[This series intends to introduce you to each of the legitimate Chicago Cubs GM candidates, and give you a quick, clean rundown of the most important information to know about that candidate as the Cubs’ search process continues. I bet none of us thought there would be another one of these after the Cubs landed on Theo Epstein, at least not without a bunch of cursing and ruing another Cubs disaster. Previously: Brian Cashman, Theo Epstein, Andrew Friedman, Billy Beane, Ned Colletti.]
Name and Age: Jed Hoyer, 37.
Current Role and Contract Status: San Diego Padres’ General Manager since October 2009. His current salary is unknown, and he’s signed through 2013 with an option for 2014.
Record in Current Role: The Padres had a surprisingly competitive 2010 season before fading in September. The 2011 season was a full-on rebuild operation, with Adrian Gonzalez having been dealt (by Hoyer) during the offseason. There’s not a great deal to be gleaned about Hoyer from his short time at the head of the Padres other than he got a decent return for Gonzalez despite everyone knowing Gonzalez was going to leave in free agency a year later, picked up Cameron Maybin on the cheap, and got a great return for Mike Adams at this year’s trade deadline.
Notable Prior Experience: Before taking over in San Diego, Hoyer was a long-time assistant (well, as long-time as a guy who’s only now 37 can be) in Boston under Theo Epstein. Hoyer reached the level of Senior Vice President and Assistant General Manager, and even was co-GM with Ben Cherington for 44 days when Epstein took a hiatus in late 2005/early 2006. Hoyer interviewed for a handful of open GM gigs, including Pittsburgh and Washington, before getting the San Diego job. He was also a baseball coach at his alma mater, Wesleyan, for a brief time after graduating from college.
Reason(s) for Including as Candidate: Hoyer worked for years with Epstein in Boston, and is thus not only well-versed in the Boston approach, but also knows how to work well with Epstein. He’s a young GM presiding over a development-focused organization, and would have been near the top of early candidate lists had anyone thought it was remotely possible he’d actually leave San Diego. Oh, and there’s that whole sources-are-saying-it’s-a-done-deal thing.
Tom Ricketts’ Criteria: Track record of success in a winning organization? Checkish (mostly from his Boston experience). Demonstrated commitment to player development? Check. Strong analytical background? Check.
Pros/Hype: Hoyer is a young, smart, sabermetrically-inclined, development-focused GM with a tremendous amount of high-level experience at such a young age. More importantly, he’s the guy Theo Epstein wants as his GM, which is about as “pro” as it gets in my book.
Cons/Cynical Criticism: If he’s cut from too similar of a cloth as Epstein, might they not reinforce each other’s weak spots? He’s also only been the GM in San Diego for a couple years. That’s it. That’s all I can come up with.
Desirability: High. Again: if it had been known that Hoyer was open to coming to Cubs – and this is in a world where we assume Epstein never level Boston – he would have been in my top five candidates. To oversimplify, he’s Ben Cherington, but with much more GM experience. There’s a reason Cherington was a high-up-there candidate, and there’s a reason to be excited about Hoyer.
Likelihood/Probable Outcome: High, apparently. Rumors, which only started a few days ago, have reached a fever pitch, to the point that multiple reports say Hoyer *is* going to be named the Cubs’ next GM. From there, Epstein and Hoyer will begin the process of greatly expanding the Cubs’ front office – historically one of the smallest in baseball (sigh) – bringing in bright minds from across the game. You can’t overstate the importance of the Cubs adding these two men, who will never hold a bat or pick up a ball. Philosophically, they align with where Cubs Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts sees the Cubs’ organization going over the next decade. Namely, an organization heavily invested in scouting and development, building heavily with home-grown talent, and augmenting where necessary through free agency. Hoyer helps move the Cubs along this path, and it’s worth being excited – like, even more excited than you already were. Oh, and we’ll all have to promise not to make fun of his name.