GM Anthopoulos hires special assistant
Brown leaves position with Nationals to join Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Dana Brown laughs at the memory. Back in 2002, when he served as director of scouting for the Montreal Expos, a young employee named Alex Anthopoulos would not stop bugging him about that year's First-Year Player Draft.
"When Alex came along, he was so energetic and passionate," recalled Brown, who was hired to be a special assistant to Anthopoulos, the Blue Jays' new general manager, on Tuesday. "He was putting us to shame -- the guys who had been in the game for a little while. He used to watch film and talk about players.
"I'll never forget, he loved Prince Fielder that year and he kept just buzzing my phone and yelling 'Prince Fielder, Prince Fielder, Prince Fielder.'"
With the fifth overall pick that June, the Expos went with pitcher Clint Everts, allowing the Brewers to grab Fielder with the Draft's seventh selection. Fielder has since evolved into one of baseball's premier sluggers and run producers. Everts needed arm surgery and still is working his way through the Minor Leagues.
"He's coming back right now, but he'll never be Prince Fielder," Brown said.
The passion that Anthopoulos -- hired to replace former Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi on Oct. 3 -- displayed seven years ago convinced Brown to hand him a full-time job only a few days after working with him in Montreal. Brown described Anthopoulos as having "contagious energy," and that is a main reason he is excited about joining Toronto.
In the second front-office shakeup for the Jays in the past week, the 42-year-old Brown left his position as scouting director for the Washington Nationals and officially joined Toronto as an assistant to Anthopoulos. Brown was still under contract with the Nationals (formerly the Expos), but Anthopoulos received permission from Washington to offer him a role in Toronto.
"I have a lot of friends in the game -- Dana is certainly one of them," Anthopoulos said. "That being said -- and I've told Dana this, too -- he's not here because he's my friend. He's here because I think he's a great baseball man. I think he's a great evaluator, and I think he's a great human being."
One of Brown's reasons for agreeing to join the Blue Jays is that he has aspirations of possibly becoming a general manager down the road. Brown has ample experience in scouting, but he knows he needs to learn more on the front-office side to pursue that goal. He is looking forward to learning from Anthopoulos.
"I'm going to lean on Alex," Brown said. "This is another step in terms of getting better and doing better and learning the things that you need to know to become a general manager."
With Toronto, the 32-year-old Anthopoulos also plans on leaning on Brown. In his new role, Brown will help evaluate Minor League players, assist in potential trades and team with Andrew Tinnish -- promoted to be the Jays' director of amateur scouting on Friday -- in preparing for the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.
Anthopoulos added that Brown also will assist in evaluating the Blue Jays' staff, including managers, coaches, scouts and players.
"It's going to be an employee-based organization," Anthopoulos said. "In addition to scouting players, we're going to be scouting staff members across the game, because we're going to build an organization that has the best employees going forward. That will result in the best players."
Prior to working for the Nationals/Expos organization, Brown served as the East Coast scouting coordinator and area scouting supervisor for the Pirates for eight seasons. Following a three-year playing career with the Phillies, Brown moved into player development as a Minor League coach for two seasons in 1992.
Anthopoulos said Sal Butera, who served as a special assistant to Ricciardi, will be moving into a new, undetermined scouting role with the Jays. Anthopoulos also is still searching for someone to help assume the duties he held as an assistant GM under Ricciardi.
"I think my old job is going to be split up a little bit between [assistant GM Tony LaCava] and a new person that I'd like to either bring in or promote somebody from the internal side," Anthopoulos said. "I'm not in a rush to do that. With these type of hires, I really want to be diligent about it."
Beyond adding Brown to the front office, the Jays also appointed Ryan Mittleman to the position of coordinator of amateur scouting and named Harry Einbinder the coordinator of professional scouting. Mittleman spent the past four seasons working within Toronto's scouting department, while Einbinder had worked in the Jays' ticket department since 2005 and also served as an assistant in baseball research.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.