-- With a keen interest in maintaining stability in the front office, the Baltimore Orioles named David Stockstill the team's director of minor league operations.
Stockstill, who was the Orioles' minor league fielding and hitting coordinator, replaces Darrell "Doc" Rodgers, whose contract was not renewed following the 2004 season. Stockstill was not available to comment.
"He knows the organization," said Jim Beattie, the Orioles' executive vice president of baseball operations. "It wouldn't be starting over. He's got a good sense of the players already."
The Orioles were so intent on hiring within the organization they interviewed only two candidates, Stockstill and Tripp Norton, Rodgers's assistant who will keep the same position.
"There's some disappointment," Norton said. "The good thing is we were able to keep the job in-house and keep some stability in the department."
Stockstill, 47, has worked in the Orioles' minor league department since 1994, but never in the front office. For that reason, Beattie said he expects Norton to be a strong presence in the department.
"Dave brings strong background from the field side and I bring strong background from the front office," Norton said. "We form a pretty good pair."
The oft-criticized department has had trouble producing major league talent. Only one of the team's 10 first-round picks since 1998 has been on the major league roster. For next season, Brian Roberts is the only player developed within the system ensured of a starting job in the lineup. Several of the team's highly regarded pitching prospects, including Beau Hale, Matt Riley and Erik Bedard, have missed significant time because of injuries.
In trying to improve on those results, the Orioles are expected to hire a new scouting director sometime in the next two weeks. Jeff Taylor, an Orioles' eastern region scout cross-checker, will interview this week. Beattie said he expects to interview three to four candidates and may conduct some of the interviews during next week's GM meetings. Beattie did not rule out interviewing more in-house candidates for the scouting position.
The team had considered combining the scouting and minor league director positions, but quickly decided against it.
"With Mike [Flanagan, vice president of baseball operations] and I both here, we didn't want to add another layer," Beattie said.