Team trying to develop more talent

Updated: January 8, 2004, 2:22 AM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- The Reds made significant changes in their front office Wednesday and hired longtime Dodgers employee Terry Reynolds as their director of amateur scouting.

As part of a reorganization by first-year general manager Dan O'Brien, the scouting department was split into three areas: amateur, professional and international.

"The nature of the specific jobs is pretty much dictating the formation of separate departments," O'Brien said. "It's a growing trend in the industry."

The Reds changed course last season, firing general manager Jim Bowden during the middle of a 93-loss season. The small-market club had failed to develop starting pitching through the draft and the farm system during Bowden's tenure.

O'Brien, who came to the Reds from Texas in November, made several moves Wednesday to try to strengthen the scouting department.

Johnny Almaraz became director of international scouting and player development. Almaraz, who has been with the Reds for 14 years, was a special assistant to Bowden last season.

Dean Taylor, the former Milwaukee general manager who was hired as a special assistant last month, will be in charge of professional scouting.

O'Brien, Reynolds and Taylor graduated from Ohio University in the 1970s. Reynolds met O'Brien there and stayed in touch over the years.

Reynolds, 50, has been with the Dodgers since 1978, involved with the minor leagues and scouting. Last year, he was their coordinator of minor league scouting and a special assignment scout.

"When I worked for Houston and ran their scouting operation and was competing against Terry in Los Angeles, I came to have a genuine respect for the type of operation he ran," O'Brien said. "The Dodgers were a legitimate competitor for free agent talent, and that was directly attributable to Terry and his efforts."

The Reds' decision to divide scouting responsibilities follows the direction of many other major league teams.

"At one time, I did all three here," Reynolds said during a telephone interview from California. "It's come to a point in the industry that I believe half the teams, and maybe more, have split it up. Because of the international game, you just can't do it all. Somebody is playing somewhere every day."

O'Brien is emphasizing player development as the Reds retrench from a dismal inaugural season at Great American Ball Park. After Bowden was fired in July, his assistants were ordered to trade veterans to save money and get pitching prospects.

For their second season at the new ballpark, the Reds are expected to slash their payroll, which was $57 million last opening day.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press