Amaro has high praise for scouting department

Amaro has high praise for scouting department

Amaro has high praise for scouting department
WASHINGTON -- The Phillies assess everything during the offseason.

That means everything from the 40-man roster to the Minor League system to the coaching staff to the scouting department.

The Phillies feel that they made a nice addition to the scouting department on Tuesday, hiring Bart Braun, a former scout with the Rays, as special assistant to the general manager.

GM Ruben Amaro Jr. called Braun's hire "a home run as far as his ability to scout and contribute to our club. He has a lot of experience in scouting in several different areas."

Amaro added that the rest of his scouting staff is returning.

"Just like in any other part of our organization, everybody is being evaluated," he said. "Everybody."

Even himself?

"Oh, I would think so," he said.

Every organization has hits and misses throughout a season: good and bad free-agent signings, good and bad trades, a player released who should not have been, a promoted player who surprises everybody, and so on.

The trick is minimizing the misses.

The Phillies have had some of those. Last September they acquired John Bowker from Pittsburgh instead of promoting Brandon Moss from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Bowker went hitless in 13 at-bats with the Phillies. Moss signed with the A's in December, and this season hit .287 with 21 home runs, 47 RBIs and a .947 OPS in 258 at-bats.

The Phillies signed Chad Qualls, who brought with him numerous question marks entering the season. He was wildly inconsistent, so the Phillies traded him to the Yankees on July 1.

And one wonders why Philadelphia did not have more interest in somebody like Josh Willingham, who looks like a steal after signing a three-year, $21 million contract with Minnesota.

On the plus side, the Phillies signed Juan Pierre to a Minor League contract, which was a bargain. Pierre is hitting .310 with 37 stolen bases and has been a positive presence in the clubhouse. They also acquired left-hander Jeremy Horst from Cincinnati in exchange for Wilson Valdez during the offseason, a deal that also looks like an absolute steal. Horst is 2-0 with a 1.19 ERA in 31 appearances, whereas Valdez is hitting .203 with a .458 OPS with the Reds.

Other Minor League free-agent signings, such as Kevin Frandsen and Erik Kratz, played well enough that they could be on next season's Opening Day roster.

"We evaluate all those things," Amaro said of the good and bad moves. "We don't hit on every single guy. At the same time, I think we've done a very good job hitting on most. I have a great deal of trust in Mike Ondo, who heads up our pro scouting staff. He's as thorough and as good as there is. I think Mike and his people did a great job at the Trade Deadline. We got some very, very good players. We came away with some players that we believe really helped our organization and are going to make some impact on our club pretty soon.

"Listen, we're talking about human beings here. When you try to make moves that you think will work out and [they] don't for whatever reason, a lot of the stuff is not under your control. I feel pretty confident in the people that we employ to be the eyes and ears of our organization. I think we have as good a group of people in our baseball ops department as any club in baseball."