Oh, folks are going to have a field day speculating about this one, but I’m not sure we’re going to know too many of the particulars.
First, the news:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 11, 2019
McLeod came to the Cubs’ front office together with Jed Hoyer, back when he joined what Theo Epstein was brought in to build in late 2011. Frequently a GM candidate around the league, McLeod has been the Cubs’ scouting and player development chief, an area that has seen tremendous successes, but also a variety of disappointments. Maybe it was time to get a new voice into that role regardless of what was going to happen with McLeod.
And about that, at least the Cubs get to keep McLeod’s voice in the room, and maybe he’ll flourish further on the big league side. Maybe he just really wanted this new challenge. The Cubs have seen something of an exodus in the big league department in recent years, with top minds heading out to the Diamondbacks and Rangers.
Folks will speculate about the Red Sox opening, but I’m not sure moving McLeod from scouting and player development chief to this new role really would do anything to keep him from a gig with the Red Sox if they were targeting him. I tend to doubt there’s any relationship here, but I guess we’ll see how that whole search shakes out.
To me, if there’s a Red Sox connection at all, I would think it is maybe that the Cubs want someone who is about to be freed up from the Red Sox? Or perhaps the Cubs thought they were going to want to target someone on the player development/scouting side of things outside of Boston that they feared a new Boston regime (whoever it ultimately is) was going to target as well. So the Cubs are moving early to get as many front office pieces as they can. Alternatively, by moving McLeod to the big league side, perhaps the Cubs guard against the Red Sox coming to grab someone like Jed Hoyer?
(There’s also the possibility that this is simply long-term transition planning, knowing that Theo Epstein probably isn’t going to run this show forever, so it would be good to get McLeod some more experience on this side of things.)
In the end, here’s hoping McLeod digs the new role on the big league side, and the Cubs are better for it. Moreover, hopefully they bring in some additional talent on the player development/scouting side.