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Orioles look to bolster amateur scouting with second national crosschecker

The Orioles are looking to further bolster their amateur scouting department by adding a second national crosschecker, and they are focusing on a candidate that has strong ties to the organization and executive vice president Dan Duquette.

The Orioles have asked for and been granted permission to interview Matt Haas, the Eastern U.S. crosschecker for the Miami Marlins. Teams typically permit their staff to interview with other clubs only if it signifies a promotion, which this would.

Haas is considered the Orioles’ primary target for the position, which is responsible for analyzing high school and college players that have been targeted by regional scouts and then enumerating those players in order of preference in preparation for the June first-year player draft.

Duquette wouldn’t comment on Haas, except to confirm that the club did ask to interview him. Duquette also acknowledged that he is looking to add another national crosschecker.

“We looking to put together a staff with one crosschecker specializing in pitching and one that specializes in scouting the position players,” Duquette said. “We are looking at that right now.”

If Haas is hired, the Orioles’ top amateur scouts will have a impenetrable bond. The 40-year-old Haas is the older brother of current Orioles national crosschecker Danny, who was hired last year. They are the sons of Eddie Haas, a former major league player and manager and one of Duquette’s mentors and confidants.

Although some organizations have two national crosscheckers, that hasn’t always been the case with the Orioles. Last year, however, they had Danny Haas and Ron Hopkins until Hopkins was relieved of his duties in June after the club cited philosophical differences.

Filling the position continues Duquette’s plan of strengthening the organization’s amateur ranks.

Besides genetics, Matt Haas has plenty of connections with the current Orioles’ front office. He, his brother and Orioles’ director of scouting Gary Rajsich were scouts together in the Boston Red Sox organization while Duquette was the Red Sox GM in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Haas spent four years as a minor league corner infielder and outfielder in the Montreal Expos organization, and was originally drafted (but didn’t sign) out of high school by the Expos while Duquette was in the club’s front office as farm director.

When Duquette took over the Orioles last November he stressed the importance of having better drafts, and made some drastic changes to scouting, including the demotion of pro director Lee MacPhail IV, the dissolution of the pro scouting department and the streamlining of all scouts under Rajsich, the new director.

The changes this winter have been more subtle. The Orioles hired Kirk Fredriksson as an amateur scout in New England to replace Ted Lekas, one of the former pro scouts whose duties shifted in 2012. Lekas is looking to return to pro scouting work for another organization when his contract expires in December.

And MacPhail IV, the nephew of former team president Andy MacPhail, took a pro scouting job with the Seattle Mariners this week. A Friends School graduate who was in his second stint with the Orioles, spent the past five years in Baltimore.

After four seasons as pro scouting director, his position was eliminated and, ultimately, he spent last season working as a pro scout, mainly at the minor league level. He said a long-time friendship with Seattle’s pro scouting director Tom Allison was instrumental in his decision to leave the Orioles.

“It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” MacPhail IV said. “It was an opportunity to work for someone who is a very good friend and someone I have admired for a long time and to be part of his team is hard to turn down.”

MASN first reported MacPhail IV’s departure.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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