Nats add Watson to pro scouting department

Nats add Watson to pro scouting department

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals have hired De Jon Watson, the D-backs' former senior vice president of baseball operations, to their pro scouting department as a special assistant to general manager Mike Rizzo.

Watson spent the past two seasons overseeing Arizona's scouting and player development departments. He worked closely with then-chief baseball officer Tony La Russa and then-general manager Dave Stewart before the D-backs decided not to pick up Watson's contract option in September and eventually parted ways with Stewart in an effort to overhaul their regime.

Watson played a key role in Arizona's focus on the international market and was instrumental in the signing of outfielder Yasmany Tomas and right-hander Yoan Lopez from Cuba.

The Nationals have become more aggressive in the international market during the past few years -- signing players such as No. 1 prospect Victor Robles, Reynaldo Lopez, who was traded to the White Sox in December, Wilmer Difo, Pedro Severino and No. 12 prospect Juan Soto. Last year was their most aggressive yet, as they surpassed their international bonus pool to sign three highly ranked shortstops.

Watson could add to that new refocused commitment, and he will likely work alongside international director Johnny DiPuglia, scouting director Kris Kline and farm director Mark Scialabba as well as Rizzo.

Watson has 31 years of experience in professional baseball and had spent eight seasons with the Dodgers prior to joining the D-backs, serving as the vice president of player development and as an assistant general manager.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.