Braves make five new hires in baseball operations
ATLANTA -- Former D-backs assistant general manager Billy Ryan is among the latest additions to the Braves' baseball operations department, which has been reconstructed over the past six weeks.
The Braves announced that Ryan will serve as the director of baseball operations. Other additions announced on Thursday afternoon included Tom Battista (national crosschecker), Marc Russo (director of international operations), Mike Silvestri (director of Latin American scouting) and Lebi Ochoa (senior advisor in player development). The club also recently promoted Dixie Keller to manager of scouting operations.
Before accepting the role as president of baseball operations on Oct. 23, John Hart worked with team president John Schuerholz and assistant general manager John Coppolella to complete a reconstruction process that began after Frank Wren was relieved of his duties as general manager on Sept. 22.
In early October, the Braves welcomed two veteran scouts -- Gordon Blakeley and Roy Clark -- to the front office to serve as special assistants. Brian Bridges was promoted to serve as the director of scouting. Dave Trembley was brought back to the organization to serve as the director of a player development department that also recently added Jonathan Schuerholz, who had been serving as a manager in Atlanta's farm system.
The Braves have added nine new members to their front office since the regular season concluded. Hart, who joined the organization as a special advisor last winter, and Coppolella have been handling the duties of a general manager. There has not been any indication whether Coppolella might end up getting the title before the 2015 season begins.
Like Coppolella, the 34-year-old Ryan is widely regarded as one of baseball's top young minds. Before serving as the D-backs' assistant GM the past four seasons, he spent three seasons in the Commissioner's Office focusing on salary and contract administration. He was a scouting supervisor with the Indians in 2007 and had ties to Hart while serving in the baseball operations and scouting departments for the Rangers from 2005-06.
With Clark back to oversee the scouting department, Battista returns to the organization after spending the past five seasons as an area scout for the Red Sox. During his previous tenure with the Braves (2003-09), Battista was credited with signing Freddie Freeman, Kris Medlen and Tommy Hanson.
Russo spent the past two seasons as an international crosschecker for the Astros. The 48-year-old scout served as an area scout for the Cubs (1996-200) and then spent the next 12 seasons with the Angels, who employed him as an East Coast supervisor, a Major League scout and the director of international scouting.
Silvestri, 46, spent the past three seasons with the Mets, serving as an amateur scout and an international crosschecker. The Angels utilized him as an amateur scout and area supervisor from 2002-10.
Ochoa's rich scouting career with the Marlins led him to be credited with the signings of Hanley Ramirez, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez and Anibal Sanchez. The 59-year-old Venezuelan began his international scouting days with the Expos in 1987. He served as the Red Sox's director of Latin American scouting from 1997-2001.