The San Diego Padres seem to be taking international development as a completely comprehensive initiative. They announced earlier this week that former Dodgers closer Takashi Saito will join the front office as in intern for the Padres baseball operations department. He will learn about scouting, player development, and other front office tasks as he seeks to learn more about the business side of baseball.
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Logan White, the Padres director of player personnel was in the Dodgers front office initially when Saito signed a minor league contract in 2006. Saito became their closer by that May and made the All Star Team in 2007. Despite starting in MLB at 36, he was able to finish out seven major league seasons. He ended it all with 84 saves and a 2.34 ERA.
White for one is excited about this opportunity both for Saito and the Padres:
“Even though we know about and love Japan, I think Takashi brings something to San Diego that is above and beyond, helping us understand the culture and building the network. We want to constantly improve the Padre brand in Asia, particularly in Japan.”
Certainly international scouting is an area that has net great returns in past seasons, and the Padres see this partnership as one more step towards working closer with Japanese partners. Padres fans remember fondly Akinori Otsuka who was a reliever from 2004-06 as one of the more recent prominent Japanese born Padres players.
Saito certainly comes with high praise from White, who went to say about Saito that “He wants to learn about the American game from a front-office perspective and see how that helps him in the future. He’s a great person with great intelligence. With his personality, I think he has a lot of ingredients to be great at whatever he wants to do.”
It will be exciting to see what Saito does with this opportunity and how it benefits all parties involved in the future.