Still appears Doogie Howser might become GM of the Padres. Here's what I was told about him: "Very bright. Hard worker. Very good listener. Has the administrative aspects down. Hasn't run a staff, so a challenge will be learning how to manage people. Baby face. Preppy look."
Howser apprenticed under another Boy Wonder, Red Sox GM Theo Epstein, who did all Boy Wonders a favor by raising two World Series trophies not long after The Smartest Man in Baseball hired him as GM, not many years after Theo was handing out Padres game notes to the hacks who covered the team. My Howser source said of Doogie: "He's not a Theo Epstein, but who is?"
It'd be the second time Padres CEO Jeff Moorad hired an Epstein aide as GM. After the 2005 season, Moorad hired Josh Byrnes into Arizona's GM job, for which Kevin Towers, then GM of the Padres, interviewed with the assumption that he'd get it, and now Howser could get the job that Towers figured he'd keep through 2010, until Moorad told him in September that he wanted to look for a new GM.
Safe to assume Howser gets the job only if he has the thumb's up from another Whiz Kid, Paul DePodesta. A Padres special assistant and former Dodgers GM, Depo relates well to Tom Garfinkel -- the club president who followed Moorad to San Diego.
I just realized that none the folks mentioned above either played or coached professional baseball, save the Gunslinger , who is out of work. Safe to assume the industry's tobacco dippers and cup-wearers, past and present, will chew the cud over that one.
Hiring Howser might create side opportunities for Moorad.
The Red Sox are known for having smart scouts, including a few that Epstein and The Smartest Man in Baseball stole from the Padres. Maybe a few would follow Howser to San Diego. Among the Sox top evaluators who worked for the Padres are Craig Shipley, Dave Finley and Jason McLeod. McLeod is Boston's scouting director and still has ties to San Diego. He's also the former son-in-law of Padres majority owner John Moores, and you can't help but think about Palin and the state trooper, so maybe he stays with the Sox. As a Marlins scout, Finley looked smart for recommending that Florida use a No. 1 overall pick on Adrian Gonzalez, a controversial move at the time. I reported a few weeks ago that Bill Gayton isn't expected to remain as scouting director of the Padres. Connect the dots if you like.
Howser's knowledge of Boston's farm system would come in handy if the Padres decide that paying Adrian Gonzalez close to $20 million per year after 2011 isn't in the cards. The Red Sox are interested in trading for Gonzalez, and even if they lose interest, they'll act interested to help bid up the price and maybe as a favor to Howser.
And if Howser doesn't get the job? Never mind.