Rodriguez was brought in by his upline bosses, Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jeff Luhnow and Vice President/General Manager John Mozeliak, to further lead the organization's international scouting and their operations, including the academies in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela, budgeting and visas.
This is a key role in an area that Luhnow had revitalized since joining the Cardinals five years ago. It only made sense as the breadth of responsibilities grew that Luhnow would delegate aspects of his mission to other qualified leaders. One example is Juan Mercado, also hired late last year away from the New York Mets to become the organization's Latin American scouting supervisor.
Such is also clearly the case with Moisés Rodriguez, who was seemingly born and bred for this job.
The bilingual native of Hato Rey, Puerto Rico came to the USA at the age of 11 and was raised on the lower east side of Manhattan. Rodriguez played baseball and basketball while attending an upstate New York prep school and is a graduate of the University of Connecticut with a degree in communications.
The now-35-year-old was hired by the Cardinals away from Major League Baseball's central offices in New York, where he had been employed since 1998. Rodriguez began as Assistant, Media Relations and Player Records for the National League and moved into baseball operations for MLB in 2000. There he handled waivers and player transactions and came into regular contact with then-Cardinals assistant general manager Mozeliak.
Rodriguez' most recent title with MLB was manager, international baseball operations, where he approved player contracts, managed immigration as well as the posting process. As a result, he was a central figure in the administration of several high-profile situations, including the Daisuke Matsuzaka competition.
He also oversaw compliance of MLB's international scouting and player signing policies and handled all Winter League issues related to MLB players, again lining up strongly with his St. Louis responsibilities.
Here in part one of this two-part audio interview, we get to know Rodriguez. He begins with his most-recent MLB role, describes his educational background, how he got into the business and his earlier assignments that led to his employment with the Cardinals. I caught him during a break at Major League Baseball's Scout School, which he was attending.
Though his main focus is on international scouting and administration abroad, Rodriguez also explains how the organization makes their winter ball placement decisions for players and coaches.
In the second article in this series, Rodriguez will discuss the primary aspects of his current job. We start with scouting coverage, the focus on Venezuela including an update on the new academy facilities, the increasing international bonus structure and what MLB and the Cardinals are doing to curb the use of performance enhancing substances by these youngsters.
We close with the challenges inherent in this type of "raw scouting" and the Cardinals' increased comfort and therefore, willingness to compete financially now and in the future in the international player markets.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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