In the middle of last night’s near-no-hitter against the Cardinals, there were some important developments on the Twins’ search for a new President of Baseball Operations.
Namely, they have officially asked for and received permission to interview the Cubs Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development Jason McLeod. Hoyer has since confirmed those reports, and even suggested that an interview might happen some time “soon.”
Although McLeod recently indicated that he’s happy where he is, he was sure to add that just about everyone who enters this line of work is ultimately dreaming of the opportunity to run an organization as a general manager or president-type. So don’t expect him to skip out on the opportunity just to stick around Chicago forever, but also don’t expect him to be the only target … not even the only target from Chicago.
In an article at TwinCities.com, Mike Berardino provides a little more insight into the Twins’ executive search. According to owner Jim Pohlad, the Twins have already conducted multiple interviews in the search for Terry Ryan’s successor, both in and and out of Minnesota. Apparently, they are already well down the road of compiling a list of desired candidate with the first round of interviews nearly complete.
Taking it a step further, the Twins are said to be looking for someone closer to a “Theo Epstein type,” candidate or, in other words, a more analytically-inclined mind. Presumably, Jason McLeod – Epstein and Jed Hoyer’s long-time right-hand-man – fits the bill, even as he’s also very well-versed on the scouting side.
But there might be another Cubs-affiliated candidate to whom the Twins may turn: Jared Porter. Porter was hired by the Cubs in September of 2015 as the team’s new Director of Pro Scouting, replacing Joe Bohringer, and he is “firmly on the Twins’ radar”, according to Berardino’s repot.
Porter worked with the Red Sox from 2004 until 2015, when he made his way over to the Cubs, and is also a well-thought of executive in the industry. This is the first time we’ve heard Porter’s name in relation to the Twins job, but it might be something we hear more of in the coming days/weeks. As has been the case with McLeod (and Cubs Assistant GM Shiraz Rehman), it’s not entirely clear for what role Porter would be considered.
But if one Cubs executives ultimately lands a top job with the Twins, don’t expect them to go alone.
According to Sahadev Sharma (The Athletic), the Cubs have resigned themselves to the fact that most exiting executives take someone with them – and yet another talented front office guy, Jaron Madison, might be one of those guys.
“The expectation is that wherever McLeod would go, current Cubs director of player development Jaron Madison would join him as his top lieutenant,” Sharma writes. After all, Theo Epstein allowed Jed Hoyer to take an employee with him to San Diego when he originally left the Red Sox organization (and ditto the Padres when Hoyer came over to the Cubs with both McLeod and eventually Madison), and neither of them have any desire to deny their employees the same benefit.
At the end of the day, most of these coworkers are actually friends, too, and want to see everyone get the opportunities they deserve. And while it’ll be quite a loss if any or all of these talented individuals leave the organization, the Cubs have an incredibly deep pool of front office talent. They are also a desirable destination for other up-and-comers, I’d assume.
[Brett: I contributed to the preceding section, and this final section is from me. Teamwork.]
Meanwhile, although it might feel like only the Cubs’ front office is being targeted for raiding, there are, of course, a large number of executives around the game under consideration for positions in the Twins’ front office. We just haven’t heard about many of them.
According to Jon Heyman, however, we can add another public name to the list of top candidates: Royals Assistant GM J.J. Picollo. Long considered among the better assistants around the game, particularly given the Royals’ small-market success, Picollo frequently pops up as a name when these front office searches are conducted. That the Twins would have interest in talking to him makes plenty of sense.
In the coming weeks, I’d imagine we’ll learn of additional candidates, though probably not everyone the Twins are considering (or even everyone the Twins have interviewed). That is to say, we don’t want to make this into a two or three-horse race simply because some of the names that have been identified publicly happen to be associated with the Cubs. There are many talented executives around baseball who are not presently in a top-level position.
And, I suppose, it’s also important to remind folks that although the Twins’ vacancy is the only one in an active search mode, there are other possibilities that could open up before next season. The Diamondbacks’ front office, for example, is in a persistent state of limbo.