Scout leader joins O's den Cubs, Braves, Indians on DeMacio resume

Surhoff decision due

December 04, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

The Orioles will announce the hiring of Tony DeMacio as the club's scouting director this afternoon, completing general manager Frank Wren's organizational cabinet.

DeMacio, 53, succeeds Gary Nickels in the position after serving four years as a regional supervisor for the Chicago Cubs. DeMacio brings a record of participation in two of the industry's most stunning organizational transformations with the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians.

"Frank and I are both from player development and scouting backgrounds. They've done a good job here of adding prospects to the system. We just hope to add to that trend," DeMacio said. "Obviously, the more talent you put in the pipeline the better your player development system."

DeMacio will be introduced at an afternoon news conference that also will include the first appearance by catcher Charles Johnson since the Orioles acquired him from the New York Mets Tuesday night in a three-team trade.

The news conference may also feature an announcement of free-agent outfielder B. J. Surhoff's return to the team should details be finalized on a four-year contract worth more than $17 million.

Wren, attending an ownership meeting in Chicago, could not be reached for comment.

Still waiting to draft, develop and deploy their first regular position player since Cal Ripken's arrival in 1982, the Orioles elevated scouting and player development under the previous regime of general manager Pat Gillick, assistant GM Kevin Malone and Nickels.

Rather than treat the amateur draft as an afterthought, greater attention has been paid recently to preserving premium selections. Likewise, majority owner Peter Angelos has authorized more aggressive bonuses in order to secure drafted talent.

DeMacio may find himself the lone beneficiary of what has so far been the Orioles' jagged off-season. Free-agent defectors Eric Davis, Roberto Alomar, Rafael Palmeiro and Alan Mills will bring draft picks from their new teams as compensation.

Even with their signings of outfielder Albert Belle and closer Mike Timlin, the Orioles currently look forward to six picks in the first two rounds of next year's draft.

DeMacio has previously played a significant role in several franchise renovations. His seven-year term with the Braves was highlighted by the signing of two-time Cy Young Award winner fTC Tom Glavine and All-Star third baseman Chipper Jones.

As the Braves' New England area scout, DeMacio was credited with signing Glavine in 1984. His tenure in Atlanta ended as a cross-checker after he signed Jones, the first player selected in the 1990 draft, for $250,000. The year after DeMacio left to become a national cross-checker for the Indians, the Braves completed a worst-to-first reversal highlighted by Glavine's first Cy Young season.

DeMacio cites Braves scouting director Paul Snyder, one of the industry's most respected figures, as his mentor.

"I'm so appreciative to Paul Snyder. He hired me as someone who was a non-professional player who had managed in the Shenandoah Valley [Va.] League. I honestly owe everything to him," DeMacio said.

With the Indians, DeMacio participated in the 1991 draft that helped change a perennial loser into an American League power. The Indians gained Manny Ramirez, Herbert Perry and Chad Ogea during his four-year term.

Since 1995 DeMacio had served as the Cubs' East Coast supervisor in charge of amateur scouting.

DeMacio's roots in Atlanta remain his strongest influence. The Braves have strengthened themselves by leaning toward pitching and predominantly high school talent. A similar trend may establish itself here.

"I'd like to establish solid pitching. Pitching brings a lot of good things," DeMacio said. "Pitching brings other good prospects. You have to have enough prospects to deal. When you have prospects in your system, you have the strength to deal and the strength to bring players to the major-league level. But people will see we'll take the best player at every level regardless of position."

Though not yet announced, DeMacio has been on the job since Tuesday. He already has quieted concerns among the organization's scouts by extending their contracts through next season.

DeMacio must hire an Eastern regional supervisor to replace John Green, who recently accepted a position as special assistant to Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Cam Bonifay, as well as a Texas area scout.

Orioles tickets

Individual game tickets for 1999 Orioles games will go on sale tomorrow at 9 a.m., marking the first time since 1995 that the club has sold individual tickets before January.

Tickets will be available for all games except the April 5 opener against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

Tickets will be on sale tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. at the Orioles box office at Camden Yards. They also will be available at the Orioles Team Stores in Washington and York, Pa., and at all Ticketmaster outlets, including Hecht Co. stores.

Ticketmaster (1-888-848-BIRD) will accept orders tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Pub Date: 12/04/98

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