New Orioles amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich continues to set up his staff and department now with about six months remaining before the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
He recently hired Danny Haas from the Red Sox organization to serve as a national crosschecker. Haas was a player in the Boston farm system when Rajsich worked for the Red Sox. Haas and Ron Hopkins will be the Orioles' two national crosscheckers.
Jim Thrift, who was the Orioles' major league advance scout last year, will be involved in some amateur scouting with assignments in central Florida as the Orioles look to beef up coverage in that state.
Previously, they hired Juan Alvarez from the Texas Rangers to handle south Florida and Dan Jennings handles assignments in north Florida and on the Florida panhandle.
Rajsich said he is interviewing candidates now for a scouting position that will provide coverage in north Texas and that hire could be announced not long after the first of the year. Tom Dryer now handles south Texas for the Orioles.
Two scouts that previously handled only pro assignments for the Orioles, Jim Howard and Ted Lekes, will now add some amateur duties in the New England region.
Rajsich said all of his amateur scouts will also provide some pro coverage and likely even major league coverage as well. Some of the amateur scouts usually do get assigned some minor league teams to cover and they may add some major league teams as well moving forward.
Rajsich believes it helps scouts to work amateur, pro and major league assignments and the Orioles have basically merged their amateur and pro staffs.
Meanwhile, some readers have written to me suggesting that free agent Prince Fielder could sign a short-term deal - like a three-year pact with a team - and look for a longer, more lucrative contract down the road.
On the surface, this makes some sense in that Fielder is 27 and could still be in line for a megabucks deal at 30, 31 or 32. Plus, more teams like the Yankees and Red Sox may be in need of first basemen then and maybe the bidding for him would be more frenzied then.
The problem with this strategy is that Scott Boras represents Fielder and I could never imagine Boras walking away from a longer contract now in hopes of getting another one later. Fielder could get badly injured and lose out on all that future money. Boras just wouldn't do this.
Boras, himself, said as much this week in an interview with ESPNChicago.
"Not only is that inaccurate and delusional, but it seems that some people have gotten into their New Year's Eve stash just a little bit early this year," Boras told ESPNChicago.com on Tuesday.
"It appears some baseball people are just bored. That's when you hear ideas like that floated."
If anything, it appears Boras will push for a contract to rival or surpass the 10-year, $254 million deal that Albert Pujols signed with the Angels. Boras will be pushing for more years, not less.