On Saturday, I wrote about the impressive new Dodgers front office, noting that the strength was coming not only in impressive accomplishments, but in numbers. Andrew Friedman has assembled a fantastically talented group, and he hasn’t let old job titles and responsibilities get in his way.
Now, we’re hearing about three more names, and while we don’t know exactly what their responsibilities will be in Los Angeles yet, let’s get to know who they are.
Update: Bream chose not to leave the Tigers.
Scott Bream, Tigers
No, not Sid Bream. Scott is 44 as of last week, and Mark Saxon reports that he’ll soon be a Dodger employee. He was a third-round pick by the Padres in 1989 and played in parts of 10 minor league seasons for three organizations as a light-hitting middle infielder, never rising above Triple-A. The final three of those years came with the Tigers, and when he retired in 1998, he became an advance scout for the team between 1999-2001. In 2002, he was briefly an assistant GM, but mostly spent the first decade of the new century as a scout. In 2010, he went to San Diego as a scout and special assistant to the GM, where he served for two seasons before returning to the Tigers as Director of Pro Scouting after the 2012 season. From a description of his role at the time:
Bream is expected to assist the coordination of Detroit’s entire MLB scouting staff, as well as take on individual scouting assignments across both leagues. With Scott Reid, the team’s vice president of player personnel, expected to relinquish some of his duties in the coming seasons, Bream figures to be a significant piece of the front office going forward.
Bream’s second and final year with the Padres was also Josh Byrnes’ first year as San Diego GM, so, like with Billy Gasparino, there’s obvious familiarity there. Here’s how great the internet is — here’s a 1991 Spokane Spokesman-Review article about Bream’s attempts to get his career going despite serious back issues. Bream’s a baseball lifer, obviously, and one who put in his time. Remember that when you hear the Dodgers are hiring too many “nerds” and not enough “baseball people.”
Galen Carr, Red Sox
The Red Sox have lost three superb evaluators:Galen Carr& Dave Finley to the Dodgers and David Keller, Miami’s ass’t pro scouting director
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 10, 2014
Carr never played professional ball, but the New England native has been with the Red Sox for the last 15 seasons, most recently as a special assignment scout. That’s the kind of thing that gets you sent to the Dominican Republic to figure out if you should spend a bunch of money on Cuban immigrant Rusney Castillo, which he did. This 2011 profile of Carr from a Vermont magazine is lengthy but fascinating, so while I’ll quote from it liberally here, you should read the entire thing.
Carr spent his first six years with the Red Sox breaking down game tape and managing the team’s advance scouting department. He was charged with composing reports on every player on the entire 25-man roster for every upcoming Red Sox opponent to identify each team’s potential weaknesses.
“It was a serious grind,” Carr says. “But it definitely helped me become comfortable breaking down and evaluating players.”
As a major-league scout, his job is to evaluate talent on other ball clubs, with an eye toward identifying players the Red Sox might want to acquire. That can happen via trade; through the waiver wire (players who have been waived by their previous clubs while under contract can be claimed by teams willing to absorb the existing contract); or in free agency (players whose contracts have expired can be signed by any team). It is an essential part of building a championship-caliber team.
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During the season, Carr’s role on the team is to spend as much time on the road as he can, scouting players and reporting back to Cherington. Over the course of an entire year, he estimates he sees around 170 games, including spring training and winter league.
“It’s pretty intense,” he says, adding that it is difficult for him to be away from his family, sometimes for weeks at a time. “It doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the job. But it’s the one major downside. It’s hard.”
Buried in that profile: Carr worked at Smith Barney for a year after college. This front office just loves its financial experience. According to the Boston Globe last month, the Padres and their new GM, A.J. Preller, were rumored to be targeting Carr for a job as well. He’s highly respected, and you have to imagine that he was offered a fantastic opportunity to leave the Red Sox, a team he grew up rooting for in Vermont. Carr’s time in Boston also coincided with Gabe Kapler‘s, who played for the Red Sox from 2003-2006 before briefly retiring to manage in the Boston system in 2007.
David Finley, Red Sox
As Gammons noted above, Finley & Carr come as something of a package deal, and Finley was also with Carr on that Castillo scouting trip. Finley, 49, was a 27th round pick of the A’s in 1987 and played two seasons in the low minors as a third baseman. After scouting for the Padres, Marlins, and Red Sox from 1991-2009, he was promoted to Special Assistant to the GM in Boston before the 2010 season, then became Director of Player Personnel following 2011.
“When you have the first pick,” Finley said, “you don’t screw it up.”
Finley was the Marlins’ area scout in Southern California and Arizona. He saw many of the players at the top of other teams’ lists. But the player he pitched to his boss, Marlins scouting director Al Avila, was a slick-fielding high school senior from Chula Vista who idolized Tony Gwynn, down to wearing his No. 19 and swinging the bat the same way, a fluid, rhythmic left-handed stroke that tattooed pitches to left and left-center.
Every time Avila or one of the team’s scouting supervisors or cross-checkers went to see Gonzalez play, Finley worked him out after the game, pitching batting practice to him. He looked at the kid’s father, David, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound physical specimen who had starred for the Mexican national team and had big, strong hands, and saw a young man who would fill out like his father.
It has been a decade since Finley signed Gonzalez, but the two have stayed in touch. “He’s just a great, great kid,” Finley says. “Good upper-middle class family, married his high school sweetheart. One Father’s Day, he played a doubleheader in Chicago, and he called to wish me a happy Father’s Day from the team bus. He’s called my wife on Mother’s Day.
Unlike Carr, a native New Englander, Finley was born in and still lives in San Diego, making this a much simpler move for him; his son, Drew, is a well-regarded high school pitcher. He also scouted Jon Lester and Henry Owens, among many others, for Boston.
We’ll have to learn more about the exact positions these three will have, and for the team to actual confirm the hires. But clearly, what you have here are three baseball lifers, with extremely impressive backgrounds, particularly in scouting, and with various ties to Dodger players and personnel. This is all just so exciting.