Grading Scott Harris and the Detroit Tigers front office at the season’s midway point

Tigers president Scott Harris, right, looks at his manager A.J. Hinch answer questions during the Detroit Economic Club luncheon at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit on Tuesday, June 13, 2023.
Tigers president Scott Harris, right, looks at his manager A.J. Hinch answer questions during the Detroit Economic Club luncheon at the MotorCity Casino Hotel in Detroit on Tuesday, June 13, 2023. /
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Michael Lorenzen.
Michael Lorenzen. /

Free agency

Harris signed, re-signed or extended four players, all of them pitchers, and again he’s run in to nothing but trouble. Through the season’s first half, only one of the four has produced a positive WAA.

That one is Michael Lorenzen, a free agent who signed with the Tigers in December for $8.5 million. Formerly with Cincinnati and the Angels, Lorenzen is on his way to the kind of season that ought to get him a longer and larger deal from somebody.

He’s only 2-6 with a 4.28 ERA. However, on the Tigers, that’s actually pretty good. So are his 14 starts and team-leading 82 innings of work. Home run have been an issue (he’s thrown 11 of them). But Lorenzen is carrying a +0.2 WAA into the second half, which is something few of his peers can say.

The big signing was expected to be Matthew Boyd, a former Tiger who left as a free agent after the 2021 season, signed with San Francisco, was immediately traded to Seattle, and made only 10 appearances for the Mariners in an injury-shortened 2021.

The homecoming has been bittersweet, also for health reasons. Boyd has made 15 starts with the Tigers, but he’s carrying a 5.45 ERA and last week went on the 60-day IL with an elbow strain. He underwent Tommy John surgery and will not pitch again until at least late in 2024.

Eight 2022 Tigers either walked away as free agents or were jettisoned, the most noteworthy being infielder Jeimer Candelario. He signed with Washington and is having the kind of year his fans in Detroit and before that Chicago have predicted for him for five years.