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Orioles interview Dodgers executive De Jon Watson

45-year-old has been instrumental in scouting, player development

By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

8:24 PM EDT, October 26, 2011

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The Orioles are officially up to three candidates for their vacant top executive post after interviewing 45-year-old De Jon Watson on Wednesday.

It is expected the club will talk to one, and potentially two, more candidates before wrapping up the process, which began last week with the interviews of Arizona senior vice president Jerry Dipoto and Toronto assistant general manager Tony LaCava.

Wednesday was Watson's turn to meet with the committee, which includes manager Buck Showalter, club general counsel H. Russell Smouse, managing partner Peter Angelos and his son, Lou.

Like the previous candidates, Watson has a wealth of experience in scouting and development. A former minor leaguer in the Kansas City Royals organization, Watson started his post-playing career as an area scout with the Florida Marlins in 1991. He joined the Cincinnati Reds organization as scouting director from 1998 to 2000 and drafted, among others, Adam Dunn and Austin Kearns.

He spent two more seasons with the Reds on the pro scouting side and then became the Cleveland Indians' director of pro scouting from 2004 to 2006.

He's been with the Dodgers since then, including the past four years as assistant GM and director of player development. He now oversees the development of the Dodgers' minor league system and Latin American program. He's been credited with spearheading the Dodgers' successful Venezuelan program, which was retooled in 2009.

That, in itself, has to be intriguing to the Orioles, who currently have little presence in Venezuela and have never developed their own Venezuelan major leaguer.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com