Update: Pro scouting dept. head Will Kuntz leaves Yankees for MLS

2014 Season Preview: Innings Eaters
Open Thread: 3/17 Camp Notes

5:00pm: Cashman confirmed long-time baseball operations staffer Steve Martone will replace Kuntz, according to Andrew Marchand. Kuntz will take over as the Director of Player Relations for the MLS, so he’ll deal with labor issues and their Collective Bargaining Agreement, stuff like that.

11:30am: Via George King: Will Kuntz, the Yankees’ manager of pro scouting, has left the club for an unknown position with Major League Soccer. “He loves soccer and that’s a huge job,” said Brian Cashman.

Kuntz took over as the head of the pro scouting department when Billy Eppler was promoted to assistant GM during the 2011-12 offseason. The team has not really unearthed any hidden gems like Bartolo Colon or Eric Chavez this last year or two, which may or may not have to do with Kuntz. Who the hell knows. No word on his replacement yet, but the Yankees almost always promote from within.

2014 Season Preview: Innings Eaters
Open Thread: 3/17 Camp Notes
  • robert aldo

    Leaving the Yankees for a job in soccer…What has this country come to??? smh

    • Mandy Stankiewicz

      He’s not going far, I bet he was hired by NYCFC, NY’s new MLS team…which the yanks own 25% of.

      • Mandy Stankiewicz

        Sorry~ I just read the update above

  • Jorge Steinbrenner


    (never heard of him)

  • TWTR

    I have no idea if he is any good, so I don’t have an opinion.

    • I’m One

      “I have no idea if he is any good, so I don’t have an opinion … but I thought I’d comment anyway.” :-)

      Interesting comment:

      “No word on his replacement yet, but the Yankees almost always promote from within.”

      Maybe it’s time to look outside. Of course, this is purely specutlation on my part that someone from outside of the organization may be a better choice. If they choose an internal candidate, I certainly hope it’s because hes’ truely the best choice for the position, and not just the team’s way of saying “Thanks for what you’ve done. Here’s a promotion.”

      • TWTR

        At least it was a baseball comment! ;)

        I am more concerned with their amateur scouting than major league scouting, but as with almost any position with the Yankees, given their resources, I would like to see them hire people who have demonstrated a track record of success.

        • I’m One

          Agree. Some of the comments today have been lacking in baseball content.

          Also agree with hiring/promoting someone with a proven track record of success.

          Not sure what’s more important; Amateur or pro scouting. Really depends on how much the team will rely on the drafts/international signings going forward. I put equal emphasis on them, as there will always be a need to add players from all levels. While it’s nice to be able to develop that next big star (and cheaper), as long as the Yankees are willing to pay free angents or trade some of their MiLB talent to fill gaps in their roster, I don’t really care where the player comes from. Therefore, both are important, INHO.

          • TWTR

            The reason I focus on the minor league side is that their failure in that area is what is causing them to continually spend big on the major league end.

            Since each recent new CBA has been designed to promote more parity by enabling smaller revenue teams to keep their best young players longer, that leaves successively less attractive major league options for the Yankees to pursue in free agency, and on balance, these players are older, so they will have to pay more dollars for more potential decline years.

            Really, what has made the Red Sox formidable is that they have now finally gotten better at development.

            So closing that gap, imo, becomes more imperative.

            • Jorge Steinbrenner

              They’d still spend, just perhaps not to the extent they’ve been in the past few years and not in the cyclical manner in which they’ve done so this year and, previously, 2009.

              We do a bit too much praising some organizations when they’re up and kicking the Yankees when they’re down sometimes. The Sox are a perfect example of that. The list of recent failed Sox prospects is not a small one.

              • TWTR

                I’m not kicking them. I am merely pointing out the one thing that needs to be fixed in order to really put the pressure on the rest of MLB.

              • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                I say this every time the minor league systems come up on RAB.

                95% of the commenters, to include myself, would sing a different tune if we paid as close attention to, and cared as much about, every other team’s systems.

              • Dick M

                You really want to go there? The Red Sox system vs the Yanks?

                We could learn a thing or 2 from the Sox.

                We would die to have young options like Bogaerts and Middlebrooks on the left side of the infield right now. They have like 8 top 100 prospects (how DO they do that picking at the bottom of the draft, I thought that was next to impossible:)). They don’t over pay in free agency for guys like Drew and Ellsbury — instead they reload with their own. And they have 2 home grown pitchers in Lester and Buchholtz the likes of which we haven’t developed since Andy Pettitte came up almost 20 yrs ago.

                I swear, do some of you guys work for the Yankees or something?

                • TWTR

                  They have done at least two things more often than the Yankees:

                  1) accumulate extra picks from free agent compensation (the Yankees did it last year, but usually not that frequently);

                  2) commit to giving young players a chance the ML level, even if it means accepting growing pains. That’s why I want to see them break-in Murphy at BUC instead of Cervelli. He’s the best ML ready position player they have.

                  • Jorge Steinbrenner

                    How many opportunities has each team had to collect compensation picks? Have compensation picks even been around long enough for a meaningful comparison to be made? The Yankees doing that last season also DOES count.

                    I don’t get into the BUC talk because I don’t say how any of the three guys gives you that significant an advantage over the other. I understand you’re talking more “on principle” here. Filling that position doesn’t illustrate that much to me.

                    • TWTR

                      I mentioned what the Yankees did last season, but it’s pretty clear that it wasn’t typical of the last five years.

                      If you don’t want to credit the draft pick compensation aspect to the Red Sox superior drafting/developing advantage, then their comparative edge is even more stark.

                      The point about BUC is that there is the one ML ready high value position player they have, and edge isn’t the point; development is, even if it means losing a slight edge.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      I like John Ryan Murphy. I like him a ton. He was always my sleeper out of all the catching prospects, and there’s now much more than a non-zero chance he may wind up being the best of all of them.

                      I also don’t think highest priority will be given to his development right now because the catcher position has been stabilized for the better part of the next five years.

                      I’ll point out, though, that it’s a different argument than me saying he shouldn’t have the opportunity. I’d love to see him back up McCann.

                      I get your point on principle, but not in practicality on this particular position.

                      If anything, pointing to the fifth starter’s spot, which the team did not pursue a veteran to cover and chose to allow for younger pitchers to compete for, would be the best example of what you’re saying to me.

                      I don’t see the recent examples of Red Sox superiority. WMB is still an enigma. Bogaerts has a handful of at-bats to his credit. Those two, JBJ, and Workman certainly have potential for this season and, yes, that’s more than we’ve got at the moment. A lot can, and will, change. I’m not banking on all four of those guys becoming solid MLB regulars. I also care more about what these lineups look like in the end and, yes, throughout the season, not the dates of birth on them.

                    • Dick M

                      Typical response from BS, I mean JS. The OP makes 2 reasoned points and BS/JS draws attention away from the heart of the matter because it doesn’t fit with his narrative.

                      Honestly, does anyone know for sure that these guys aren’t Yankee employees?

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      Actually, Dick, the OP and I are having a thoughtful discussion that continues to go above your head. Just stay over there. ———>

                    • Cheval Anonyme

                      God, I hate that “doesn’t fit his narrative” meme, which has caught on at this website like a disease. It’s a cheap put-down, used too often by people who have little constructive of their own to contribute.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      No biggie. Just another troll whose biggest contribution on here is calling others “Disgruntled Cashman Apologists” while adding nothing of his own.

                • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                  “They don’t over pay in free agency for guys like Drew and Ellsbury”

                  Yeah, apparently you weren’t watching until the beginning of last season.

                • Jorge Steinbrenner

                  That is the biggest bunch of selective horseshit I’ve ever read.

                  • Jim Is A (Bored) Peckerhead

                    And man, he should take that as a compliment. RAB is a mecca for selective horseshit.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      I just also noticed that he thought that, by using the Red Sox as an example of a system that’s unreasonably elevated at that moment in time when everything is trending right, he thought I was directly comparing the two organizations.

                      Reading iz hard.

                    • Dick M

                      To JS, you guys are delusional, not disgruntled. Please get it right. Delusional Cashman Apologists (DCAs) unite!!

                      And to Preston, where’s the WAR on the Yankeee drafts starting in 08?

                      I love it when you guys bring up Claiborne.

                    • Preston

                      I’m not bringing up Claiborne as some great success, but he’s made a positive contribution and made it through the minors quickly. The Red Sox can’t say the same thing for anyone in their drafts. Granted all of these drafts are way too young to be judged yet. As for the WAR totals for the Yankees from 2008-2013 I encourage you to look it up. Your arguments could use actual factual context. Otherwise you’re just going to have to take my word for it.

                  • Dick M

                    Help me out here. Why is it selective to say that they’ve developed Lester and Buchholtz and we haven’t had anyone comparable since Pettitte almost 20 yrs ago?

                    You know what, maybe I am selective, in the truest sense. It’s just there is so much to select from when taking the other side of the argument vs you guys.

                    • Preston

                      You’re comparing apples to oranges. Everyone on this site will admit that the Yankees during the dynasty years were terrible at drafting. From 1997-2003 they did not sign a single player that got 5 WAR during their MLB career, it was bad. Recently the Yankees haven’t been that bad. On drafts that we can judge 2005 and 2006 after Cashman took over were actually really good. The 2005 Red Sox draft just happened to be really, really good, they got Buchholz, Lowrie and Ellsbury. And their 2006 and 2007 drafts were solid as well, but not spectacular and most of the best players are playing elsewhere (Rizzo, Grandal, Masterson, and Josh Reddick). But do you want to know a little secret? From 2008-2013 Red Sox draft signees have accumulated negative WAR.
                      2008- 6 players have played totaling -1.7 WAR
                      2009- 3 player -.9 WAR
                      2010- 1 player -.1 WAR
                      2011- 1 player -.3 WAR
                      2012 and 2013 no debuts

                      Meanwhile the Yankees have had positive contributions from David Phelps, Adam Warren and Preston Claiborne. Yes this could all change and at the moment the Sox prospects are ranked higher than the Yankees. But it was only a year ago they were regarded similarly. And their big time can’t fail prospect is an IFA signing, an area I think we’ve done better than the Sox at recently (remember what happened to our last big can’t fail IFA I think his name was Buddha, or that’s just what he looks like now). So they might be slotting in young MLB ready guys like Bradley and Bogaerts to replace Drew and Ellsbury. But their is no guarantee that they’re actually going to produce anything.

                    • Jorge Steinbrenner

                      You just spent all that accurate research on Dick M.

                    • Preston

                      Honestly, it’s really simple to find. You just go to B-Ref’s draft history pages. More people should do it before they bemoan the terrible drafts that the Yankees have had. They’d stop bitching about Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes because they weren’t busts, they just weren’t booms.

          • Jorge Steinbrenner

            I’d say amateur scouting is a much bigger and complex endeavor. Of course, now that I type that, I think about all the ways pro scouting is much more than we immediately think it is.

            You have to invest strong in your minor league system, no matter what your overlying philosophy is. Even if the Yanks go 70/30 in favor of veteran talent, constantly playing the free agent market to fill a team is playing within a very limited pool.

            Here’s a thought: Imagine what this sport would look like, in 20 years or so, if baseball were to strip down its minor league system to one level or so. You’d basically lose half the pitches anyone ever throws.

            • I’m One

              My point is you will never fill out a roster from within your team’s ranks of amateur signings. You will always need to at least compliment those players with players from within the pro ranks. Those fill in pieces can make the difference between being adequate and being exceptional. Therefore, I place equal importance on the scouting departments.

  • Yankee$ (Formerly Pseudoyanks)

    Bring back Stick!

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      From Kuntz to Stick….

      • I’m One

        I just hope they didn’t “Stick it to Kuntz”.

        • Yankenstein

          Or “Stick it in Kuntz” (that’s what she said)

      • Tim

        Could they just turn the job over to Rusty Kuntz?

        • Joey in Jersey

          Or cousin Harry?

          • OB/GYN Kenobi


  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    The Yanks have done a good job at bringing in veteran depth guys on MiLB deals in recent years. No clue AT ALL whether this guy had anything to do with it, or if it’s just simply Cashman, but there has been a revolving door of capable players at all times coming through AAA.

    • Jarak

      Hip hip Jorge. Totally agree

  • Starks

    As a huge yankee and ny redbulls fan this is interesting. Looking forward to both the yankees season and mls season this year. Redbulls arent looking great after two games but its a long season. We shall see.

  • waldman’s beard

    i say we hire his brother rusty

    • waldman’s beard

      tim beat me to it…damn

  • Stratocaster

    I don’t always watch soccer… but when I do I always want to kill myself. Stay thirsty my friends!

    • Wheels

      I laughed.

  • Alex

    Well, maybe now they can replace all their scouts with computers

  • cooolbreeez

    Sounds like a pretty interesting guy if he has the expertise to go from soccer to baseball.

  • Greg

    now is the time to start an internet campaign to get Mike Axisa appointed. Can you imagine how good the chats would be if we could beat on Mike?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Jacoby Ellsbury would have to be kept in seclusion.

  • TWTR

    Via ESPN NY:

    Cashman said he has promoted Steve Martone, who had been the assistant of Baseball Operations, to Kuntz’ position. Cashman first said Kuntz was leaving in article in the New York Post.

  • OB/GYN Kenobi

    I can’t help but snicker at his name (Kuntz being my specialty and all).

  • Jas

    Don’t the Yankees partly own a soccer team now?

  • TWTR

    So is there any objective information on Martone’s skillset?

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      80 on scoutitude.

  • CONservative governMENt

    What is this guy’s middle name?

    Phil would be funny.

  • Stratocaster

    “Kuntz will take over as the Director of Player Relations for the MLS, so he’ll deal with labor issues”

    Kunitz will have to deal with labor issues? I’ll show myself out.

  • RetroRob

    What a Kuntz.