Andy Martino, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Late last week, when we reported that the Mets had let go of three respected scouts in addition to pro scouting director Jim D'Aloia, much of the public reaction had to do with complaints about the team's farm system and player development.
On this week's Shea Anything podcast, former Mets and Braves executive Adam Fisher spent a moment explaining why that was a misperception. It seems to me worth further elaboration on why the Mets' firings had little to do with their farm system.
This is inside baseball stuff that the average fan can be excused for not knowing. But in this case, it's useful in understanding what the Mets' recent shakeup does and does not mean.
In every organization, there are two different kinds of scouts, amateur and pro. Those jobs are very different.
It's the amateur scouts who seek talent for the MLB Draft and international signings. They attend high school and college games, get to know players' families, and make recommendations to their organization about the draft. They are the ones responsible for stocking a farm system.
Pro scouts are assigned to pro organizations, attending games of competitors and filing reports on minor and major league players.
They are involved in the farm system in a more tangential -- but still important -- way. When a GM is looking to make a trade, he will pull the reports that his pro scouts have filed to evaluate options of which he likely has no firsthand knowledge.
For example, when the Mets were negotiating with Toronto in advance of the 2012 R.A. Dickey trade, they had a choice between one of two top pitching prospects -- Noah Syndergaard and Aaron Sanchez. It wasn't Sandy Alderson's job to know the difference between these players, but the Mets' scouts who covered the Blue Jays.
D'Aloia, as the head of pro scouting, oversaw those pro scouts. He had nothing to do with the draft or player development (that responsibility belongs to VP of
The same goes for the three scouts whose contracts were not renewed -- Tim Kissner, Tim Fortugno and Lee MacPhail. All were pro scouts, meaning that their job performances were not tied to the Mets' thin farm system.
(As an aside, the past year should alter the perception that Alderson's regime left the cupboard bare. When Alderson departed last June, Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso and Amed Rosario were yet to make an impact at the big league level; their emergence as cornerstone players is a credit to the former GM and his group).
The upshot is that the four scouts let go by the Mets were not casualties of any perceived issues in scouting, drafting or player development. Their cases are more nuanced than that.
D'Aloia is highly respected, both in the game and in the Mets offices. But he was a vestige of another era, an ally of Alderson and J.P. Ricciardi, not Brodie Van Wagenen and his VP in charge of scouting and player development, Allard Baird. He should have no trouble finding another job.
Fortugno was a longtime Mets scout. MacPhail and Kissner arrived this year from Seattle, where the latter served as director of international operations. Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto has traded 17 Latin American players signed on Kissner's watch, a compliment to the value he brought to that organization.
The Mets shakeup was typical of what happens after a new regime settles in and wants to fill out the ranks with its own people. It was not in any way a reaction to the team's larger perceived flaws.
On a human level, it was terrible to see four capable baseball people lose their jobs, especially at a time when scouting jobs are drying up across the game. On an organizational level, the firings carried no larger theme than a reshuffling of personnel by a new GM and his management team.