history. 

Prior to his time in San Francisco, Harris spent seven years working in the Chicago Cubs' baseball operations department where he contributed to potential player acquisitions, as well as overseeing a variety of departments. 

Now, Harris has some big shoes to fill, with even bigger expectations. Fortunately, he broke down his vision into what he describes as three main concepts.

"We need to acquire develop and retain young players," he said.

"It's not a unique strategy most organizations in baseball are trying to do that, but it's exceptionally important for us and we need to absolutely lean into that over the next few years."

Harris rounded out his vision with a focus on player development, as well as the impact of the strike zone and how it affects everything that happens on the baseball field. 

"It dictates pitch counts, it dictates count leverage, it dictates length of inning, dictates the load you're putting on the pitcher's body and how many pitchers you're going to have to use throughout a series," Harris said.

In the short term, Harris' biggest task is taking the necessary steps to bring winning baseball back to Detroit. He's not burdened by having to trade away veteran players at the trade deadline or signing free agents only to flip them for prospects or cash considerations six months later. Instead, he's inheriting a young, inexperienced group that was in dire need of some front office changes and a sense of direction.

The good news: much of what Harris said at the press conference should resonate well with Tigers fans, as he is promising change as soon as this winter.

"We treat this as again an opportunity to get better this winter. We're going to make a lot of moves, and a lot of those moves are going to have strong conviction and confidence behind them," he said. "Some of those moves are going to be calculated risks. We have to take calculated risks in this organization to narrow the gap between this organization and the other organizations we're chasing right now. That's an opportunity for us to narrow that gap, and I know that when we go into this winter, we're not going to be risk-averse we can't be risk-averse."

In the meantime, Harris said all the right things, and Illitch speaks highly of the new man in charge, but all season long, the team has suffered dozens of injuries, failed to meet expectations and is nearing a 100-loss season.

If he can execute on his word, winning baseball in Detroit may soon be a reality with a core group of young talent waiting to explode. But it will take more than trades and free agent signings to bring lasting change in Detroit.


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