One of the first key hires for new Orioles vice president Dan Duquette will be a new scouting director to replace Joe Jordan, who left to take a job with the Phillies.
Duquette said yesterday he would consider internal candidates for any openings and the Orioles have a man on the staff now that is interested in the scouting director job. That is Ron Hopkins, who from 2004 through 2009 was the Texas Rangers’ scouting director and he joined the Orioles before the 2011 season as a national crosschecker on Jordan’s staff.
“I would like to be considered (for the O’s position). I am proud of my record with Texas. I’m sure the Orioles will make a good decision on this job,” Hopkins said yesterday.
Hopkins’ 2007 draft with Texas produced some players that either helped the Rangers in the big leagues or went in trades for others that joined the team.
Right-handed pitcher Blake Beavan, taken 17th overall in that draft, went to Seattle in the trade that sent Cliff Lee to Texas in July 2010. Beavan made 15 starts for the Mariners this past year.
High school pitcher Michael Main, taken 24th in 2007, went in a deal to the Giants for Bengie Molina, the catcher on the Rangers’ 2010 World Series team. Outfielder Julio Borbon, taken 35th, has played three seasons for the Rangers. Pitcher Neil Ramirez, drafted 44th, had a good year in the minors in 2011 and may be added to the Rangers’ 40-man roster. Pitcher Tommy Hunter, taken 54th, was dealt this year to the Orioles.
Hopkins also drafted Mitch Moreland, who played in 134 games for Texas in 2011, in round 17 in 2007.
Hopkins has been serving as the Orioles’ interim director of scouting since Jordan left for the Phillies on Oct.12. He was involved in the club’s recent hiring of Juan Alvarez to scout for the team in Florida, replacing scout John Martin, who left to join Houston.
Alvarez was hired before Dan Duquette came on board because Florida is such a key area and he was available after his contract ended with Texas. The Orioles felt they should get Alvarez when they could.
Another possible internal candidate for scouting director is the Orioles’ current regional crosschecker and Baltimore native Dean Albany.
Not only is Albany a solid scout, but he has some ties to Duquette in that both men consider the late Walter Youse among their key baseball mentors. Duquette got his first scouting job with Harry Dalton’s Milwaukee Brewers in 1981 and Youse was a scout for Dalton in Milwaukee and Baltimore. Albany coaches the amazingly successful Youse’s Orioles summer team that was once known as Johnny Leone’s and was led for many years by Youse.
Whichever person gets the scouting director’s job will have at least two openings, as national crosschecker Matt Ruebel left to join Pittsburgh and New England area scout Keith Connolly also left the club.
The Orioles could also decide to add a second full-time scout in Florida. Several teams employ two scouts to work the state.
It is also very possible that Duquette goes outside the organization for his next scouting director. He gave no indication on which way he is leaning for that hire during his first press conference at Camden Yards on Tuesday.