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Tigers hire long-time Rays scouting director Rob Metzler

Another key piece of Scott Harris’ developing front office is now in place.

Minnesota Twins vs Tampa Bay Rays, 2011 Spring Training

A day after parting company with David Chadd, the Tigers have scored a big win by hiring long time Tampa Bay Rays scouting director, Rob Metzler. Metzler will join the Tigers as Vice-President and Assistant General Manager, with the main responsibility of developing and leading the new scouting department both nationally and internationally.

Metzler has been with the Rays for 15 years, the last seven as Senior Director of Amateur Scouting. In that role he was in charge of running the Rays’ scouting for the MLB amateur draft. He has a reputation for fusing the best of traditional scouting, video, and data analysis.

Scott Harris had this to say in the team press release for the hiring.

“I am thrilled to add an executive of Rob’s caliber to lead our Amateur and International Scouting departments. Rob’s track record of success with the Rays speaks for itself, and his innovative approach to talent acquisition will help us achieve one of our main goals: to acquire, develop and retain young talent in Detroit.”

Metzler has a physics degree from Bowdoin College, where he also played baseball. He began his career in baseball as an intern with the Boston Red Sox and with Baseball Info Solutions before being hired by the Rays.

“This is a tremendous opportunity and I’m excited to work with Scott and the rest of our baseball operations staff,” said Metzler. “We’re going to hit the ground running to ensure our processes of amateur scouting at both the domestic and international levels are the best they can possibly be, and search for the most comprehensive information possible to help inform our decision making.

The Rays have had a consistently strong and innovative scouting department over the last decade, and we’ve wanted the Tigers to poach front office talent from them for that entire timespan. So, this seems like a pretty optimal hire and a timely one. Scouting is a year round job and getting the new scouting department up and running quickly is important, so it’s good that they’ve got their man before the offseason hits. The Tigers have kept to a traditional in-person scouting department even as they tried to improve in using data and video analysis. It will be interesting to see how Metzler allocates their resources and whether in-person scouting will still be emphasized.