Josh Byrnes was Fired (What are the Cubs implications?) -- UPDATE: Padres ask for permission to interview McLeod

Josh Byrnes was Fired (What are the Cubs implications?) -- UPDATE: Padres ask for permission to interview McLeod

Josh Byrnes is out as the general manager of the San Diego Padres. Or as Tom Loxas put it:

The Padres have been a mess in terms of ownership situation for a while now. The failed attempt by Jeff Moorad to take over the San Diego Padres has resulted in the fourth GM being in charge of the Padres in the past six seasons. A Baseball Prospectus article from 2012 does a good job of explaining the various turmoil that the Padres have been going through. The short version of the various moves that have linked the Cubs front office and Byrnes together go as follows:

2005-Josh Byrnes was hired away to become the Diamondbacks GM after being an assistant GM to Theo Epstein from 2002-2005. The man hiring him was Jeff Moorad. Jed Hoyer took over as an assistant GM essentially replacing Byrnes in Boston.

2009-Jeff Moorad resigns his position with the Diamondbacks to lead a group to buy the Padres. He fires popular GM Kevin Towers and hires Jed Hoyer to become the GM of the Padres.

2010-Josh Byrnes and AJ Hinch are both let go by the new, old owner of the Diamondbacks Ken Kendrick. Byrnes and Hinch are both hired to work in the Padres front office being run by Hoyer. Byrnes was a leading candidate to replace Omar Minaya as Mets GM but loses to Sandy Alderson.

2011-Jed Hoyer leaves the Padres to become the Chicago Cubs GM. Moorad and Ricketts agree that no compensation is needed for Hoyer and Jason McLeod leaving. Moorad names Josh Byrnes to be the GM of the Padres.

2012-Jeff Moorad again resigns his position in the Padres, and they are sold to the current ownership group.

2014-The current ownership group fires Josh Byrnes and names Omar Minaya as the interim GM. AJ Hinch is named an assistant to Omar Minaya.  

There are two obvious Cubs implications from this series of moves. The first of which has been touched on by a number of places is the possible loss of Jason McLeod. The reality is that Jason McLeod is a highly thought of baseball executive that is likely to get a shot at some point to be the guy in charge. His loss would be huge given his role in the most important part of organization building, the draft. San Diego is likely to call and ask permission to talk Jason McLeod, but I am not certain we need to fear losing him at this point. The issue is there reasons for both sides to pass on this opportunity. The timeline I showed above shows the Moorad connection with the Theo Epstein tree of executives. This new ownership group fired Byrnes for not living up to expectations. As Christina Kahrl wrote it is telling that Omar Minaya was put in charge of baseball operations. The rumors came out quickly that the Padres might make a move to bring back former GM Kevin Towers. This has been met by some derision around the internet:

But looking at the evidence available Towers to the Padres might seem somewhat likely given the ownership group. The fact that Towers was a popular figure and in charge of the team during its last trip to the World Series. Towers and Minaya are also GMs cut from the same cloth as aggressive traders. Whether the Padres go back to Towers or not, one does have to question whether the Padres would make their third pick of GM from a Theo Epstein lieutenant. The odds I think are low that the Padres go back to that well no matter how good of a GM Jason McLeod likely would make.

The other aspect of this is whether Jason McLeod would want to go to San Diego. There are only so many GM jobs in baseball, and they become openly very rarely (far less frequently than manager jobs). McLeod has also watched first hand how the ownership situation changed in San Diego and led to his leaving for Chicago. He is well aware of the need for a stable ownership situation and how changes in ownership can cost people their jobs. Byrnes has gone from wunderkid GM prospect to twice failed GM in no smaller part due to the ownership machinations of Jeff Moorad. How anxious is McLeod to head back to San Diego really?


All of that said Jason McLeod is one of the up and coming GM prospect names out there. And to answer Tom Loxas's question about why McLeod's name hasn't come up is quite simple. There haven't been any jobs for McLeod's name to come up for as Jeff Luhnow was the last new GM hired in the same year as Jed Hoyer made the move to Chicago. That is right there hasn't be a GM fired since 2011. So perhaps McLeod will jump at the chance since there really are so few opportunities. I am still not convinced that ownership being advised by people like Omar Minaya will go back to the Theo Epstein tree.

The other angle of the Josh Byrnes story is that the Cubs might be adding to their front office stable. Byrnes has been involved heavily in various areas of the front office, but his focus seems to have be on contracts and pro scouting. I doubt Byrnes will be brought in to replace anyone in the middle of the year, but I would be surprised if the Cubs didn't at least attempt to bring him in as an assistant to the GM or President. After Byrnes evaluates his options I wonder if he might take over the department run by Joe Bohringer currently or at least be placed over Bohringer in some capacity. Arizona is likely the only other GM spot open at the end of this year whether the Padres hire Kevin Towers or not. The other two GM spots that were on the hot seat in Kansas City and Seattle are both doing well, and leaves two old school baseball executives in charge of finding new GMs in Omar Minaya and Tony La Russa. I think the Cubs are unlikely to lose Jason McLeod this year as a result, and the news of Byrnes firing is likely going to be a net positive for the Cubs. The Cubs are possibly going to add another talented front office executive, and one that has extensive knowledge from another team's perspective can only be an asset heading towards the deadline.

UPDATE 2:25 PM: Well you knew this was coming...


Now we wait.  Hopefully McLeod sticks around, but you can't blame him for wanting his own shot at the big chair.


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