The Tigers have a new general manager to work under president of baseball operations Scott Harris. Jeff Greenberg, whose career in sports includes 11 seasons in the Cubs front office and the past 16 months as associate GM with the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, has been named the 20th GM in the Tigers’ history.
Greenberg will be formally introduced at a press conference next Tuesday at Comerica Park. His hire ends a GM search that began shortly after Harris’ hire and had stops and starts over the past year.
“I’m thrilled to add an executive of Jeff’s quality to our baseball operations leadership team,” Harris said in a press release. “Throughout this search, it was important for me to find someone who can fit seamlessly into the culture we’re building here. I also wanted to bring in someone with a fresh perspective and new ideas that could challenge us on a daily basis and make us all better as we strive towards our goal of bringing postseason baseball back to Detroit. We’re excited to welcome Jeff, his wife, Erin, and their sons, Leo and Sam, to the Tigers family.”
Greenberg, the son of former Texas Rangers managing partner Chuck Greenberg, and Harris rose through the Cubs organization around the same time. The 37-year-old followed a similar path out of Columbia Law School, serving as director of baseball operations, director of pro scouting, assistant to the GM and associate GM. Like Harris, he played a role building scouting strategies and data systems in the Cubs’ buildup to their 2016 World Series title, eventually overseeing player transactions and day-to-day roster moves.
Greenberg spent three years as assistant GM with the Cubs under Jed Hoyer and Carter Hawkins before jumping to the Blackhawks, with whom he oversaw strategic systems and processes while working to help modernize hockey operations.
Greenberg interned with his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates while studying at Penn, then interned with the D-backs and Major League Baseball during his studies at Columbia. From there, he joined Theo Epstein and Hoyer with the Cubs.
“I went to law school knowing I wanted to try to work in baseball,” Greenberg said last year in a story for the Columbia Law School website. “I was lucky enough to get two summer internships for the Pittsburgh Pirates when I was an undergrad, and it took me, like, three days to realize, ‘This is what I want to do.’ This was in 2006, and Michael Lewis’ Moneyball had been published a few years before. There were all these new ideas out there; Theo Epstein had won a World Series in Boston by incorporating a data analytics approach to managing the Red Sox. So it felt like there could be opportunities for individuals like me, who didn’t necessarily play professional baseball, in a team’s front office. But it also felt like having legal training and that analytical skill set could be really useful.”
"We're not just adding somebody, we're adding somebody of Jeff's caliber," said Tigers manager A.J. Hinch. "I had a chance to meet him and say hello, talk a little shop with him. We hadn't crossed paths before, so it was good to get to know him a little bit. He's got a lot to offer.
"I'm looking forward to working with him and learning a lot from him on how he can contribute to what we all want, which is to build a winner."
Hinch also spoke to Greenberg's background in multiple sports, and how that could come into play in his new role with Detroit.
"I think, from a competitive standpoint, we're all trying to find the best way to lead to wins," said Hinch. "Someone who's seen it from multiple angles in multiple sports, that has to be valuable in the process."
“It’s an extraordinary honor to take on this role with one of the most historic franchises in Major League Baseball,” Greenberg said in a release. “Throughout my conversations with Scott, Chris Ilitch and the rest of the team with the Tigers, it became clear that this organization is headed in a great direction with an incredible culture of development and innovation that I’m excited to be part of. Another constant message in those conversations was that Tigers fans want to see winning baseball deep into October. I’m excited to get to work with our front office on offseason and longer-term plans to make that our reality.”