A day after seeing third base coach Trent Jewett leave to join the Mariners, another Nats official is moving west.
Nationals assistant general manager and VP of player personnel Roy Clark is heading to Los Angeles to join the Dodgers front office. Keith Law of ESPN first reported the news.
Clark spent four years with the Nationals after serving as the scouting director with the Atlanta Braves. To say the Nats are better off now than they were in 2009 when he came to Washington would be an understatement.
Since Clark joined the Nats the team has enjoyed three consecutive seasons of 80 wins or more, including their MLB-best 98 wins in 2012. And much of what the Nationals have become has had to do with player development and through the draft.
In the four drafts with Clark in the Nats front office, Washington took Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Alex Meyer, Brian Goodwin and Lucas Giolito as their first round picks. Harper and Rendon moved quickly through the team's farm system and are now in the big leagues. Meyer netted them starting center fielder Denard Span, and Goodwin and Giolito are among the team's brightest young prospects.
Clark built a reputation for developing young pitchers in Atlanta and helped the Nationals tremendously in that department. Beyond the young core in their starting rotation, the Nats have seen unheralded prospects Tanner Roark and Taylor Jordan blossom into legitimate big league arms. Ross Detwiler was also somewhat salvaged as a young pitching talent since Clark came over, after the lefty struggled for several years since being taken 6th overall in 2007. Two years ago they also used prospects Tommy Milone and Brad Peacock to land All-Star Gio Gonzalez in a trade.
It will be difficult to judge in the immediate future how much Clark will be missed by the Nationals, but they are likely sad to see him go. The Nats were ranked as the best farm system in baseball in 2012 by Baseball America just five years after being considered among the worst. That improvement likely had a lot to do with Clark and his role in the front office.