Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Moving on?

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports Jed Hoyer might leave the Padres to become general manager of the Cubs, allowing him to reunite with his former mentor and boss, Theo Epstein. Succeeding Hoyer as GM would be Josh Byrnes, Heyman writes.

Padres execs didn't respond to queries from this blog. At any rate, Heyman's report makes sense.

Hoyer is close to Epstein, and as GM of the Cubs, he'd spend $90 million more on player payroll than he does here.

If Hoyer departs for Wrigley Field, I expect he'd take with him Jason McLeod, who oversees San Diego's scouting and player development. Epstein and McLeod are best friends, and when Epstein left the Padres nearly 10 years ago, McLeod followed him to Boston not long after.

Epstein speaks well also of Byrnes, who worked for him in Boston before becoming GM of the Diamondbacks. Last week, a major league executive told me the chance was good Epstein would hire Byrnes.

Let's say Padres CEO Jeff Moorad has to decide which exec he would prefer as GM, Hoyer or Byrnes. My guess is Byrnes would get the nod. Moorad hired Hoyer as his GM and guaranteed him a salary through 2013 with a club option for 2014.

But the CEO's regard for Byrnes is pure platinum. Moorad was part of the executive team that installed Byrnes as Arizona's GM after the 2005 season, and it was Moorad who gave Byrnes an eight-year extension. The length of the deal left other GMs astonished.

Another favored exec of Moorad's is A.J. Hinch, whom he hired along with Byrnes last offseason, not long after they were fired by the Dbacks. "Josh and A.J. are like Jeff's sons," a Dbacks player told me last year.

If McLeod goes to the Cubs, don't be surprised if his powerful job is filled by Hinch, who was Arizona's farm director when Moorad ran the Dbacks. Moorad also has long been said to view Hinch as a potential GM.

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