As reported first on The Braves Show this weekend, Braves' Scouting Director Roy Clark has turned down an offer from the Washington Nationals to join their front office in a position that would have included scouting and player development responsibilities.
Clark will instead remain with the Braves' organization and have his duties expand. GM John Schuerholz will soon make additional assignments within the front office.
Nationals' President and part-owner Stan Kasten is trying to implement similar philosophies that he had in place as President of the Braves. Clark was a natural option for Kasten to try and give the Washington franchise a huge presence in scouting and player development, which Kasten has said will be his priority as the new ownership takes over.
The Nationals will now instead hire Mike Rizzo, the heralded Scouting Director for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Clark has been with the Braves since 1989 and became Scouting Director in 1999 after legendary scout Paul Snyder reduced his role with the club. Clark has led the past seven drafts for the Braves, which have stocked the Braves' farm system with tremendous talent. The Braves had 18 rookies in the big leagues in 2005 and have had five more this season. On most nights, seven of the eight starting position players are homegrown players - four of whom were drafted by Clark.
Clark's most recent draft last month produced more pitching to improve the organizational depth even more. Sixteen of the first 22 draft picks were pitchers, and out of the 54 picks overall, 36 were pitchers. He has perfectly continued a tradition started by Kasten and Snyder in the mid-1980s when the Braves stressed pitching in the amateur draft.
With his success, Clark has become one of the most successful Scouting Directors in the game. Eighteen of his draft picks from his first three drafts have made it to the major leagues, while seven of his draft picks have been used in deals to help Atlanta's big league club.
The Braves' front office was already rocked in May with the departure of Assistant General Manager Dayton Moore, who left to become the GM of the Kansas City Royals. If Clark had left for Washington, it would have been a huge blow to an organization that stresses consistency.
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. He can also be heard regularly on the Braves Radio Network. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.