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Nats Hire New Point Man For Dominican

The Washington Nationals hired Johnny DiPuglia as their new Latin American operations director on Wednesday, charging him with the substantial task of rebuilding the team's international scouting system.

DiPuglia's hiring, first reported by, represents a small coup for General Manager Mike Rizzo, according to sources familiar with Latin American scouting. DiPuglia, who coordinated Latin American scouting for the Boston Red Sox, is well respected within international baseball circles, and has been dealing with Dominican-based scouting since 1995.

The Nationals are only now beginning to recover from the scandal that decimated their international operations. The team learned in February that prospect Esmailyn Gonzalez -- their highest-profile Latin America prospect, issued a $1.4-million signing bonus -- was in fact four years older than they believed. His real name: Carlos Alvarez.

As a part of the fallout from that revelation and a related federal investigation into Latin American scouting practices, Jim Bowden resigned as general manager and Washington relocated its Dominican scouting academy to temporary headquarters.

After meeting with the Lerner family and Nationals President Stan Kasten, DiPuglia was convinced that the team was again serious about spending money to sign top-rate international prospects.

The Nationals, according to a source, are also close to finalizing a location for their academy in the Dominican, in Boca Chica.

DiPuglia will be responsible for much that follows. He'll hire scouting staffers who will canvass Colombia, Curacao, Venezuela, Nicaragua and perhaps Mexico. He'll also hire a field staff for the Nationals' team in the Dominican Summer League, which will operate from the new Boca Chica academy.

The hiring of DiPuglia, 46, has not yet been made official, but comes in the same week that the Nationals added an assistant general manager and a new scouting director to their front office.

DiPuglia, who is bilingual, started as an area scout for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990. But in 1995, he was given responsibilities for Latin America. Ever since, he has lived in Miami.

By Chico Harlan  |  October 14, 2009; 8:50 PM ET
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Next: And on Day 2 ... [Updated]


Before we had a child trying to raise a village, now it seems there will be a whole village raising the child.

Posted by: natbiscuits | October 14, 2009 10:25 PM | Report abuse

indeed, biscuit.

This guy Rizzo, man. He can deal. I'm starting to believe how well respected the man must be.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 14, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

We're up to 14,000 a night watching Sunshine and Dribble. They should ask for a raise. Oh, wait a minute. it's the Lerners we're talking about here.

TV ratings for the Baltimore Orioles pretty much held steady during the past season, when compared with 2008. A slight uptick in households watching, but a slight decline in overall ratings. The Washington Nationals were the biggest gainer, posting a 67 percent increase from last year, even though the team had the worst record in baseball. Still, the Nationals attracted only about 14,000 households per game, dead last among MLB teams, while the Orioles averaged 34,000. In fact, we're told that the Orioles attracted 16,000 households from the DC market, 14 percent better than the Nationals did in their home market. Both teams are carried by the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. There's more from the Balto Biz Journal.....

Posted by: Sunshine_Bobby_Carpenter_Is_Too_Pessimistic_For_Me | October 14, 2009 10:39 PM | Report abuse

WOW Chico scooped Brian! Way to do Chico!

Posted by: periculum | October 14, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Hey everybody, with an entire Fall and Winter to stew I've decided to do some analysis on how I would fix the Nationals. I've started a blog that I hope to post on a couple of times a week:

Let me know what you think.



Posted by: rnkorby | October 14, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I think it mighttt be John.

Posted by: AnonymousSources | October 15, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

"DiPuglia's hiring, first reported by . . ."

He's the link to the original source, SI:

Posted by: VladiHondo | October 15, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

"DiPuglia will be responsible for much that follows. He'll hire scouting staffers who will canvass Colombia, Curacao, Venezuela, Nicaragua and perhaps Mexico."

LOVE IT!!! Especially Nicaragua since thats where my Mother is from and shes the one responsible for making me a baseball fan!

Posted by: FloresFan | October 15, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Glad they hired someone to get the show rolling down there, but not sure that DiPuglia should be seen as some great hire at this point. It is not like the Red Sox produced some big stock of home grown Latin players under his guidance or anything.

Posted by: dfh21 | October 15, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

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