Thursday, October 15, 2009

Getting It Right

Rumor here, hearsay there, people constantly speculate all the time about what Our Washington Nationals will do next. Unsubstantiated information about who will come onboard in the latest House Cleaning by Our New GM. Yet, the scuttlebutt has been wrong nearly every step of the way. What has become clear is that Mike Rizzo does his work thoroughly, and quietly, behind the scenes. No one pushes him to a rushed decision. No rampant gossip spread across any or all media sources will change his way.

Love that. "Riz" is his own guy.

Just look at the official hires today by Our Washington Nationals in Baseball Operations:

Roy Clark--Vice President of Player Personnel.

Johnny DiPuglia--Director of Latin American Operations.

And Doug Harris--Director of Scouting.

No one caught wind of these job hires until a deal was struck. The fact Mr. Rizzo was able to pull in front office talent from The Atlanta Braves (Clark), The Boston Red Sox (DiPuglia) and The Cleveland Indians--via Texas Rangers (Harris) speaks volumes about the respect Our New GM has in the game. There are no retreads here folks. These three all have been successful in their fields. And each brings a new element to finding and harnessing talent for Our Washington Nationals. Having never heard of any of these three beforehand, it's clear their resumes are solid. Aptitude is high on this list, not just flair--always present when Jim Bowden was Our General Manager.

Remember all the babble that Mr. Rizzo was going to be let go, two days before he was given the permanent GM Job in August? How wrong was the mainstream media then? And now, more times than not since Mike Rizzo took charge of Baseball Operation those heard through the gravpevine stories have again been nothing short of fiction. You have to laugh at that stuff because unless you are inside the walls of the Front Office of Our Washington Nationals, you are definitely not in the loop about what's going on.

That's a good thing because instead of the word being out first (as is so important in the media), Sohna and I would just rather see Our Washington Nationals GET IT RIGHT.

Today's Official Press Release depicts a fresh outlook for Our Washington Nationals. A franchise finding it's feet, moving forward, and clearly having enough promise to pull scouting and development front office capability from three of the more established teams in the game. That's respect shown, both for Mike Rizzo and D.C's Major League Franchise.

PS--Personally, we want to wish the best to Dana Brown--leaving Washington as Director of Scouting to become a Special Assistant to The New General Manager of The Toronto Blue Jays. A role which Kris Kline was promoted to in DC to take over for Brown. Few people could have done as good of a job as Scouting Director for The Montreal Expos and Our Washington Nationals under orphan ownership as Dana Brown did. Tirelessly, this man worked under very limited budgets and restraints but still was able to do pretty well in getting Major League Talent to the field for the Montreal/Washington Franchise. Just browse's Amateur Draft Summaries--especially those guys picked by Other Teams AFTER Montreal/Washington chose their player in each round. You could quibble over a few guys--Andre Ethier was available in the 2nd round of 2003 when Montreal chose Jerry Owens (Outfielder)--but The Florida Marlins chose Logan Kensing right before Ethier was picked by The Oakland Athletics too. And Justin Pedroia was available in the 2nd round of 2004 after The Expos chose catcher Erick San Pedro 11 picks earlier.

The Amateur Draft is a crap shoot and Dana Brown rolled some pretty solid dice for the Montreal/Washington Franchise when not only the house odds, but the league odds were far against him. Good luck in Toronto Dana--Sohna and I hope all your dreams come true.

Finally, today's Official Press Release announcing Washington's three new hirings and one promotion in Baseball Operations.


The Washington Nationals today named Roy Clark Vice President of Player Personnel, Johnny DiPuglia Director of Latin American Operations and Doug Harris Director of Player Development. The Nationals also promoted Kris Kline to Director of Scouting. Nationals Senior Vice President and General Manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.

Clark joins the Nationals after an impressive 11-year run as Director of Scouting with the Atlanta Braves. Clark joined the Braves as an area scout in 1989, and he later enjoyed successive stints as Atlanta’s southeast supervisor (1995) and national supervisor (1996-99). His efforts helped the Braves earn Baseball America’s prestigious Organization of the Year award three times (1991, 1996, 2005) and USA Today’s Organization of the Year citation in 1996. Clark sports a World Series ring from the Braves’ 1995 World Championship campaign.

Clark is best known for having procured talents such as catcher Brian McCann, right-handed pitcher Tommy Hanson, right-handed pitcher Adam Wainwright, shortstop Yunel Escobar, right-handed pitcher Joey Devine, right-handed pitcher Kevin Millwood, catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia and outfielder Jeff Francoeur for the Braves. Meanwhile, Braves minor-league outfielder Jason Heyward was recently cited as Baseball America’s 2009 Minor League Player of the Year and is regarded by many as baseball’s top prospect among position players.

DiPuglia joins his fourth big league organization with his Nationals appointment. DiPuglia spent the previous 10 seasons working in the Red Sox scouting department, the last four as Boston’s Latin American Scouting Coordinator. While in that position, he was responsible for coverage in the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Panama, Mexico, Curacao, Nicaragua, Aruba, Columbia, as well as all of Central and South America. He earned World Series rings while with the Red Sox in 2004 and 2007.

DiPuglia, who also enjoyed stints with the Giants and Cardinals organizations, signed or had a hand in the signings of shortstop Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Placido Polanco, outfielder Rick Ankiel, right-handed pitcher Anibal Sanchez and right-handed pitcher Rene Arocha.

Harris carries 20 seasons of baseball experience as a player, amateur scout and professional scout into his new role with the Nationals. He spent last season as a Major League Scout/Advance Scout with Cleveland after a 12-year tenure with Texas in various scouting capacities. Harris played seven professional seasons in three organizations.

Kline earned the Director of Scouting promotion after spending his initial three seasons in Washington as Assistant Scouting Director/National Crosschecker (2009) and Western Crosschecker (2007-08). A scout for 20 seasons, Kline joined the Nationals in the fall of 2006 after spending the previous seven seasons with Arizona, the last three of which were spent as the Diamondbacks’ Western Supervisor. Kline earned a World Series ring in 2001 as the Diamondbacks topped the Yankees in seven games. Before joining the Diamondbacks, Kline worked 10 seasons scouting for the Angels after completing his four-year professional playing career.

Dana Brown Photo--Copyright Nats320--All Rights Reserved

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