As is the case with the sometimes more visible Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, when VP of Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod speaks at length on just about any topic, it’s worth attention. So it was this weekend when McLeod spoke to Bruce Levine and Ben Finfer on The Score. You can listen to the interview here, and you can see a full transcript at the CCO here.
If you’re just looking for the high points …
- On possibly available 25-year-old Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka: McLeod said that, although he has not watched watched Tanaka in person, himself, he’s seen a lot of video and the Cubs have had a lot of guys see him in person. McLeod wouldn’t go into detail, obviously, but said that Tanaka is a very talented pitcher, though it would be unfair to expect him to come over and immediately have a Yu Darvish-type impact.
- The plan remains for Javier Baez to start the year at Iowa, where he will be the regular shortstop. He may get some looks at second and third this Spring, though, just to see what’s what.
- The focus, insofar as the talent acquisition part of The Plan goes, is to accumulate a tremendous volume of impact talent, not just depth. Although the system is still lacking in high-quality starting pitching at the upper levels of the minors, most organizations would say the same. Plus, McLeod believes we’ll start to see a lot of the impact they’ve acquired/drafted over the past two years emerging at AA this year. (Imagine the AA rotation, which could feature C.J. Edwards, Pierce Johnson, Ben Wells, Corey Black, Ivan Pineyro, Matt Loosen … a very talented group.)
- It’s possible that the Cubs could bring up Kris Bryant and Javier Baez together at midseason if they’re still dominating in the minors, but it still depends on their development plan, the other options available, and whether the front office feels like it’s the best thing for them.
- Although McLeod offers feedback on deals, for obvious reasons, he gave most of the credit to Pro Scouting Director Joe Bohringer and his staff.
- McLeod says he hopes to be around long enough to see the Cubs win a couple World Series. The question, of course, was premised on the widely-believed notion that McLeod would be on a number of organization’s short list should a GM job open up.