Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A unique scouting hire

The Twins on Tuesday hired John Manuel, longtime editor of Baseball America, for their pro scouting staff.

As a Twins fan, this pleases and intrigues me. As a Baseball America subscriber, it saddens me. BA has a frequent staff churn, but Manuel has been there for 21 years.

The unique part of the hire isn't that the Twins hired a BA alum to scout; other organizations have done that. It's that they landed the biggest fish in the BA pool.

From Manuel's Facebook post on the change:

Last spring, the Wall Street Journal featured all the BA alumni who work for the Cleveland Indians, and Derek Falvey was the one who started that. Derek called me as a reference for Matt Forman back when he was hiring Matt as an intern in the Tribe’s baseball operations department. Derek and Matt went on to bring in more BA alums—five others so far—to Cleveland’s scouting department. So when Derek inquired to me about candidates to pro scout for the organization he now leads, the Twins, I couldn’t help myself.
I asked him, “What about me?”
I’d never asked that question to a member of a front office before. I’d talked about it with friends who are scouts or BA alums like Josh Boyd, Alan Matthews, Chris Kline or Matt Blood, but everyone in baseball knew I made the BA Kool-aid. My passion for the product and for my work has been obvious, over self-indulgent podcast tangents, or 2003 Rice stories during any random subsequent college baseball games, or any excuse to talk about the 2000 Olympics. 
But times change; ardor cools. It’s just not the same job anymore, not in the era of “branding.”

BA just had a pretty significant redesign and content retooling, some of which they've walked back at least a bit. I don't know if that's part of "it's just not the same job anymore." Or maybe Manuel just needed a changes.

But it's interesting that Manuel, who is as well connected as they come, picked the Twins (and Falvey) to pitch himself to. I suspect 30 teams would make room for him on their staff.

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