Braves fans have been eagerly awaiting news about free agency and the trade market this offseason and with good reason. The team is set to be competitive not just in 2019, but beyond and many fans are very curious to see what changes are in store for the roster.
However, one story that has been flying under the radar has been the shake-ups in the organization’s personnel. Earlier, we reported that there was quite a bit of turmoil on the minor league side of the team’s operations which has caused a fair bit of turmoil and angst amongst those in the organization due to the nature of the turnover there.
Now, it appears that more big changes are underway.
The #Braves have dismissed amateur scouting director Brian Bridges and senior advisor to amateur scouting Roy Clark, sources tell The Athletic.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 9, 2019
Bridges and Roy Clark were dismissed today after signing their respective one-year deals in October. Anthopoulos considers Bridges to be one of the best scouts/evaluators he's known. He just recently decided he wants somebody else handling the role's administrative duties. https://t.co/uuYY9gollR— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) January 9, 2019
To say that this is a surprising change is a bit of an understatement. Roy Clark has had a couple stints with the team serving in various capacities within the team’s amateur scouting department including as scouting director before he was hired away by the Nationals before a move to the Dodgers. He returned to the Braves in 2014.
Even more surprising than Clark’s dismissal, Brian Bridges has been a scout with the Braves since 2007 and has served as the team’s scouting director since 2014. Bridges was instrumental in helping to shape the team’s farm system into one of the absolute best in the league. There has certainly been some turmoil on the amateur side with the international and draft sanctions placed on the team last offseason, but as far as has been reported to this point Bridges has not been seen as at fault in any of that. There is also the question of Carter Stewart’s failed signing this past offseason although again, that seems to be more the result of physical that set off fire alarms than anything else.
While it isn’t unusual to see a new front office retool its scouting department, this is still very jarring news especially given the strength of the team’s farm system.