Matthew Boyd has high praise for new Tigers boss Scott Harris

Detroit News

Seattle — The conversation was just about over when Matthew Boyd just casually, apropos of nothing, “You guys are going to love Scott.”

Huh? Oh, that’s right. Tigers’ new president of baseball operations Scott Harris was the man who signed Boyd, whom the Tigers non-tendered and released after the 2021 season, to a $5.5 million deal with the Giants last offseason, even though he was recovering from flexor tendon surgery and wouldn’t ready to pitch until maybe late July or August.

“He’s really good at what he does,” Boyd said Monday. “His attention to detail is amazing. The conversations we had in the clubhouse — he’s just so in tune with everything. He knows what’s going on. He’s going to be great for the Tigers.

“He finds a way to get wins in every aspect of the ballclub and make it a well-tuned machine. I am looking forward to seeing what he’s going to do there.”

Harris built his reputation in San Francisco on identifying and quickly rehabilitating pitchers coming off injury or bad seasons. Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani, Logan Webb and Alex Wood fit that mold. He saw Boyd as a similar candidate.

“They sold me on what their vision for me was,” Boyd said. “I was really excited. From my first conversations with Scott and Kap (Giants manager Gabe Kapler). I owe those guys. Those four months, from mid-March to Aug. 1, they poured everything they had into me. I owe them a ton. I am so grateful for the opportunity Scott gave me.”

When it became clear the Giants weren’t going to make the playoffs, Harris and the Giants did Boyd another favor — they traded him to his hometown team, the Mariners.

And there he was last Friday, unable to contain his emotions as the Mariners celebrated their first playoff berth in 21 years.

“Living a dream, without a doubt,” he said. “It was just thinking about everything, about how bad these last seven years were. In 2016 we came up a game short (of a wild card spot) in Atlanta and how bad we wanted it and believing we were going to get it the next year and that not happening.”

It didn’t happen in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and then last year Boyd strained his flexor tendon, had surgery and was released.

“That was like, ‘Oh, wow,’” he said. “You see that side of it and you go, OK, what now? And then I signed with San Francisco — what a blessing. And that led to being traded here. Just growing up watching this team. It all just hit me, you know?

“That I get to do this special thing and be a part of this. I just thought about what it meant to me as a guy who grew up here and what it probably means to all the other kids here. Just crazy.”

Boyd has pitched in nine games with the Mariners, allowing two runs in 10⅓ innings. He’s still working out some kinks — as the seven walks will attest — but he is expected be a multi-inning option for Seattle in the postseason.

“It’s been a long year,” Boyd said. “Since last June (when he had the surgery), I felt like I was just on the cusp of picking up where I left off in 2019. I was just starting to put it together. But I know what I’m capable of. My best years are ahead of me.

“I feel like my career is just getting started. This is just the beginning.”

Decision looming

It will come down to money. It always does. Money and years. But going into the offseason, Tigers lefty reliever Andrew Chafin is in a favorable situation heading into 2023, his age-33 season.

He has a player option to stay with the Tigers and make $6.5 million, plus a $500,000 signing bonus, next year. Or he can opt out and test the free agent market if he feels he can get a better deal.

“There’s no point in jumping to any conclusions with this,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of time before a decision has to be made one way or another. Right now I’m just going to focus on this last series, then get home and unwind a little bit.

“Then we will put some information together and try to make the best decision we can.”

Chafin performed as advertised. He was reliable and effective in a variety of roles out of the Tigers’ bullpen. With four games left, he’s pitched 56 innings in 62 games, posting a 2.89 ERA with 19 holds and allowing just five of 34 inherited runners to score.

“It could’ve been better, but all in all I wasn’t terrible, I guess,” he said. “But if you are ever actually happy with the numbers you put up, you aren’t doing something right. No matter how good you do, there’s some things you can improve on. There’s definitely room for me to get better for next year.”

Record aside, Chafin said he enjoyed his first season in Detroit.

“Yeah, outside the record, I had a blast playing here,” he said. “It’s a great group of guys. I enjoyed the staff. This team has taken good care of me. In that regard, it’s been a great experience. I have no complaints about that.”

Chafin also loved being so close to his farm and family in central Ohio and he said he was encouraged after meeting Harris.

“It was very convenient being as close to home as I was,” Chafin said. “That’s something that will definitely be a factor in (his decision). Being able to be this close to my family is fantastic.”

As for Harris, Chafin said: “The little conversations that have been had here so far peaked my interest, if you will. I think things will be trending in the right direction here. So that’s something to look forward to for this team for next season.”

Around the horn

Tigers injured lefty starter Tarik Skubal made the trip to be with the team in Seattle. The Arizona native played collegiately at Seattle University.

“We miss him and he misses us,” manager AJ Hinch said. “He is such a big part of our culture. We miss him on the field, obviously.”

Hinch said the Tigers’ medical personnel were able to meet with him and assess his progress (from flexor tendon surgery).

“Doug (Teter, head athletic trainer) told me Tarik was in a really good place,” Hinch said.

… Reliever Alex Lange earned his seventh win Sunday, with his tied for third among relievers in the American League and fifth in baseball. He has not allowed a run in 13 straight appearances, covering 11⅓ innings. That the longest scoreless streak of his career.

Twitter: @cmccosky

Tigers at Mariners

First pitch: 6:10 p.m. Tuesday (Game 1 of straight doubleheader), T-Mobile Park, Seattle

TV/radio: BSD/97.1



LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (5-5, 4.02), Tigers: He will end up with 17 starts in what was a broken first season with the Tigers. The positive is, he’s shown in his last three starts just how good he can be going forward. He’s allowed five earned runs in his last 19 innings, holding hitters to a .211 batting average and .310 slugging percentage.

LHP Marco Gonzales (10-15, 4.14), Mariners: Ever the workhorse, this will be his 32nd start and yet, it is unclear if he has a place in the Mariners’ postseason plans. His last three starts have been rough, allowing 12 earned runs (six homers) in 16⅓ innings, with opponents slugging .594 with a .928 OPS.


TBA, Tigers: The Tigers will use several relievers to cover these nine innings. Expect rookie Elvin Rodriguez, as the 29th man, to pitch multiple innings.

RHP Chris Flexen (8-9, 3.64), Mariners: This is setting up as a bullpen game for the Mariners, too. Flexen’s last 11 outings have been out of the bullpen. He hasn’t started since Aug. 6. Right-handed hitters have been doing a lot of damage against him, hitting .278 (lefties .213).

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