Danny Haas, 47, was hired by the Nationals in early October as vice president of amateur scouting (also known as director of scouting) as part of Washington’s front office shakeup after serving as a special assignment scout for the Arizona State D-backs. was adopted as. From 2019 to 2023.
Haas worked as a varsity cross-checker for the Baltimore Orioles (2012-2014). Since then, O’s has been promoted only once. boston red soxProspect’s playing career ended in 2001, and he quickly transitioned into scouting, taking on the role of “Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations (2015-18).”
But it was during his playing days that he first met Mike Rizzo, the Nationals’ general manager and president of baseball operations, and now his boss in the nation’s capital.
What are the details of that first meeting?
“It’s probably a Midwest League Low-A baseball game,” Haas told reporters when speaking at the Winter Meetings in early December.
“He was there with his son, so I gave him a bat and some balls. [Rizzo] He was a Red Sox scout and I was a Red Sox minor league player. So I think it’s definitely going to be Battle Creek, Michigan. ”
How do you think Rizzo evaluated him as a player at the time?
“Oh,” Haas laughed. “He couldn’t do that – I hope he thinks I’m a better scout than he was when I was a player, that’s for sure.”
The opportunity to join Rizzo and work with him in Washington to help return the Nationals to a competitive major league team was one Haas couldn’t pass up.
Working with Lizzo “has always been a personal dream,” Haas said.
“I’ve known him since 1997. I was 22 years old. I played with some of the players he signed. And when I was with the Red Sox, he actually So he tried to get me into the D-backs. So the connection goes back to my dad and stuff like that. I’ve known him for a long time. I respect it and look forward to the challenge here.”
“I think it’s humbling and exciting,” Rizzo said of Haas’ comments about wanting to collaborate.
“If we can bring in someone as sought-after as he is with his skillset and in-game reputation, we feel very strongly about him coming here because of the way we approach business. I’m glad that I was holding you.”
“I’ve known many of the Nationals players for a while,” Haas said of his new colleagues, “and I’m looking forward to contributing and getting back to winning.”
Haas’ hiring was announced along with the news that the club has brought on board Brad Ciolek as senior director of amateur scouting, while also hiring Reid Dunn as the new assistant director of amateur scouting and national cross-checker.
Rizzo said during the winter meetings that he wants to see Haas and other recruiters in the front office continue to do what they did to get the job as they get accustomed to D.C. and get the job.
“I think we’re going to let him be who he is,” the GM said of Haas. “you know what i mean?
“Our hiring goal has always been to hire great people and have them do the job. And I think we’ve shown that we’ve done that in the past, and Danny, Brad, When the lead, and their track record, I think – I think we brought them in to do their job, so we’re going to let them do their thing.
“Obviously this is a team effort and we’re all going to get input on it, but there’s a reason we brought him here.”
“We’re very collaborative,” Haas said of how things will work in the draft room going forward.
“This work has certainly reached a point where it is bigger than just one person. Therefore, all voices must be weighed.
“At the end of the day, someone has to make the call. But this is a big process with a lot of input from a lot of people.”
Rizzo was Arizona’s scouting director from 2000 to 2006 before joining Washington’s front office, first as an assistant to the former GM and then as general manager in 2009.
He knows where the money stops when it finally comes time to make his draft picks.
“I think more people will be making decisions,” he said.
“I think Danny at the top runs the department, but there are a few people who have a huge influence on his assistants and how we draft.”
However, the final decision will be made by the scouting director, and Rizzo would be wise to intervene there.
“Yeah, I didn’t like how they interfered with my drafts, so I don’t really interfere with these drafts,” Rizzo said.
“The amateur scouting season is a dynamic in itself, and it takes a special eye to see it. This is different scouting than international or professional scouting, so it requires a very unique skill set.”
He added: “The delicate balance between being president and GM is letting go of the reins and trusting your people.”