With the Detroit Tigers and their fanbase still reeling from the sudden dismissal of former president and general manager Dave Dombrowski earlier this week, the new Tigers brass has started to fill in the gaps. On Friday, general manager Al Avila promoted David Chadd to the assistant general manager position, the role that Avila filled when Dombrowski was in charge. Scott Bream, John Westhoff, and Sam Menzin were also among the announced front office promotions.
Chadd, formerly the vice president of amateur scouting, has often been maligned by the Tigers fanbase for his MLB draft strategy. The Tigers have produced few homegrown talents in recent years, though Dombrowski's wheeling-and-dealing strategy is also to blame for a shallow farm system. Chadd began his MLB career with the Florida Marlins in the 1990s, and worked his way up through the system to become their amateur scouting director. He worked for the Boston Red Sox from 2002 to 2004, where he was responsible for drafting Jon Lester, Jonathan Papelbon, and Dustin Pedroia, among others. He joined the Tigers in 2005.
Bream, the former director of professional scouting, was promoted to vice president of player personnel. Bream worked for the Tigers from 1999 to 2010, briefly serving in an assistant general manager role in 2002. Bream left the organization to work for the San Diego Padres for two seasons, but returned to Detroit prior to the 2013 season. Bream also spent three years as a player in the Tigers' farm system, including a 30-game stint with the Toledo Mud Hens in 1997.
Westhoff was also named an assistant general manager, adding to his current title of vice president and baseball legal counsel. Westhoff is largely responsible for contract negotiations and other legal matters in the Tigers front office. Westhoff, who worked under Dombrowski for a short period in Florida, has been with the Tigers since 2002.
Menzin, the youngest of the group, ascends to the director of baseball operations position formerly held by Mike Smith, a close friend of Avila's who recently left the organization. Menzin was formerly a research analyst with the team for three seasons, and represents the sabermetric side of the organization. He has previously published work at FanGraphs, and speaks highly of Michael Lewis' Moneyball. (In other words, he's one of us.)
The Tigers have not announced who will fill the roles vacated by these individuals, namely Chadd's successor as the head of amateur scouting. Lynn Henning of The Detroit News notes that Scott Pleis, Chadd's top assistant, was not promoted, but it is still too early to read into any procedural moves at the lower levels.
The organization's impending roster moves will be heavily scrutinized as we watch the front office settle into place, as will next year's amateur draft, where the Tigers are likely to have their highest draft pick since selecting Jacob Turner ninth overall in 2009. Even with the personnel shuffle, the organization's focus -- be it more sabermetrically inclined, building from within, or continuing with their pedal-to-the-metal strategy -- will determine how this team looks in 2016 far more than the staff's job titles.