Tigers lose top scout Mike Russell to Diamondbacks

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The Tigers could lose impending free agents Max Scherzer and Victor Martinez this offseason, but there’s also this: Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that Tigers top scout Mike Russell has accepted a job with the Diamondbacks, where he’ll serve as a special assistant to new senior VP of baseball operations De Jon Watson.

Russell has worked for Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski dating back to 1996 with the Marlins. He followed Dombrowksi to Detroit in 2002 as a major league scout and was a major factor in the team’s sustained run of success. Most notably, Russell did background work to acquire Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins in December of 2007. He was inducted into the Professional Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame last year.

Watson also worked under Dombrowski in the mid-90s with the Marlins, so Russell jumped at the opportunity to reunite with a familiar face while coordinating the Diamondbacks’ pro scouting department.

“I’m really excited about it,” Russell said. “It was nothing negative. It was just a promotion and a chance to go help a friend.”

Dombrowski said this morning that he is working on hiring Russell’s replacement, but Beck speculates that one possibility could be former Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield. He was a major league scout with the Cubs this season.