Friday, October 26, 2007
The Washington Nationals, who have spent the past 18 months building their scouting department, yesterday lost Chuck LaMar, who served as a special assistant to General Manager Jim Bowden. LaMar left Washington to become the director of professional scouting for the Philadelphia Phillies.
The move came on the same day Baseball America ranked the Nationals' draft as the best in baseball this year, an indication that the scouting department -- behind vice president of baseball operations Mike Rizzo and scouting director Dana Brown -- is developing as the organization pledged it would.
LaMar, though, lasted just one season with Washington before moving to Philadelphia, where General Manager Pat Gillick is expected to retire at the end of 2008. LaMar, the former general manager in Tampa Bay, had been a scouting director with the Atlanta Braves, where he worked under Nationals President Stan Kasten. Sources, though, said LaMar's philosophy didn't click with those of Rizzo and Brown, who, with Bowden and vice president of player development Bob Boone, anchored the draft.
Bowden declined to comment on LaMar's departure. LaMar could not be reached for comment.
Bowden, though, was happy about the draft ranking, calling it a "tremendous honor."
"I credit ownership and Stan Kasten for providing the resources, and I credit Mike Rizzo, Dana Brown and Bob Boone," Bowden said. "All of them put so much work into this. And this is just the beginning."
Baseball America ranked the Nationals' draft first, ahead of Texas, Detroit, San Francisco and the New York Yankees. Outfielder Michael Burgess was cited for having the second-best pro debut of a high school player and ranked as the fourth-best power hitter in the draft.
Lefty Ross Detwiler, the club's top pick taken sixth overall, was ranked as the pitcher who's closest to the majors. Detwiler was called up in September, though he only made one appearance.
-- Barry Svrluga