If ever there was a royal court jester to Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, it was Bob Engle.
Even court jesters have a lifeline.
The Mariners announced that the longtime scout and vice president of international operations will be leaving the club after 13 years of service.
“I want to thank Bob for all of his efforts on behalf of the Mariners,” GM Jack Zduriencik said in a statement. “He, and the International group that he led, have done important work in identifying and signing players from around the world for the Mariners, including Felix Hernandez, Jose Lopez and many others that have made an impact on our Major League roster.”
Engle, who was hired under the Pat Gillick regime in 2000, recently garnered Scout of the Year Honors at the MLB Winter Meetings. His work brought the likes of Hernandez, Michael Pineda, Erasmo Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera and Shin-Soo Choo to the majors.
Before his time with the Mariners, Engle spent time as the Director of Scouting for the Toronto Blue Jays. Gillick served as the Blue Jays GM from 1978 to 1994. Engle’s scouting gems with Toronto included Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter and Pat Hentgen – who, like Hernandez, were all Cy Young winners.
The scouting veteran, 66, is currently deciding whether to retire or pursue an opportunity with another team, and remains fond of his time in the Emerald City.
“We had such a great group, such a tremendous group of scouts, particularly the people in the two academies,” he said. “You don’t hear much about them, but they did yeoman’s work. That, to me, was the most fulfilling, the business relationships that grew into friendships. You can’t measure that.”
Engel acknowledged that while no one thing led to his dismissal, he could sense a changing of the guard at work.
“Sometimes, organizations want to change or realign,” he said. “Perhaps it was time for them. It’s a perfect time to step back and step away for a little.”
Hidden amongst news of his departure was word that Patrick Guerrero, the Mariners Latin American supervisor, has been dismissed. Guerrero and Engel worked closely together.
Baseball America says the decision to relieve Guerrero came from upper level management.
in recent years the team has had issues involving Dominican players. The Mariners signed Dominican shortstop Esteilon Peguero for $2.9 million in December 2009, then moved to reduce his bonus money to $1.1 million a short time after. The Mariners faced a public relations nightmare after it was revealed that young prospect George Soto, the son of prominent Dominican trainer Enrique Soto, was given $700,000 to sign with the team after he engaged in false representation.
In light of the events, the team is in the midst of building a new facility in the Dominican Republic. But those plans will not include two of their top scouting officials.
Seattle finished the season fourth in the American League West at 75-87.