The Organization Man

Twins Director of Scouting Mike Radcliff herds the bird dogs and keeps the information flowing

CP: Aside from the character issue you just talked about, what seems to be the best predictor for success? Is there a trait or something you can identify, even if we're talking about 5 percent or 8 percent success? When you see certain boxes checked on the report or certain words used by your guys, what are the ones that get you most excited?

Radcliff: That's an interesting question. I guess I'd have to say there is a different emphasis on different levels of players. It sounds simple, but in the end, for a major league team to be successful first of all you've got to have talent. There is no way around that. Take the Twins. We've got five of the best players in the entire game on our team right now: Mauer and Morneau, Santana and Liriano, plus Nathan. Those are top-notch. And to be a World Series-type good team, you've got to have that kind of talent.

You have to be willing to take risks. You have got to learn from history, no question. But it's baseball. If you fail 70 percent of the time, you're still a good player. In scouting, let's take the draft for instance, which is one avenue of player procurement: It is not about being right on everything. You just need to be right more often than the guys working for the 29 other teams.

Courtesy of the Minnesota Twins

CP:How much of your responsibility is oversight, and how much is actual scouting?

Radcliff: Some general managers want a posse around them all the time—telling them how good they are, I guess. Terry isn't like that. I'm in this building twice a year. I'm in here for the draft for a week and I come in here during this time of year to watch our big league team in action for a few days. If I show up, it's, "What are you doing here?"

Terry came over here when this organization was at the bottom, when he was the scouting director who worked for Andy [MacPhail]. He had to let a lot of older gentlemen go and add young personnel. I'm just a maintenance guy, to be honest with you, which is certainly not an easy job, but it is not like what Terry had to go through, starting anew. I haven't had to let too many people go or hire too many guys. We've worked together for a long time and can anticipate each other's moves and thoughts and beliefs. I'm really lucky to have this job.

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