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Phillies hire Baltimore's Joe Jordan to oversee farm system

If the Phillies' priority in the coming years is to infuse younger talent at the major-league level, they will do it with Joe Jordan overseeing the development of the farm system.

(Gail Burton/AP)
(Gail Burton/AP)Read more

If the Phillies' priority in the coming years is to infuse younger talent at the major-league level, they will do it with Joe Jordan overseeing the development of the farm system.

Jordan was hired as director of player development Wednesday after seven years as the Baltimore Orioles' director of amateur scouting. He replaces Chuck LaMar as the top lieutenant in charge of the minor leagues.

"He'll treat people right," said Benny Looper, the Phillies' assistant general manager for player personnel. "He's a good leader. He has a scouting background. We think that's important in this role. We want to be right on our own players. It's moving prospects when they need to be moved and challenging them when they need to be challenged."

Jordan, 49, was one of six candidates interviewed by the Phillies. He will report to Looper, who started following Jordan when he was a high school catcher in Oklahoma.

His task is clear: The Phillies must develop prospects from a system that has been depleted through trades of many of its top players. There is a dearth of position players at the top of the system, but young pitching is a strength.

In Baltimore, Jordan was tasked with drafting to fill the system. With the Phillies, he will be asked to oversee the development of the prospects after they are drafted. Marti Wolever will continue to run the Phillies' amateur draft process.

That transition will be a substantial one for Jordan, Looper said. But the Phillies were impressed with Jordan's personality and believe he can handle the management aspect. Jordan did not return requests for comment Wednesday.

"He's open," Looper said. "People will be free to give their opinions."

LaMar, who resigned in early September, was an assistant general manager under Ruben Amaro Jr., and the two negotiated a divorce when philosophical differences arose. Jordan will not inherit the assistant GM title that LaMar held.

The Phillies' minor-league system has improved in recent years, according to Baseball America's annual preseason rankings. Ranked 22d in baseball in 2008, it was No. 10 before this season. However, top prospects Jonathan Singleton (first baseman), Domingo Santana (rightfielder), and Jarred Cosart (righthanded pitcher) were traded to Houston during the season for Hunter Pence.

Jordan's tenure in Baltimore was met with mixed reviews. He annually drafted at the top and chose players like Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, and Manny Machado, one of the game's top prospects. He also had many high-profile misses, like any baseball drafter experiences. But Jordan was also criticized for a lack of depth in the Orioles farm system - although development was not his primary task.

Looper said he has followed Jordan's career closely for quite some time; both are Oklahomans. While a scout for the Montreal Expos, Jordan tutored a young pitcher from Oklahoma named Josh Johnson. Now the ace of the Marlins staff, Johnson learned his cutter from Jordan and credited much of his pitching development to him. Florida later hired Jordan as a scout and drafted Johnson.

Jordan spent eight years with Montreal and Florida in various scouting capacities before ascending to the director job in Baltimore. His contract with the Orioles was set to expire this winter, and the team had not yet made a decision to renew him because of uncertainty in the front office. Baltimore is without a GM.

Jordan's first task with the Phillies could be to replace his top two minor-league managers.

Mark Parent, who managed at double-A Reading in 2011, accepted a job as bench coach for the Chicago White Sox. Triple-A manager Ryne Sandberg could also leave for a major-league job. If Theo Epstein completes his move as GM of the Chicago Cubs as expected, Sandberg could be a top candidate there. Epstein attempted to hire Sandberg as triple-A manager for Boston last winter.

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