The Orioles have hired Gary Rajsich (pronounced Ray-sitch) as the team's director of amateur scouting. Rajsich takes the place of Joe Jordan, who left the club in October to become farm director for the Phillies.
"I'm looking forward to the new challenge," Rajsich said. "This is something I always wanted to do. The last nine years I've been looking at pro players that belong to someone else and now I have the chance to go out and evaluate players for the draft and players you can actually get. In that sense, it's very exciting. To me, scouting is scouting no matter what level and just to recognize talent, bring those kids into the system, watch them develop and watch them compete and win for you at the major league level is very satisfying."
Rajsich, 57, spent four years in the big leagues (1982-1985) as an outfielder for the Mets, Cardinals and Giants after being an 11th-round pick by the Astros out of Arizona State in 1976, where he was college teammates with another scouting director, R.J. Harrison of the Rays. Rajsich played for the Chunichi Dragons in Japan from 1986-1988.
He began his scouting career with the Red Sox in 1994. From 1994-2002, Rajsich was the Red Sox area scout for the Northwest and his biggest amateur signing was lefthander Jon Lester in 2002. From 2003-2006, Rajsich was a pro scout for the Red Sox. He was a pro scout with the Rangers from 2006-2009 and spent the past two years as a professional crosschecker for the Blue Jays.
Rajsich said he feels a little behind for this year's draft because he wasn't able to see any of the summer college leagues or the big high school showcases this summer.
"That's where I'm going to have to rely on our people that have been here and trust their ability that they've lined them up pretty well," Rajsich said. "It's not like we're all coming in new, having not seen anything. So, I will rely on those guys to let me know exactly what they saw and they'll be able to make comparisons as to the movement (the players) made—either up or down—since last summer."
Rajsich takes over as scouting director just after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in major league baseball made significant changes to the draft.
"The clear intent of major league baseball was to control the spiraling bonuses and I think they've done that," Rajsich said. "Initially, what it means to me is that I think it's going to make it easier to sign some guys, but on the other hand it's going to make it more difficult to sign some guys."
In another move, the Orioles reassigned pro scouting director Lee MacPhail IV to a major league scouting position.
General manager Dan Duquette said he doubts the team will employ a professional scouting director going forward, but that the team will be adding more personnel by the end of the winter meetings, which take place in Dallas Dec. 5-8.
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