BALTIMORE -- Continuing a winter full of change, the Orioles named Gary Rajsich the organization's new director of amateur scouting on Monday.
"Gary is a terrific judge of talent, and that's what we were looking for first and foremost," new executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of his first major front office addition. "He's a people person as well, and we think those two traits we will be able to leverage to help our team. Primarily, we were looking for somebody that has had experience and success in identifying and signing talent, and Gary certainly has that."
Rajsich, 57, began his scouting career with the Red Sox, serving in both the amateur and professional departments from 1994-2006, which is when he first worked under Duquette, who served as Boston's general manager for part of that time. In his time with the Sox, Rajsich drafted and signed current ace Jon Lester, and he was instrumental in acquiring Derek Lowe with Jason Varitek from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb on July 31, 1997.
"I do have an understanding of the [American League East]," said Rajsich, who has spent the last two seasons as a pro scouting crosschecker in Toronto. "I have an idea of the product that needs to be on the field to compete and win. [I'm] definitely going to try to raise the bar here, so we scout and evaluate talent to do just that."
Rajsich, who was also a pro scout in Texas before joining the Blue Jays, admitted that it will be a challenge in adjusting to all of the paperwork and administrative duties that come with the scouting director gig. It is a particular challenge in Baltimore, where the Orioles' recent drafting and development has come under fire as the organization lacks any top tier talent and has been unable to form a steady pipeline of talent to the big league club despite a favorable draft position every year. Rajsich takes over the position vacated by Joe Jordan -- who took over as the Phillies' director of player development earlier this offseason -- and said one of his immediate goals will be working with Duquette to fill several holes in the amateur scouting department.
Asked for his scouting philosophy or whether he preferred high school or college players with high picks, Rajsich said he doesn't have a steadfast stance and tries to stay away from the notion that he's closed off completely to one group of players. A former Major Leaguer who played for four teams, Rajsich also finished his career in Japan and said being a scouting director is something he always wanted to do.
"Dan gave me the opportunity and I'm just looking forward to it," said Rajsich, who will also get to scout at the amateur level, and for the first time in nearly 10 years, look at players that the organization could draft and develop. "To me, scouting is scouting, no matter what level, to just recognize talent and watch them compete is very satisfying.
"I'm very excited about the new job and challenge ahead. I'm very grateful for this opportunity."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.