On Monday afternoon, ESPN’s Jeff Bassan reported that the Detroit Tigers are set to hire Scott Harris as their new chief of baseball operations. Harris, a veteran of Theo Epstein’s World Series winning mentality with the Chicago Cubs in 2016, has been the San Francisco Giants’ general manager under their head of baseball operations, Farhan Zaidi for the past three seasons.
Don’t get lost in the titles. Harris would hold the same influence over all of the baseball decisions made by former GM Al Avila. He might even get the marks of the general manager and the chief of baseball operations together by the time the Tigers are ready to announce the hire. The different front office organizational structures around the game have become exponentially more complex over the past decade as different departments and specializations have been added. In San Francisco, the role of general manager was under Al-Zaidi as head of baseball operations. So, if Chris Illich decides to have two different positions and make someone the general manager, that person will be under Harris, or they might just collect the titles.
Writing about who should be the next General Manager of the Tigers was really difficult, and no one at any time could hope for an exhaustive list of top potential candidates. Harris wasn’t likely to leave San Francisco, as he reportedly turned down the New York Mets last year, which is part of the reason he hasn’t made any of the notable rosters of nominees produced by National Baseball Writers.
However, the initial feedback was very positive, if not totally surprised, that the Tigers had landed Harris, and that the Giants didn’t beat their bid to hold it. It’s hard to rate from the outside, but Harris is very young and has quickly progressed to the top of the sport with two very good organizations.
Sources told ESPN that the Detroit Tigers are appointing San Francisco Giants general manager Scott Harris as the new chief of baseball operations. Harris’ rise in the industry was meteoric and he was seen as a future front office star. Now he will run the show in Detroit.
– Jeff Passan September 19, 2022
Harris joined the Giants in 2019, having worked in the Cubs baseball operations division for seven seasons. His initial work in baseball was actually for the MLB itself as the Major League Operations Coordinator providing support and analysis to teams involved in the trade and managing the league’s research projects.
With the Cubs, Harris was involved in every kind of player assessment and acquisition. He advanced to the assistant general manager of his time in the organization, and also headed up research and development departments along the way, before taking the next step in his infiltration arrangement with the Giants.
The urgent need for tigers is player evaluation and acquisition at all levels. They have the head of player development in place. What they need to do is improve finding talent in careers, free agency, amateur drafts, and business. Harris looks like a rising star with those specific disciplines and experience with some of the game’s best minds in both the Cubs and Giants front offices.
There doesn’t appear to be any special ties to manager AJ Hinch, which is a plus. His experience and rising star seem to bode well with this decision. Beyond that, we have to wait and see how it goes.
The 35-year-old, California-born Harris holds an MBA from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, a BA in Economics from the University of California, and also taught at the London School of Economics.
sahadev sharma Wrote a good profile on Harris For The Athletic back in 2018 if you’d like to hear more. In the meantime, we have to wait for the Tigers’ announcement and introductory press conference.