With Shohei Ohtani returning to the mound, Mike Trout still in center field, Jo Adell in the wings, Anthony Rendon at third base, and Joe Maddon at the helm, the Angels had high hopes for themselves this season. Unfortunately, they finished in fourth place of the AL West, 10.0 games out of first, missing the significantly-expanded postseason altogether. Among those to pay the price for the dramatic underperformance was GM Billy Eppler.
The Angels have since undergone a search for a new GM, and one current Cubs front office member, Jason McLeod, has found himself among the five finalists:
The Angels are down to five finalists for their GM opening and could decide by the end of the week, sources tell The Athletic. Four of the finalists are Cubs senior VP Jason McLeod, DBacks assistant GMs Jared Porter and Amiel Sawdaye and Mariners assistant GM Justin Hollander.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 11, 2020
You might also recognize old friend Jared Porter, who’s now an assistant GM with the Diamondbacks. The Theo Epstein tree remains well-respected.
McLeod has been with the Cubs for a long time now, acting as the Senior Vice President of Amateur Scouting and Player Development until this past season. For most of his Cubs career, he’s basically been considered one of the top three baseball operations executives in the Cubs organization (after Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer). This past year, he’s gotten some different experience in a new role on the big league side of the baseball ops department, which should help him in his pursuit of the top job with the Angels.
He’s been a GM candidate for many years now, and sooner or later, he’s going to get his shot. We wish him the best of luck.
… But also, even with a different role in a newly restructured Cubs front office, I can’t say losing McLeod wouldn’t suck, especially with Theo Epstein potentially nearing an exit. McLeod has been with the team a long time and knows a lot about these players and this organization. The Cubs also just let go a lot of baseball operations employees due to COVID-crunched budgets and have been losing smart people like McLeod, Porter, Giants GM Scott Harris, and others for a few years now. Heck, the Angels tried to steal Dan Kantrovitz away for this very job (lucky for the Cubs, he denied their request)! And they already took Joe Maddon and Tommy La Stella. I guess they just like the Cubs model, and that includes McLeod.
Again, I’d hate to lose him, but I do wish him luck. He deserves it.