Now that Theo Epstein is officially a Cub, the next step is to build the front office. We already know Epstein is interested in bringing in Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. Carrie Muskat tweeted late yesterday that the Padres have officially given permission the Cubs permission to talk to them.
If the rumors are to be believed, this is pretty much a done deal. The compensation has been decided upon and the word is that it could range from nothing to a couple of lower level prospects. Judging by how quickly the two sides came together, it is not expected that they will be top prospects.
Depending on how the compensation talks go, the other person who could be coming is Brian O'Halloran. He is currently the Vice President of Baseball Operations with the Red Sox and one of Epstein's original interns back when he was with the San Diego Padres. O'Halloran, like many of the Boston lineage, is very highly educated and has the resume to get himself a well-paying job but instead chose to work in baseball for peanuts. The story is that he followed Epstein to Boston even though a position wasn't available and could only work unpaid, after midnight, and on whatever computer was available.
It now appears that O'Halloran may once again be following Epstein, this time to Chicago for an unspecified role. Although he began his career in a more administrative, analytical type role, O'Halloran has learned the art of scouting as well and is considered a well-rounded member of Boston's front office. It's possible he could resume his baseball operations role but it wouldn't be surprising for him to get a bigger role when he moves to the Cubs.
O'Halloran is considered well qualified at this point to be an assistant general manager, but that position may be filled by Jason McLeod, who held that role over in San Diego. As we've talked about before, the front office structure is expected to change, so he will likely get a position here that is not yet created. One opening might be as the VP of Player Personnel and Professional Scouting (the role Allard Baird currently fills in Boston) with Tim Wilken focusing strictly on the amateur side.
Contrary to popular belief, the new school model doesn't throw out old school scouting, there is still a lot of value put into subjective scouting that focuses on tools and projection. The difference is that it isn't as valued the higher a player moves up the organizational ladder. Statistics become more important at this point, something we'll talk about in a later article. The point for now is that Wilken is more likely to be held in higher regard for his work on the amateur side in this new regime. That may give O'Halloran a role on the professional side where he can perhaps fill that Allard Baird type role for the Cubs.
If O'Halloran does come part of the package, it'll be yet another jewel to be added to the front office that already expects to add Hoyer and McLeod as well as having several strong holdovers from the Hendry regime. We should expect the new front office to be a strong blend of old school and new school baseball people. It's likely a model that will be followed on the field as well, as the new Cubs will bring in a different blend of players to add to the holdover talent (sparse as that may be) that already exists on the roster.