International superscout Bob Engle leaving Mariners

Tough news for the Mariners today as Bob Engle, the club’s vice president of international operations, announced he will be leaving the organization at the end of October after 13 years.

Engle is highly regarded for his work in international scouting and helped the Mariners land Felix Hernandez, Erasmo Ramirez, Michael Pineda, Greg Halman, Carlos Peguero, Jose Lopez and Carlos Triunfel as well as countless other prospects.

Engle, 65,  told the club he would not be signing an extension when his current contract expires on Oct. 31 and he’s debating whether to pursue other opportunities or retire from baseball.

“This was a very tough decision for me,” Engle said in a statement released by the Mariners. “I have had a great time in Seattle and am proud to have served with so many fine people in the international department. I cannot thank the scouts and field personnel enough for their dedication and hard work.

“I have to thank Howard and Chuck as well as ownership and the many people behind the scenes who are never recognized for their efforts and support. In addition, I want to thank Pat Gillick, Bill Bavasi and Jack Zduriencik for allowing us to expand the international program since my arrival.

“This was a most difficult decision to make and I am planning to take the remainder of October to spend time with my family and assess my future and if I want to retire or remain in the game.”

Before coming to the Mariners in 2000, Engle was director of scouting with the Blue Jays when they drafted Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter and Pat Hentgen, who like Hernandez all went on to win American League Cy Young Awards.

I had a chance to meet Engle last December at the Winter Meetings in Dallas, where he received an honor as one of baseball’s top scouts, and discovered him to be a very humble guy who wanted to share credit for his success with all those working with him. Here is my story from that interview.

Engle lives in Florida, but estimated he spends 175 days a year traveling to Latin American, Europe and Asia in pursuit of baseball talent. MLB’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement limits the amount of money teams can spend on international signings and that could have a bearing on Engle’s future, I would think, as the game is changing a little.

But the Mariners have benefitted a great deal from his international presence over the years and he certainly has made his mark with his work and leaves Seattle now as one of the giants in the scouting community.

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