Pittsfield's Ricciarini leaves Astros for Marlins

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PITTSFIELD — Paul Ricciarini is looking for a new challenge in baseball, and the Pittsfield native thinks he's found one.

Ricciarini, 65, has left the Houston Astros organization to join the Miami Marlins.

"After 17 years w/the organization, Astros have lost highly respected Paul Ricciarini, most recently a pro scout, to Marlins for a senior position," the Houston Chronicle's Evan Dreilich wrote in a tweet Monday afternoon.

Ricciarini, reached late Monday afternoon, will be a senior advisor in personnel with the Marlins. It's part of a restructuring of the team's baseball operations, which includes new manager Don Mattingly. Ricciarini will be working alongside Michael Hill, the Marlins president of baseball operations.

"Mike Hill, who I scouted at Harvard," Ricciarini said. "I really, really respect him totally. He's a good one."

Hill just finished his first season as the president of baseball operations in Miami. He's running baseball operations since the Marlins let go of former general manager Dan Jennings last month.

Ricciarini was one of three professional scouts to leave the Houston organization. Jason Lefkowitz is now a pro scout with the Seattle Mariners and scout Charlie Aliano has also left Houston. It is part of the normal ebb and flow of baseball front office personnel.

The Pittsfield native spoke with the Marlins last month about the job and was hired last week. His actual title has not yet been determined.

Ricciarini has spent the last 17 years with Houston. Before that, he was with the New York Mets for eight seasons as a scout, a national cross checker and East Region supervisor. He also worked with Cincinnati, Toronto and Atlanta. Among the players Ricciarini has scouted included Dalton native Turk Wendell, George Bell, Kelly Gruber and Mark Wohlers.

"What they wanted to do was have some new voices and voices of reason, so to speak, in baseball operations," said Ricciarini.

Ricciarini will be working alongside Miami vice president of player personnel Jeff McAvoy, who he's known for years and director of pro scouting David Keller.

The newest Marlin said that it was not a case of him wanting out of Houston. Miami spoke with him about the new position.

"Oh no, not openly. Sometimes these things happen. I've turned down jobs in the past," the Pittsfield native said. "I had quite a bit invested [in Houston] timewise and with relationships.

"[Miami] said we'd like you to come over here and we'd like you to have a voice, be a voice of experience."

Ricciarini said he would be doing "nuts and bolts" scouting, and will be working along with the team's recently boosted analytics department. He said it's a nice balance of both worlds.

"It's broad-based. It could be anywhere," said Ricciarini, adding that it's about nuts and bolts scouting. "There's going to be some coverage, but there's going to be a lot of improvisational stuff.

"There's some time spent mentoring and sitting in with some of the younger scouts, giving them direction and whatnot. I'm excited, honestly, I really am."

Contact Howard Herman at 413-496-6253.


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