From Jayson Stark:
According to people in the game who are close to Shapiro, he would be “intrigued” by the Cubs’ job, and has always looked at the Cubs as a special franchise. Those people describe Shapiro as being happy where he is and not looking to leave Cleveland. But the Cubs’ job represents such a unique set of compelling circumstances, they believe that if Shapiro were approached, he “probably would listen.”
There are no indications the Cubs have spoken with him. And when Rumblings contacted Shapiro, he declined comment. But he seems to fit the profile of the kind of GM that new owner Tom Ricketts is hunting for.
Shapiro grew up around the game, spent nearly two decades working in baseball operations in Cleveland before becoming club president, was in the forefront in embracing new technologies, has exceptional people skills and is still only 43. So he is a name that “makes a lot of sense for them,” said an official of one AL team. “I could see the combination of the baseball challenge, along with the Cubs’ other challenges, having great appeal to him.”
Shapiro is best known for helping turn around a hapless Cleveland franchise as an assistant in the 1990s (he’s been with the organization since 1991), before becoming the team’s GM in 2001 (at just 33). The Indians won the AL Central in 2001 and 2007 despite an increasingly tight budget, and Shapiro was named the Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2005 and 2007. Last year, he was promoted to team President.
Shapiro’s was one of those names floated around immediately after Jim Hendry was let go, but not necessarily as a candidate – it was more of a, “why isn’t Mark Shapiro being mentioned as a candidate” kind of thing. It sounds like that will change now.
Tom Ricketts would think fondly of Shapiro, I’d suspect, given his long track record of success as a GM and consistent focus on player development. Shapiro has also consistently employed advanced technologies – and, presumably, statistics – so it sounds like he’s nailed the trifecta of Ricketts’ requirements.
We’ll have to see if and when his name keeps popping up from here on out.