Here's another great article about the Pirates' efforts in Latin America. Dejan Kovacevic suggests that the Pirates' new Dominican facility will be among the best in the business. On top of that, the Dominican has become a major priority for Bob Nutting, who has tripled Latin scouting director Rene Gayo's signing budget and has taken a personal interest in the area:
It was Nutting early in 2007 who decided, with no input from then-general manager Dave Littlefield, to react to independent word about the Pirates' lagging facilities and productivity in the region by arranging a visit. That happened in May of that year, with Littlefield ordered to come along in a look-at-this-mess-you've-made spirit. To boot, before the party left Pittsburgh, Littlefield was instructed to announce the trip to the media in a clubhouse gathering that might have been one of the most uncomfortable public moments of his tenure...
If any attempt had been made by others in the front office to hide any aspects of the Latin American operation from Nutting -- and there is speculation that was the case -- he apparently smoked it out.
"If we had on our list to show him this, he wanted to see that," Gayo recalls. "And when we went to look for places for the new one, it must have been 14 different ones that we saw."...
By all accounts, Nutting took to Gayo right away and promised to make changes.
It's hard not to get excited about this. And it's funny to imagine Littlefield squirming about having to talk to the media about the job he'd done.
Go read the whole thing. Also be sure to check out Kovacevic's blog, which contains a lot more great stuff that didn't fit in the articles.