The Tigers announced today that they have name Manny Crespo as the director of Latin American Operations. Previously Ramon Pena handled Latin America, and I’m not sure if he is still involved or not (he’s still listed on the team’s website).
The Tigers also announced the hiring of 4 amateur scouts. Ray Crone Jr. and Jim Olander were added as national crosscheckers, Grant Brittain as an area scout and Steve Barningham as a part-time scout. Brittain will scout North Carolina and South Carolina, in addition to northern Georgia. Barningham will scout in the Pacific Northwest.
One of the drawbacks of signings like Magglio Ordonez is that discussions on sites like Baseball Primer focus on the theme that the money would be better spent on scouting and development. Assuming that these hirings are additions and not replacements, it shows that a team with enough money can do both.
While I’m not qualified to comment on the quality of scouts, I can say that the investment in scouting is probably one of the most encouraging moves this offseason. This appears to be the second offseason in a row where Detroit has been committed to scouting and development. Last year the Tigers hired David Chadd to head up scouting, as well as leasing a new training facility in the Dominican Republic. While the dividends will take longer to payout, the Tigers are trying to do the right things.
Bonderman’s Prospect Retro
John Sickels has a prospect retrospective on Jeremy Bonderman.
The Tigers promoted Bonderman directly to the majors in 2003, skipping Double-A and Triple-A entirely. This kind of decision carries a large risk of backfire with the psychological health of a young player. Although Bonderman pitched terribly in 2003 and almost lost 20 games, he retained confidence in himself. His ’04 and ’05 seasons were qualified successes, as he emerged as a .500 pitcher with an ERA slightly below league average. Given his age, that’s certainly acceptable, and scouts remain very high on his future.