Dodgers To Rebuild International Scouting Operations
These guys are remaking the international scouting department Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Here’s some seemingly distressing news coming from Jesse Sanchez of MLB dot com
Here are the full list of names:
"Also no longer with the club are Patrick Guerrero, the Dodgers’ scouting coordinator in Latin America; Franklin Taveras, the club’s scouting coordinator in the Dominican Republic; Joseph Reaves, the director of international and Minor League relations; Rafael Colon, special advisor for international player performance; Hidenori Sueyoshi, senior manager of international scouting; and Bruce Hurst, Latin America field coordinator, a source told MLB.com."
That is certainly a ton of guys to let go in August of all times. Bob Engle is the big name in this situation, Engle, he of Felix Martinez fame has always been hugely respected within the game considering that in addition to signing King Felix, he also scouted and signed names like Pat Hentgen, Roy Halladay, and Chris Carpenter and ever since his hire in 2012, he’s made big moves in the international arena. He was hired in the Fall of 2012 so basically everything after the Julio Urias/Yasiel Puig wave of international signees can be accredited to him, so guys like Erisbel Arruebarrena, Alex Guerrero, Hector Olivera, and the slew of amatuers inked to deals this July 2nd signing period (Yadier Alvarez, Starling Heredia, etc).
It’s always hard to say what the motive was behind these types of things, Guerrero said this about the organization
"the only explanation I got was that they wanted to go in a different direction and nothing else,” Guerrero said from the Dominican Republic. “I understand. That’s baseball"
Considering that the Dodgers front office was rebuilt last offseason, maybe it’s possible that the team wanted to clean house in this department and bring in their own international guys, every regime does it and it’s kind of a miracle that Don Mattingly has survived the introduction of Stan Kasten AND Andrew Friedman, but this doesn’t exactly explain the timing of the move.
Taking into account that there’s never a “good” time to remake your entire scouting operation because there’s never really an “offseason” (Yoan Moncada defected right after the regular season ended last season, Hector Olivera’s pursuit took up all of the Winter), doing it right after all of the big transactions are completed (or a month after the July 2nd signing period begins) is probably as good a time as ever. There are certainly downsides to remaking that area of an organization right now, one of them being the free agency of Cuban defector Eddy Julio Martinez (though I imagine that the team has enough info at this point to decide whether he’s worth signing or not), but remember that the Dodgers dropped at least 22 million on international prospects this signing period, that is a massive number of money, and whenever that amount of money is involved with signing teenagers, massive turnover within the scouting department seems like a bad idea.
So keeping Engle and company through the Yoan Moncada pursuit and the beginning of the 2015 July 2nd signing period makes sense. Also something to take into account is that the Dodgers are maxed out for the 2016 and 2017 July 2nd signing periods, and the timing of the (inevitable?) international draft puts it to where the next CBA dissipates minor league free agency as we know it and the penalties become basically irrelevant, Friedman putting in his “own guys” to prepare for the international draft is just a natural progression in the development of a front office.
It was a weird thing to do in August I suppose, but there’s never really a good time to do this, and the brain trust that is getting paid millions of dollars to run the team probably deserves a chance with their own guys to prepare for whatever comes next as far as amateur free agency goes.