The weather in Chicago has been cold and miserable the past few days, perhaps because all the hot air has traveled east to Boston. San Diego, meanwhile, is sunny and pleasant this time of year, so today I think we'll turn our attention there.
Negotiations with San Diego have gone smoothly. Although some are denying that any talk has taken place, most expect a deal to get done with the Padres rather quickly. The two executives the Cubs have zeroed in are Jed Hoyer, who will be the new GM, and Jason McLeod, who is expected to assist him, where his experience on the amateur side will be a huge asset.
McLeod is probably the least known of the former Boston trio, but he had a huge impact on the Red Sox success since he was hired in 2003. He stayed there for 7 years, the last 6 of which were highlighted by his work in amateur scouting. Here's a look year by year look at some of McLeod's drafts.
2004: Boston didn't have a first round pick but they nabbed undersized Dustin Pedroia in the second round. There were no other significant selections that year, but if you can get a rookie of the year and MVP, that pretty much makes the whole draft.
2005: Boston's first pick in '05 was Clay Buchholz, one of the Red Sox top starting pitchers when he's healthy. The next two picks were pitchers Craig Hansen and Michael Bowden, both of whom spent time in the majors as relievers. Bowden pitched 20 innings this year and finished with a 4.05 ERA. The 4th round pick was Jed Lowrie, who got over 300 ABs as an infielder this year. The 5th pick was Jacoby Ellsbury, who is an MVP candidate after a breakout season in 2012. This draft was rated 2nd overall by Baseball America at the time.
2006: In this draft McLeod hit on a few more players and BA ranked this draft the best one of that year. Daniel Bard, the excellent set up man and future closer was selected in the first round. The second pick was Justin Masterson, who was later dealt to Cleveland as the centerpiece of the Victor Martinez trade. Masterson was 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA for Cleveland this past season. In the 9th round, the Sox selected rightfielder Ryan Kalish, who is expected to be their starting RF'er in 2012 as well as outfielder Josh Redick, who may challenge him for the job. Like a lesser version of our own Brett Jackson, Kalish is a good athlete who possesses solid tools across the board. Other noteworthy picks were prospect Lars Anderson, plus Matthew LaPorta and Brandon Belt, two top hitters who did not sign but are now starters for the Indians and Giants, respectively.
2007: The Red Sox first pick was Nick Hagadone, a top pitching prospect who was also used in the Victor Martinez deal. They selected Will Middlebrooks(3B), their current top prospect in the 5th round and in the next round they nabbed Anthony Rizzo (1B), #3 prospect last year, who was part of the package used to acquire Anthony Gonzalez. They also picked Drake Britton, a top 10 prospect last year, and Yasmani Grandal, whom they did not sign, but is now a top catching prospect with the Reds.
2008: This draft featured former top pitching prospect Casey Kelly, who was used to acquire Anthony Gonzalez, as well as slugging catcher Ryan Lavarnway, who came up late this season and did well offensively despite the Red Sox collapse. It also included former top prospect Ryan Westmoreland (OF), whose promising career was derailed by illness, though he is currently trying to make his way back.
2009: The jury is still out on his draft but it did produce top 10 prospect Reymond Fuentes (OF), considered the best athlete in their system.
McLeod has shown the capability to produce impact major league players, as well as role players and top prospects who were used to acquire sluggers like Victor Martinez and Anthony Gonzalez.
His recent drafts in San Diego have also been rated highly with this past draft ranking with our own great draft here in Chicago as one of the top 7 or 8 best this season.
That, of course, raises important questions. If McLeod does come to Chicago as expected, how does he coexist with Wilken? Will one get reassigned? Will they work together in some way? My guess, at least for next year, is that they'll work together for 2012 and give Espstein and Hoyer a chance to evaluate how the pieces fit best.
It's only a matter of time before the Chicago-Boston-Epstein rumors heat up again, so I thought we could use a breather on the notes from yesterday. I'll post a new thread tomorrow covering the events as they unfold. I'll keep updating it throughout the day until, hopefully, the deal gets done. If it doesn't, the next possible date is Tuesday.
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