Tom Krasovic, who covers the Padres, reports that he’s heard there is a “good chance” Epstein will target San Diego Padres’ VP of Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes to join Epstein in the Cubs’ front office.
Byrnes, you’ll recall, has been connected to the Chicago Cubs for months, even before word of Jim Hendry’s firing came out. Those rumors had Byrnes seeking out word with Tom Ricketts via a mutual friend (namely, Byrnes’ brother). Presumably, Byrnes was hoping for a chance at the soon-to-be-open GM gig. Would he still want to come to the Cubs even if that spot was no longer available?
Byrnes’ current position with the Padres is on the order of an assistant GM slot, although he isn’t an assistant GM, strictly speaking. Would he consider coming to the Cubs on a seeming lateral move, if it meant reuniting with Epstein, with whom he worked as an assistant in Boston? Not knowing Byrnes’ contract status, I can’t speculate whether he’s even free to come, and, if not, whether the Padres would let him be poached.
Hard to say on all of these questions. It remains not impossible – though unlikely, in my estimation – that Epstein will be coming to the Cubs as only the President of Baseball Operations (or a similar title), and not the GM. If so, someone like Byrnes would be an unsurprising target at GM.
Either way, Byrnes would be a fantastic addition to the Cubs’ front office. His experience helping build the Diamondbacks into what they are today, together with his time in San Diego, Colorado, Cleveland and Boston, speak to his strong abilities on the development side of the game. As we’ve seen over the years (or, more accurately, not see), you can’t have too many guys like that.
This report, I hope, is only the beginning of superstar names being connected to Epstein’s front office. I’ve said for weeks that, among the many reasons to consider Epstein the top choice for the Cubs, other hotshot executives and up-and-comers will be banging down the door for a chance to work with Epstein in Chicago.