Orioles president Andy MacPhail lost one of his top executives yesterday when director of baseball administration Scott Proefrock was hired by the world champion Philadelphia Phillies to serve as an assistant to new general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
Proefrock, who had agreed earlier this offseason to a two-year contract extension with the Orioles, was hired by the club after the 2005 season by executive vice president Mike Flanagan. Proefrock was the executive in charge of interpreting Major League Baseball rules and handling arbitration cases and other contractual and business matters.
MacPhail said that he will look internally and externally for a replacement and that the rest of the front office will split Proefrock's duties until a hire is made. One possible candidate is former Cincinnati Reds GM Wayne Krivsky, who also interviewed for the Philadelphia job.
"We will talk to several people and try to figure out what makes the most sense and what's the best fit," MacPhail said. Proefrock came to the Orioles after 10 1/2 seasons in the Tampa Bay Rays' organization. With Tampa Bay, he served as an assistant to general manager Chuck LaMar, who was recently promoted by Amaro to assistant GM of player development and scouting for the Phillies.
"There are some good things happening here," said Proefrock of the Orioles. "With the trades we've made, I think we're headed in the right direction. I'd like to think that I made some small contribution to that and I'll be similarly pleased if things continue to progress here as they did in Tampa. But for my own career, this is an opportunity that I really wanted to pursue. It's something that I couldn't pass up."
Amaro was named Phillies GM after Pat Gillick retired.
"I'm looking forward to the challenge and helping them maintain the excellence that they've achieved," Proefrock said. "I was part of that with the Braves and know what a challenge it is to maintain that excellence. It's something I'm excited to be a part of."
Notes: : The Orioles announced yesterday that they have signed right-handed pitcher Brad Hennessey and infielder Donnie Murphy to minor league contracts for 2009 and have invited them to spring training camp. Hennessey, 28, has appeared in 148 games for the San Francisco Giants over the past five seasons, going 17-23 with a 4.69 ERA. In his 44 career major league starts, he is 11-15 with a 4.72 ERA. Murphy, 25, has appeared in 221 major league games with the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics starting in 2004. In 46 games with Oakland in 2008, Murphy batted .184 (19-for-103) with three home runs and 13 RBIs. In his four-year major league career, Murphy has started 39 games at shortstop, 37 at second base and 18 at third base.