Braves announce new hires to Baseball Operations Department

Atlanta Braves interim general manager John Hart announced today that the club has made several hires and promotions and has also re-aligned the Baseball Operations Department.

Gordon Blakeley and Roy Clark have both been named as Special Assistant to the General Manager, while Brian Bridges has been promoted to Scouting Director. In addition, Dave Trembley has been named Director, Player Development and Jonathan Schuerholz has been named as Assistant Director, Player Development.  

Blakeley, 60, was with the New York Yankees for more than two decades. He became New York's farm director in 1998 and also served as vice president of international and professional scouting, senior vice president of player personnel, and since 2008 as a special assistant to the general manager.

 "Gordon is one of the elite talent evaluators in the game." Hart said. "Adding someone with his experience and success to our organization is important for us."

Blakeley has scouted on the professional, amateur and international levels since beginning as an area scout with the Seattle Mariners in 1988. He is credited with signing such stars as Robinson Cano, David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, Jason Varitek, Jose Contreras, Orlando Hernandez and Hideki Matsui.

Clark, 57, is a familiar name in Atlanta's front office, having spent 22 years with the Braves before becoming assistant general manager and vice president of player personnel for the Washington Nationals from 2010 to 2013. He worked this past season as a scouting crosschecker with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"Roy played a vital role in the Braves' unprecedented run of division titles for more than two decades," Hart said. "It is a pleasure to bring him back home as we look to begin another run."

Clark's previous stint with the Braves included 11 as scouting director (1999-2009). Atlanta won three Organization of the Year awards from Baseball America during Clark's tenure and he was instrumental in the drafting of such stars as Adam Wainwright, Brian McCann, Jason Heyward, Freddie Freeman and Craig Kimbrel. 

Clark spent four years as a minor league infielder in Seattle's organization before turning to coaching and scouting in 1984. He was an All-Atlantic Coach Conference infielder at the University of North Carolina and was selected by the Mariners in the 24th round of the 1979 draft.

Bridges, 44, has been a member of the Braves organization since 2008 and has 14 years of experience as a scout, supervisor and cross checker in professional baseball.

"Brian Bridges has distinguished himself through his track record and work ethic," Hart said. "We are excited about the talent and energy he will bring to this position."

Bridges spent the previous four seasons (2011-14) as a regional cross checker (Southeast) and previous to that he spent his first three years in the organization as an area supervisor. From 2004 to 2007 Bridges worked four years as a scout for the Florida Marlins. His first appointment in professional baseball came in 2001 in a scouting role for the Anaheim Angels (2001-03).

Trembley, 62, recently completed his 30th season in professional baseball, which includes over 20 seasons as a minor league manager. Trembley most recently served on the Houston Astros coaching staff from 2013 to September 2014. He served as the Astros' third base coach in 2013 and bench coach in 2014. Prior to joining the Astros, he was the minor league field coordinator for the Atlanta Braves from 2011-12.

"Dave is a teacher with extensive experience in player development," Hart said. "We are thrilled to have him back in the Braves organization leading our young men."

Prior to his first stint with the Braves, Trembley served as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles from June 2007 to June 2010. Prior to that he was a minor league manager for 21 seasons (1986-89, 1991-2006), compiling more than 1,300 wins. He won two league titles and earned Manager of the Year awards in three leagues. In December 2001, Baseball America selected him as one of minor league baseball's top five managers of the previous 20 years. Trembley worked in the Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Diego Padres farm systems before being named manager of the Orioles' Double-A Bowie team in 2003. In 2003, he received Baltimore's Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award. Trembley also has experience working in the front office, having served as the director of day-to-day operations for the Pirates minor league complex and spring training facility for one season (1990).

Schuerholz, 34, moves into a new role within the Braves front office after spending the previous six seasons as a manager and instructor in the Braves farm system.

"Jonathan moves from the field - as a former minor league player, infield coordinator, and manager - to the front office," Hart said. "We believe he has a very bright future."

Schuerholz managed three different minor league clubs over a four-year span, 2011 to 2014, including his most recent assignment as manager of the Rome (A) Braves during the 2014 season. Previous to that, he was at the helm for the Danville (R) Braves for two seasons (2012-13) and he spent the 2011 season as the skipper of the Gulf Coast League Braves. He originally joined the organization in a coaching capacity as a roving infield instructor in 2009. Schuerholz, who is the son of Braves president John Schuerholz, was drafted by the Braves in 2002 out of Auburn University and played six minor league seasons.

Rick Williams will return for a second season as Special Assistant to the General Manager. Hart said, "Rick will continue in his role and will become increasingly more involved at the Major League level and with special assignments."

Hart also announced that the Braves will re-align their professional scouting: "We felt that it was important to align toward more 'vertical' scouting. Thus, we have named the following five Major League Scouts (listed alphabetically): Matt Carroll, Dave Holliday, Ronnie Richardson, Jeff Schugel, and Brad Sloan."

Tony DeMacio has been offered a prominent role within the scouting department and Hart said, "Tony has been a vital part of our organization for many years and we hope that will continue." 

Additionally, Hart made three promotions in baseball operations, as Matt Grabowski was promoted to Assistant Director, Scouting and Analytics; Ron Knight was promoted to Manager, Minor League Administration; and A.J. Scola was promoted to Assistant, Player Development.