Barr candidate for Orioles' GM post Ex-scouting director drafted McDonald, Mussina for team

November 05, 1995|By Buster Olney | Buster Olney,SUN STAFF

John Barr, the former Orioles scouting director who drafted pitchers Ben McDonald and Mike Mussina, has joined former Montreal Expos GM Kevin Malone and ex-Detroit Tigers GM Joe Klein as candidates to become the Orioles' next general manager.

Barr, 37, is the scouting director for the New York Mets. League sources indicate his name has surfaced in the past few days as a possible candidate with the Orioles, who likely will pick a GM by the middle of this week. The team also has interviewed Boston Red Sox assistant GM Mike Port and former New York Yankees GM Gene Michael.

Barr broke into baseball as an administrative assistant with the New York Mets, under Joe McIlvaine, in 1984, before becoming the East Coast scouting supervisor with the Minnesota Twins, a position previously held by Malone.

Barr became scouting director for the Orioles in 1989, the year the club chose McDonald with the first pick in the draft. The Orioles also did well in the middle rounds that year, picking future major-leaguers in round No. 9 (Jack Voigt), No. 12 (Brad Pennington), No. 13 (Mike Oquist) and No. 17 (Greg Zaun).

The next year, Barr selected Mussina with the 20th pick of the first round, Erik Schullstrom in the second round and Damon Buford in the 10th round.

Barr left the Orioles after the 1990 season to become assistant GM of the San Diego Padres, working again under McIlvaine. The Padres made some good trades and some bad under McIlvaine and Barr.

They dealt second baseman Roberto Alomar and first baseman Joe Carter to the Toronto Blue Jays for first baseman Fred McGriff and shortstop Tony Fernandez, a deal lamented to this day by some in the organization. On the other hand, the Padres traded three minor-league prospects to the Milwaukee Brewers in the spring of 1992 for Gary Sheffield, who won the National League batting title that summer. The Padres contended for the NL West title, but subsequently were forced by ownership to dismantle the club for financial reasons.

Barr left the Padres in the summer of 1993 to become scouting director of the Mets, and New York's draft in 1994 generally is considered one of the best in this decade. The Mets loaded up on pitching, starting with No. 1 pick Paul Wilson, and this pocket of talent is one reason why many regard New York to be a growing power.

Meanwhile, the Orioles are close to signing Greg Blosser, a former No. 1 pick of the Red Sox. Blosser, a left-handed power hitter taken ahead of Mo Vaughn in the 1989 draft, is a six-year minor-league free agent.

In the past, he thrived under the tutelage of Mike Easler, who recently signed to be a minor-league hitting instructor with the PTC Orioles (although Easler is under consideration as the major-league hitting coach). Easler left the Red Sox organization last spring, and Blosser, a left fielder, struggled through 1995, starting the year at Triple-A before finishing the year at Double-A Trenton, hitting 11 homers in 179 at-bats there.

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