By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun
9:07 PM EST, November 28, 2011
New Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has begun the reconstruction of his front office, announcing the hiring of a new amateur scouting director Monday while re-assigning pro scouting director Lee MacPhail IV, one of the top lieutenants in the club's previous regime.
Long-time scout Gary Rajsich, who was most recently the Toronto Blue Jays professional crosschecker and spent years with Duquette in Boston, was officially named to replace Joe Jordan, who left the Orioles' amateur scouting post in October to join the Philadelphia Phillies.
"This is something I've always wanted to do and Dan gave me the opportunity and I am just looking forward to it," said Rajsich, a former big leaguer who has scouted for the Red Sox (1994-2006), the Texas Rangers (2006-09) and the Blue Jays (2009-11). "The last nine years I have been looking at pro players that belong to someone else and now there's a chance to go out and evaluate and draft and acquire players that you can actually get. In that sense, it is very exciting."
Rajsich has been credited with scouting and signing lefty Jon Lester for the Red Sox in 2002 and Duquette said Rajsich was a key evaluator in the 1997 trade that brought Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek to Boston.
"Gary is a terrific judge of talent and that was what we were looking for first and foremost," Duquette said. "When you meet him you will also see that he has a really nice way about him, he gets along with people and he's a real people person as well."
Rajsich's hiring was not the only change made on Monday, when Duquette announced that MacPhail would be removed from the pro scouting director's job but remain part of the department as a scout. Duquette said it is "doubtful" that the director post will be filled as he continues to rearrange things.
He also has an opening for baseball operations director with the pending departure of Matt Klentak to the Los Angeles Angels, but Duquette seems focused on creating his own administrative structure instead of simply filling previous positions.
At this point, Duquette said he does not have an organizational hierarchy set.
"We're in process on that and we hope to have the answer to that question by the end of the winter meetings," he said. "We are going to be adding some additional personnel between now and the end of the winter meetings. What I can tell you is we will have appropriate staffing for scouting at all levels, amateur, professional, major and minor leagues and international."
MacPhail, the nephew of former top executive Andy MacPhail, had been Orioles' pro scouting director since October 2007.
"I'll do whatever is needed. I am an Oriole," said MacPhail, who also worked for the Orioles from 1986 to 1995. "I'm happy to be here and I'll do whatever is asked."
In other Orioles news, Ron Johnson, a long-time minor league skipper who spent the past two seasons as first base coach for the Boston Red Sox, is expected to take over as the manger of the Norfolk Tides, the organization's Triple-A affiliate.
Gary Allenson, who managed the Tides for parts of the past five seasons, likely will be re-assigned within the Orioles' organization.
Johnson, 55, joined the Boston organization as a minor league manager in 2000 — while Duquette was GM of the Red Sox. A former big leaguer, Johnson played parts of three seasons in the big leagues primarily as a first baseman with the Kansas City Royals and Montreal Expos. His son, Chris, plays for the Houston Astros.
Also, Duquette said that the agreement between the Orioles and South Korean submariner Chong Tae-Hyon is "still in process." The right-handed pitcher has been in Baltimore for his physical examination, but his contract has not yet been announced.
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