It wasn't long ago that Mariners vice president of international operations Bob Engle announced he was leaving the organization, causing something of a stir. Engle, of course, played a part in the Mariners' signing Felix Hernandez, and that was enough on its own to make his departure feel like a real loss. In the aftermath, people were left to wonder about several things. Would the Mariners as an organization become worse at international scouting as a consequence? Would the Mariners never again have another head of international operations? Two things. In the aftermath, people were left to wonder about two things.
Of course the second thing was just silly. Why would the Mariners go forward with no one leading their international scouting department? That wouldn't even make any sense. The Mariners just needed to hire a new dude and on Monday they announced that they've done so, with Tim Kissner having been named director of international operations. Why director, and not vice president? Probably because who cares is why. Kissner will oversee everything and hopefully he won't pull an Engle and leave the organization tomorrow. Let's just go ahead and get this out of the way now:
Man: Who's that over there, by that woman?
Zduriencik: Oh that's just Tim Kissner.
Man: It sure doesn't look like that's what they're doing!!
I would've spent more time developing that into a better dialogue joke but after a short amount of time I realized all of them were going to be horrible. Hopefully that's it for that urge, forever. Kissner's scouting career began with the Indians in 1999, and he spent a decade with the Phillies. Most recently, he worked for the Cubs as their West Coast crosschecker. A quote from Jack Zduriencik clues us in on Kissner's qualifications for the Mariners' position. To summarize:
- not lethargic
Tim is a high-energy guy
- has done baseball before
with 14 years of scouting experience.
- not a bad addition
He is a nice addition to our organization,
- not a bad evaluator
with a strong ability to evaluate
- not a bad supervisor
- not lazy
paired with a very strong work ethic.
For Kissner's part, he's thanking the Mariners for the opportunity by immediately going on a tropical vacation.
"I am very excited to join the Mariners organization," Kissner said. "[...]I leave for the Dominican Republic tonight."
I always figured you should wait at least a month or two before requesting PTO, but apparently Tim Kissner doesn't have any scruples. What do we know about the Mariners' new director of international operations? We know that he is unscrupulous. That seems like a negative character trait but maybe it serves one well in Kissner's line of work. International business is oftentimes shady business and in shady business, you can't act according to "morals" or "ethics". You just have to Get The Fucking Player Signed. GTFPS. Bob Engle came up with that.
Incidentally, for those of you hoping the Mariners develop more dinger hitters, Tim Kissner was born in Homer, Alaska. The second thing doesn't have anything to do with the first thing but I bet you were expecting me to make a joke. I always have to keep you guys on your toes. Game theory applies to baseball blogging just like it applies to baseball games and regular games.
Obviously, this is another one of those situations where we can't really evaluate the decision. I don't know if Tim Kissner is going to be a good fit, and I don't know how we're going to know whether or not Kissner has been a good fit later on, short of his being fired by the team. Throughout Kissner's scouting past, he's had successes and failures, but everyone has successes and failures and the sample sizes are so woefully limited, the variables so numerous. We like to associate these guys with the stars that they've scouted and signed. How often are there stars, really? How much of their development is someone else's responsibility? Who's to say whether Felix Hernandez would have become Felix Hernandez had the Mariners had different instructors throughout the minor leagues?
These guys, guys like Engle and Kissner, they're supposed to identify and sign young talent. But the way that talent actually develops -- it's not entirely out of these guys' hands, but in large part it is. Which is why our evaluations have to be so limited, if we make evaluations at all. I think as long as Kissner's in the organization, we should assume he's doing fine. If he gets let go, we should assume that he wasn't. If he leaves of his own volition, we should assume something else. You know how it goes.
Tim Kissner. Learn his name. You might never know whether he's good, bad, or somewhere in between, but better to know his name than to not know it. You already know so much about the Seattle Mariners organization. What's a few more letters?