White Sox dismiss Wilder, two scouts
Director of player personnel let go for actions in Latin America
SAN FRANCISCO -- David Wilder, the White Sox senior director of player personnel, had his employment terminated by the organization Friday.
This move clearly cut general manager Ken Williams deeply, both as a boss and as a friend, judging by his reaction during a 10-minute interview with Chicago media prior to his team's Interleague opener with the Giants.
"On a professional level and personal level, this hurts," said Williams, after pausing for approximately 15 seconds to compose this particular answer. "But you will never see me, even though there were obviously some things that have drawn us to this day, you're not going to hear me say a disparaging word about any of the people who are involved in this, simply because we're going to maintain a level of professionalism."
Wilder had supervised the club's Latin American operations since the fall of 2004, which also included responsibilities concerning the team's involvement in a new state-of-the art academy in the Dominican Republic. But Wilder officially was dismissed for actions in Latin America that were violations of club policy and standards.
Full-time scout Victor Mateo and part-time scout Domingo Toribio also were let go for the same reasons. The terminations resulted from findings of a two-month investigation conducted by Major League Baseball's Department of Investigations. The White Sox had requested MLB's independent investigation of the club's Latin American scouting operations, once questions were raised internally.
According to Williams, the "nuts and bolts" of this investigation have been ongoing since Spring Training. These findings have been turned over to federal authorities, with the White Sox unable to make any further comment as to the specifics until the conclusion of the investigation.
"Our internal investigation is over," Williams said. "This is an external investigation. I can't discuss any matter, anything beyond what I just said."
In preparation for being part of this Dominican Academy, Williams said the organization has been working for the better part of two years on setting up a plan to maximize the talent coming from this region. That line of thinking led to Rafael Santana being put in charge of the Academy for the White Sox, while Sammy Mejia will run the Dominican Summer League team.
Williams said this problem handled by the organization and by baseball will not hamper the White Sox in moving forward with that plan.
"We already have," Williams said. "[Director of Minor League instruction] Buddy Bell and [senior director of Minor League operations] Grace Zwit just left there to review what's going on with the new facility and evaluating players. We have already reshuffled people's responsibilities and duties.
"That includes more active participation from the Dominican Republic, which traditionally doesn't get the same attention as Class A teams, which will be on the rovers' routine schedules.
"And the scouts' checks and balances on the schedule will be such that it will be more consistent," Williams added. "The plan already has been active and on its way. If there's a silver lining, we've identified long ago where we needed to be headed and are on our way."
Where filling Wilder's position within the White Sox is concerned, Williams pointed out how Wilder, who was in his fifth year with the team, had a variety of responsibilities. Williams already has begun to pick up some of the slack in the amateur scouting areas and will continue to have more hands-on involvement.
Williams will rely partially on tape received pertaining to certain players for the area of pro scouting. He also has a great deal of faith in the team's pro scouts in place, just as he has faith in his people remaining in the Dominican following Friday's dismissals.
"The people that are left down there are as solid as they come," Williams said.
"I need to stick around here to a large degree to make sure no blow-up dolls get put in the clubhouse or something like that," added Williams with a resigned smile. "Some times you have to laugh to keep from crying."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.