The Tigers have hired former big league first baseman Ryan Garko as their new vice president of player development, per a club announcement. He’d spent the past two seasons with the Angels’ coaching staff as an instant replay coordinator and working to integrate information from the club’s analytics department into the clubhouse and dugout.
Garko, 40, was the 78th overall draft pick by the Indians back in 2003 and spent parts of six seasons in the Majors, batting a combined .275/.347/.434 with 55 home runs, 75 doubles and three triples in 1752 plate appearances. He spent the 2011 season playing with the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization, and since retiring he’s managed the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate and coached in the college ranks at the University of the Pacific and at Stanford.
Garko’s hiring comes just a few weeks after some changes in the Tigers’ front office were announced. Former VP of player development Dave Littlefield, who has been with the club since 2014, moved into a new role as a special assignment scout. Littlefield, who was the Pirates’ general manager from 2001-07, has spent three decades working in baseball operations, dating back to his time as a scout with the Expos in 1991.
The Tigers also recently announced a pair of key front office promotions, as director of baseball ops and pro scouting Sam Menzin and senior director of baseball analytics Jay Sartori were both named vice president/assistant general manager. Menzin, 31, began his baseball career as an intern with the Tigers and had held his previous title for the past four seasons. Sartori, 42, has spent the past six years building and overseeing the Tigers’ analytics department. He’s previously served as the Nationals’ director of baseball operations and spent three years as an assistant general manager with the Blue Jays as well.