Why Cubs exec Jason McLeod’s time might have arrived for first GM job
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After seven seasons together with the Cubs, could the Theo Trio be on the verge of a breakup?
That could depend on the Giants. Or the Mets.
Both are looking for new general managers, and Jason McLeod, the Cubs’ top scouting and player-development executive, already has been linked to both. The Giants job opened Monday with Bobby Evans’ firing.
“I’m not actively looking because of how great things are here,” said McLeod, who sat alongside team president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer during the fall 2011 news conference introducing them as the Cubs’ new front-office regime.
“But if a team had interest, and it’s the right opportunity, yeah,” McLeod said. “There is a time I do see myself in a situation where I could possibly be running an organization.”
Could that time be now?
McLeod interviewed for the Twins’ GM job in 2016. He was asked to interview with the Padres in 2014 but withdrew his name, citing unfinished business with the Cubs.
Neither the Giants nor the Mets are far enough into their processes to have sought permission from the Cubs to interview McLeod.
The Giants could be a fit for McLeod, a former minor-league pitcher with a new-school front-office background.
Giants team president Larry Baer told reporters Monday that the team planned to look outside the organization and described the new GM they envision this way:
“Sort of a ‘next-gen’ general manager, if you will. Somebody who’s going to be head of baseball ops. People will say, ‘new school vs. old school’; people will say, ‘analytics vs. scouting.’ And I think that the new, next-generation general manager is able to do both, and we will bring both into the mix.”
McLeod, who grew up in San Diego, worked with Giants manager Bruce Bochy when both were with the Padres, Bochy managing and McLeod working as a minor-league coach and in the scouting and player-development department.
McLeod has been a trendy name to include in rumors about GM openings from the first few years of the Cubs’ rebuild effort.
He said the last few years have made him even better equipped to take on the role of a baseball-operations boss.
“Simply because of the explosion in analytics, sports science, health care for players, wellness — those are all things that when we took these jobs six or seven years ago, that wasn’t at the forefront yet,” he said. “As we have gone forward, certainly we’ve been able to explore a lot of things in those areas that I think have been helpful to us and helpful to me personally.”
‘Russell wouldn’t be distraction’
As MLB’s investigation into the domestic-violence accusations against Addison Russell continues, manager Joe Maddon has made a conspicuous point to stay as far removed from details of the situation as possible.
He and other officials in the organization said they have heard no update from the league office on its investigation since Russell was put on administrative leave Friday.
But when asked if Russell returning to the team this year would create a distraction, he said:
“I don’t think it would be a distraction, but I have no idea if that’s going to happen or not. The process is in place; it’s playing itself out.’’
Russell is not expected to return to the team.