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Nats front office finalized

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The Nationals formally announced two more front office hirings today, adding Bryan Minniti as assistant general manager and Jay Sartori as director of baseball operations. Minniti comes from the Pirates, where he spent nine years, including the last two as director of baseball operations. Sartori actually comes from the MLB commissioner’s office, where he worked on salary and contract administration in the labor relations department. Both of these guys will be responsible for handling contract details, roster moves, draft bonuses, all the administrative stuff that frees up GM Mike Rizzo to focus on baseball.

These kinds of moves don’t draw major headlines like the retention of manager Jim Riggleman or the pursuit of free agents. But make no mistake, the moves Rizzo has made since the end of the season to revamp his front office are very significant. Minniti and Sartori become the seventh and eighth men hired to join the Nats’ front office since October.

To review…

Roy Clark was hired away from the Atlanta Braves to serve as VP of player personnel. He essentially takes the job that had been Rizzo’s before Jim Bowden resigned and will be Rizzo’s right hand man on trade discussions, player scouting, etc.

Ron Schueler was hired as special advisor to the GM. Schueler, who was GM of the White Sox in the 90s, essentially takes over for Moose Stubing, a veteran baseball man who did special scouting work for Bowden.

Kasey McKeon was hired as director of player procurement after serving with the Colorado Rockies as an assistant to GM Dan O’Down.

Jay Robertson was hired as a special assistant to the GM after holding a similar role with the Texas Rangers. He’ll be off scouting players and running special assignments for Rizzo, much as Jose Rijo used to do for Bowden (hopefully without any of the legal controversy).

Doug Harris was hired as director of player development after working as advance scout for the Cleveland Indians. He’ll partner with Bob Boone in running the Nats’ farm system, taking the role previously held by Bobby Williams.

Johnny DiPuglia was hired to run the Nats’ Latin American operations after previously running the Boston Red Sox’s scouting operations down there. He replaces Rijo and Jose Baez, who was also fired as a result of the Esmailyn Gonzalez scandal.

And as previously stated, Bryan Minniti and Jay Sartori were hired as assistant GM and director of baseball operations, respectively. They take over adminstrative duties previously held by Squire Galbreath, Bowden’s former college roommate who remains as a part-owner of the Nats but won’t be working day to day in the front office anymore.

One other front-office shift to point out, for those who forgot: Kris Kline was promoted to scouting director after Dana Brown left to become assistant GM of the Toronto Blue Jays.

As you can see, that’s a pretty big makeover of the Nats’ front office, one that could have just as much impact on the franchise’s future success as any changes to the coaching staff or 40-man roster.

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Mark Zuckerman

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