The San Diego Padres are looking for a new General Manager, and Chicago Cubs VP of Scouting and Player Development – former San Diego executive – Jason McLeod is reportedly on their list. We’ve discussed the implications for the Cubs, McLeod, and the fans, and the short version is that you hope for good things for good people, even as you’re nervous about losing an important cog in the Cubs’ front office.
The Cubs are striking a similar tone when it comes to the possibility of McLeod taking the next step in his professional career with the Padres, if that happens. As usual, President Theo Epstein put it pretty much perfectly. After noting that he didn’t want to say too much, and would instead let most of the news come out of San Diego, he complimented McLeod and indicated that the Cubs wouldn’t stand in the way if there was a GM gig to be had.
“Suffice to say I think the world of Jason, Epstein told the media yesterday (including ESPN’s Jesse Rogers). We’ve worked together on and off since 1995. He’s one of my best friends and the guy I kind of cut my teeth with. He’s done a great job here leading the scouting and player development staff …. He’d be an asset to any organization …. When he feels he’s ready for that next step, which I think he is, he would be at the top of anyone’s list in my opinion.”
But how would the Cubs cope after losing such a talent executive? Epstein says they’d be OK, regardless of whom they lost.
“It’d be a big loss, obviously, because he’s really talented,” Epstein continued (per CSN’s Tony Andracki). “His heart is in this the way mine is and the way all of our hearts are in it, but this organization is bigger than any one person. I’m not going anywhere, but if I stepped away tomorrow, we’d be fine. Everyone else would pick up the slack. Whenever we lose a key person, I expect that others will step up and pick up the slack and we’ll continue moving in the right direction. Jason is a huge talent and if at some point now – or a few years down the line – I expect him to do a great job as a GM.” (You can see more of Epstein’s comments in both the ESPN and CSN pieces.)
In other words, the internal feeling at the Cubs is about the same as what fans have been perceiving on the outside: McLeod is a rising star, he’s doing great things with the Cubs, and he could be a great GM as soon as right now.
And if that opportunity comes up, you could really only be happy for him. The good thing is that, this front office has always been all about implementing an organizational structure that affords them the ability to absorb this kind of blow. Time was, if the Cubs lost a key person in the front office, it could have been a disaster. Now, in part thanks to the collaborative way the front office works, and in part thanks to the dramatic expansion in the size and skill of the front office, it would be a bummer, but a survivable bummer. Great front offices lose great personnel every year – and they carry on.
As for that Padres GM search, the latest report is that they’ve now interviewed at least one name on their list: former Marlins executive Larry Beinfest. That was the first external interview the Padres have conducted, and, interestingly, it was the Padres, themselves, who announced that Beinfest was in for an interview. I wonder if they’re going to be this transparent throughout the process. If so, we might soon learn of a McLeod interview.