Hirings Are Official (with new name)

Just out from the Nationals

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.

The new name there is Harris who takes over the position formerly held by Bobby Williams. I have not had a chance to research him beyond what the release details. Of note is DiPuglia’s role as Director of Latin American Operations, I continue to hope to see a similar hire for the Pacific Rim.

  1. #1 by estuartj - October 15th, 2009 at 14:59

    No mention of Bob Boone’s role? I guess they’ll flesh out the exact reporting hierarchy in the coming weeks.

    Now about that Manager opening…

  2. #2 by Dick - October 15th, 2009 at 15:18

    Brian: I believe you made a reference earlier in the week that Bobby Williams might be back in another capacity. Is that right? What did you hear? I thought he had been released/terminated in the earlier PRs.

  3. #3 by Dick - October 15th, 2009 at 15:20

    Also, what happened to the Jeff Zona rumor. I guess his rumored position is still open?

  4. #4 by estuartj - October 15th, 2009 at 15:26

    Zona’s reported slot instead went to Kline. The only major slot “open” is dir. of pacific rim scouting/operations. Not sure if they will fill that role or when.

    I’m guessing the next “news” is something about Boon’s future or clarification of his role vs Clark. Also might have some announcements coming for assitants to DiPuglia for Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Mexico…

  5. #5 by estuartj - October 15th, 2009 at 15:27

    and Cuba? US is about to remove travel restrictions soon, not sure how little brother Fidel will feel about US scouts visiting to look at the Cuba top non-exported National Asset (what else comes from Cuba except ballplayers and cigars?).

  6. #6 by Wallyball - October 15th, 2009 at 16:43

    It is dangerous to judge anything from press clippings, but this seems like a solid group, especially if Harris works out.

    From the Wash Times re: Boone – “Harris is another scouting veteran, and Rizzo said VP of player development Bob Boone will stay on to work with him”

  7. #7 by Dick - October 15th, 2009 at 16:59

    estuartj: What has me confused is that Zona was rumored to be head of international scouting and Kline is head of scouting. I guess I figured Zona might work for Kline and DiPuglia for Zona. In baseball, you can’t tell the players without a scorecard and you can’t tell management without an org chart!

  8. #8 by BinM - October 15th, 2009 at 18:38

    Jeff Zona might still be in-line for the Ass’t Scouting Director (professional) slot. Bobby Williams looks like the guy on the outside looking in right now.

  9. #9 by hector ramirez - October 15th, 2009 at 22:38

    again,record of dpuglia greatly exxagerated,did not have nothing to do with hanley ramirez or anibal sanchez nor any impact player in the major legue or half decent none in more that 15 years,only ankiel went he was a picher first round no brainer, and draft placido polanco under achiver that later got better with stlouis, fired from there and giants for bad scout and lazy,check the record and talk to people in south florida scouts,good luck,buddy system hired,too bad,they were better choices,time will tell

  10. #10 by mjames - October 16th, 2009 at 09:57

    Hector: It seems you know more about dpuglia than I do but Boston has been very active in Latin America and seems to be successful in this area. This guy was scouting coordinator so he must have some involvement. I recall reading some place that the Sox this year signed a Cuba SS for a $2mm bonus and a DR SS for something in the range of $3mm . He must be doing something. I think it will be important when he hires his scouts.

    Rizzo strikes me as an impartial guy. Just my view.

  11. #11 by estuartj - October 16th, 2009 at 10:50

    When do teams need to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players and/or FA? Ditto that for picking up team options on players under contract.

    I’m still hoping that ARI will make Brandon Webb available, either by declining his team option (thus making him a FA), or via trade. $8.5 mil is a big gamble for ARI to take on Webb returning to form, especially since if he can’t play or perform well in ‘10 he will become a FA next off-season and ARI would get no compensation (right now I think he’s a B).

    What would you give in trade for Webb? Willingham, Stammen, others? Maybe a blockbuster deal to get Webb and Montero for Willingham, Balester and maybe lower level prospect like Derek Norris or Adrian Nieto.

  12. #12 by hector ramirez - October 16th, 2009 at 11:02

    the big bonus you give out dont dictated results into mlb impact player.only i saying look at the record in terms in ml baseball player now he is been in the business for more than 12 years,they are guys out there with better results in impact major league players,and boston with all the money that they spend in latin america and they do is the only thing they do, no result,the other regime have hanley,sanchez and a lot others ,mr levy ochoa did tremendus job for them,dpuglia buddy system i said it again look at the record and call scouts in south florida and internationals scouts,they will tell you,but againg good look

  13. #13 by hector ramirez - October 16th, 2009 at 11:04

    sorry, i meant,good luck,sorry

  14. #14 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 12:37

    Sorry this is off-topic, but wanted to give NFA fans my impression of the Nats AFL performances so far. As a group they have more than held their own. Wilkie, Storen, & Mandel haven’t allowed an ER, Marrero has arguably been the DD’s best hitter, & Espinosa is coming on. Espinosa looks to me from a physical & off/def POV to be more of a 2b than SS. I think range will be his biggest challenge.

  15. #15 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 12:51

    OK, I’m going to SS’s debut tonight. I’ll post an inning-by-inning update and try to add some compelling observations. His biggest challenge has been autograph-seekers who pester him even while the games is in progress. He’s been more than generous, but he needs a break. Seems like Menhart is out here to serve as SS’s “handler” and my take is that this was a good idea. So, overall the Nats have shown they can hang with MLB’s best prospects. Their uniforms have the team name spelled correctly. Actually, their uni’s look pretty good (like the numbers & names graphics treatment).

  16. #16 by Berndaddy - October 16th, 2009 at 13:00

    11 by estuartj – October 16th, 2009 at 10:50

    What would you give in trade for Webb? Willingham, Stammen, others? Maybe a blockbuster deal to get Webb and Montero for Willingham, Balester and maybe lower level prospect like Derek Norris or Adrian Nieto.

    maybe lower level prospect like Derek Norris … that Derek Norris!!!

    Lord please don’t listen to this stuff and help us think of better trades to make our farm system viable. Soemthing like “lower level PITCHING prospects”, please Lord….THX

  17. #17 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 13:01

    Also, consensus out here in AZ is that no way the D’backs make Webb available.

  18. #18 by Andrew Stebbins - October 16th, 2009 at 13:11

    Rocket Surgeon, see if you can find out if Strasburg will be on 4 days rest or 4 games rest. I’ll be heading out to Arizona in a few weeks. Thanks!

  19. #19 by estuartj - October 16th, 2009 at 13:23

    Ok, how about if we should GET another lower level prospect like what we have in Derek Norris, Adrien Nieto or Destin Hood or JP Ramirez. So Willingham and Balester (or Stammen?) to ARI for Webb, Montero & low-A level prospect.

    I might be going to low on Webb, but I really don’t see how ARI pays him $8.5 while praying he’s Healthy and productive enought to warrent a bigger return post 2010 than now.

  20. #20 by VladiHondo - October 16th, 2009 at 13:29

    Just a note, the Mexican and Venezuelan Winter Leagues have started – to check stats of Nats players, you can use the same link as last year:


    A little bit on each non-AFL name you see there: Yhonson Lopez is a 20 yr old, only 27 ABs for Vermont this year. Gustavo Molina is your prototypical AAAA catcher – will likely be a minor league FA soon. Francisco Plasencia is one of the fastest players in Nats system – is 25, split time tween H-burg & Potomac. Marco Yepez – had 100 ABs for Syracuse, non-prospect, 27 yr old IF.

    Wuillys Bravo – no longer a Nat, last pitched for Nats in 2k7 – GCL Nats. Andrew Kown – signed as minor FA in 2k8, split time between A+, AA, AAA last 2 years, is 26.

    Not on List but will be playing: Victor Garate – picked up for Belliard from LA, showed little in September callup, 25 yr old LHP Julio Perez – 21 yr old product of Nats DSL teams, pitched for GCL Nats this year.

    Rosters for Puerto Rico (starts Nov 12) and Dominican (starts today) are not out yet. The League abbreviation LMP is the Mexican Pacific League, i.e. Mexican Winter League.

    ex-Nats of note playing include Tony Armas, Estaban Loaiza, Luis Ayala, Mike O’Connor, Armando Galarraga, Alex Escobar.

  21. #21 by estuartj - October 16th, 2009 at 13:30

    As for improving the farm system I believe we have 3 players under contract/control in 2010 who won’t be on the team in 2011; Willingham, Dunn & Guzman. Josh has the highest value because of age, salary and remaining tenure (as well as playing the most replaceable position). Guz can return value if he shows he can play 2B and if the team is willing to eat some larger portion of his salary. Dunn is the most interesting case, we’ll see what the team thinks of him post AFL, if he is ready or close to it Dunn is more tradeable, and if not he is a solid Class-A FA after 2010 (assuming such a thing still exists in the new CBA), thus returning 2 draft picks. That also assumes the Nats offer arbitration and he declines, both are likely, but the later is far from 100%.

    Assuming the trades of those three would be for minor leaguers or young MLB ready talent you have some serious upgrades possible.

  22. #22 by Berndaddy - October 16th, 2009 at 14:46

    Some thing else to think about would be the other FA’s the Nats pick and let go before the trade deadlineto let kids replace them from the minors. IE : Bullpen pitchers and or 2nd/SS & catcher.

  23. #23 by Pilchard - October 16th, 2009 at 14:52

    Hate to be Debbie Downer, but given that SS can be dealt, there is no package of prospects in the Nats’ system could bring a pitcher of Brandon Webb’s ilk.

    Derek Norris is a solid prospect, but he has not established that he play a position.

    Even including Norris, the Nats system is practically void of prospects that are close to MLB ready other than Ian Desmond, and not sure that most consider Desmond to have everyday MLB talent. The vast majority of Nats prospects have only played in the low minors and have much to prove.

  24. #24 by Pilchard - October 16th, 2009 at 14:53

    Should say above, “given that SS and Drew Storen can NOT be dealt”.

  25. #25 by exporam - October 16th, 2009 at 16:41

    Certainly position players with high ceilings are hard to find, but I really like Desmond, Marrero, Ramirez, Hood, and Espinosa. Kobernus has a nice pedigree, and Burgess is still young, has a great work ethic, and finished the season strong.

    Oh, and Rocket Surgeon, I’ll see you there tonight!

  26. #26 by BinM - October 16th, 2009 at 20:43

    exporam: I like Desmond as well, but probably not at SS – He could become a “poor-man’s” Robin Yount, better suited to CF. As to the others – Marrero = maybe 1B-LF no later than Sept 2010, Espinosa = SS/2B sometime in 2011, Hood = OF by late 2011 or Spring 2012. Kobernus = 2B by 2012; Burgess, possibly a 4th OF by 2012, but both he & Ramirez are probably gone by the end of 2011, imo.

  27. #27 by JCA - October 16th, 2009 at 21:30

    Brian – I follow the Red Sox pretty closely and I honestly do not recall DiPuglia’s name. Their international scouting I think is headed by Craig Shipley. I’m pretty sure another guy was head of their latin america operations but resigned due to the MLB investigation of money to buscones. There has been no mention of him on SoSH, which surprises me because those guys are all over the organization. No mention on Boston.com “Extra bases” blog or in the notebook. If I find anything, I’ll post, but for now, I don’t think this is regarded as losing a prominent guy in the organization.

  28. #28 by JCA - October 16th, 2009 at 21:45

    Here is a link to the Sox front office webpage listing. Shipley is the Sr. VP /International Scouting. His actual expertise is in Asia, but he got this as a bump up. The Coordinator, Latin American ops is Eddie Romero, which is why I did not know of DiPuglia. The guy with the buscon problem was someone else. Perhaps they have already pulled all references to DiPuglia. Kind of like the Soviets did to Beria. http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/team/front_office.jsp?c_id=bos

  29. #29 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 21:49

    OK, SS’s 1st inning was smooth. 2K’s and routine grounder to SS. Went full on 2 hitters. Espinosa is DH’ing. SS looks smooth.

  30. #30 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 22:11

    SS’s 2nd was easier than the 1st. Got Posey to hit into a DP after walking Allen. K-zone appears a little tight. Interesting to note that a number of players SS is facing have some MLB experience (albeit not much). Intense scramble for balls players fouled off SS into the seats.

  31. #31 by cass - October 16th, 2009 at 22:12

    Thanks for the update!

    Any sense of how fast or what kind of pitches he’s throwing? I can see the pitch locations on Gameday but nothing else.

    Oh, and what’s your sense of how many people are there?

  32. #32 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 22:16

    Pitcher warming in the DD’s bullpen so I’m assuming this is SS’s last inning.

  33. #33 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 22:20

    Cass, appears to be relying primarily the fastball but I’m no expert on pitch ID. Fan told me park holds 8 grand and I’m guessing 1,500 are here. Plenty of great seats available.

  34. #34 by cass - October 16th, 2009 at 22:32

    It’s a pity he won’t get a 4th inning, but he threw a lot of pitches in the first. The hitters seemed to be working the count even if they got little to show for it.

    Btw, it’s cold and rainy here in DC… you’re not missing much.

  35. #35 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 22:34

    Strasburg back out for the 4th. Relief is loose & ready to go.

  36. #36 by Rocket Surgeon - October 16th, 2009 at 22:46

    SS’s debut is complete. He was very effective with only 2 balls struck hard (the 2 hits). He appeared polished & composed. Crowd boo’ed when he was removed but then gave him a standing O when he walked to the dugout. He’s in line for the W if the DD’s hold on and win. Scout’s guns did register some SS 98 mph FB’s. Great start to what we all hope and pray is a long and productive Nats career.

  37. #37 by expo_ram - October 16th, 2009 at 23:49

    So, just got back. I was one of those that got a foul ball – 1st inning off SS vs. Dominic Brown (who he then struck out). Buddy of mine had a gun and clocked at 99 mph (same as Scheppers earlier in the day). He looked good facing one over the minimum over 4 1/3 – only one solid ball hit – a single by Tabata.

  38. #38 by Marcus - October 17th, 2009 at 01:01

    Can either of yall tell us how Storen looked as well?

  39. #39 by Rocket Surgeon - October 17th, 2009 at 01:41

    Marcus, Storen was cruising with 2 outs when an E6 that would have been the 3rd out rattled him. He gave up 2 or 3 hits after that that drove in a couple of runs. I believe he was going to pitch the 9th but was pulled due to the number if pitches he threw in the 8th. Rumor has it he isn’t winning a lot of admirers due to his cockiness and mound presence.

    Andrew Stebbins- SS is probably going to pitch every 6th day.

  40. #40 by TimDz - October 17th, 2009 at 10:11

    RS- Interesting bit about Storen. All the stuff I had had was positive, but that was from a media standpoint. Are these detractors teammates or coaches?

  41. #41 by Rocket Surgeon - October 17th, 2009 at 11:11

    Follow-up from last night: SS’s fastball touching 98/99 with a 90-92 change. That will be a pretty devastating combo. Consensus was SS was setting up the hitters nicely.

    TimDZ: I would say Storen comes across as a Papelbon personality type while SS profiles more as a Joe Nathan type. Both are effective, but the “likeability” factor is distinctively different. Storen’s reaction to the error last night that prolonged his inning was very “uncool” and noted by coaches & players. I bet Menhart talks to him about it.

  42. #42 by Marcus - October 17th, 2009 at 11:18

    RS: appreciate the updates!

    Closers need a different type of personality, they must have a little cockiness to them with the whole game sometimes usually riding on their back. I hope he’ll be fine with time…

  43. #43 by Rocket Surgeon - October 17th, 2009 at 11:29

    Marcus- I agree. I would say he just needs to tone it down a bit. Most of the players here have banged around the minors a bit. So for a college kid who has spent a whooping 1/2 season in the minors to come in acting like the savior isn’t winning him the Dale Carnegie actalike contest.

  44. #44 by Rocket Surgeon - October 17th, 2009 at 11:52

    Hope NFA fans can make it to Phoenix and see some AFL games. Temp is forecast to be 101 today. All the prospects you read about in BA and NFA are here and playing. It’s pro baseball nirvana.

    Here are my tips if you come: • Bring summer clothes. Temp has been in the 90’s all week and I’ve seen about 3 clouds. •. Great hotel was the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Rate was approx. $90/night and service was excellent. Great pool area & 30-person Jacuz. •. Plan to bring your own food into parks. No coolers but other than that, they don’t care. Concessions are minimally staffed and quality is poor. •. All parks are within easy driving distance. •. Sunday is the off day. •. Players are easy to approach for autographs.

    Life’s too short. You owe it to yourself to make the trip.

    • Great hotel was Scottsdale Plaza Resort. Rate was

  45. #45 by Jeff E. - October 17th, 2009 at 20:50

    I was down in Central Florida on the 16th, but perhaps the instructional league was done. BinM: ever notice how the phrase “on the outside looking in” has become one of the top cliches since that nifty Journey tune- Higher Place???? Keep Colin B!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! great news on the new hires!!! exporam- we never have neough talent….

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