Our job is to bring in the best of the best of the next generation and someday those people will be running teams, and the Cubs, and there’s no point in fighting that. I think you have to embrace that.
When you create an environment in which people are able to learn and grow, it’s inevitable that said growth will take some of those talented individuals elsewhere. And while the fruits of the Cubs’ “flat hierarchy” are most commonly seen on the field and attributed to the two most famous members of the front office, others behind the scenes are being recognized for the solid work they’ve done.
One such person is Shiraz Rehman, who Cubs Insider has learned from multiple sources will be leaving his position as the Cubs’ Assistant General Manager of Strategic Initiatives to accept a similar role with the Texas Rangers. Rehman, 41, has spent seven years with the Cubs since joining them after Theo Epstein was hired in October 2011. His duties have been varied, but consisted largely of developing the team’s database and coordinating technological efforts to better evaluate players.
After graduating from McGill University with a degree in finance and accounting, and as a four-year starter on the baseball team, Rehman began his professional career as a financial analyst with Enron. He then worked briefly with Deloitte as a senior consultant. But Rehman couldn’t escape the baseball bug, which bit him again while he was earning his MBA from Columbia University.
He spent the 2005 season in the Red Sox’ baseball operations department as the world’s most overqualified intern, an experience that permanently altered his career trajectory. Even with just a few months of experience, Rehman was hired by the Diamondbacks in December of that same year to serve as director of baseball operations and player personnel. After nearly six years with the D-backs, and with his former boss embarking on a new challenge, he departed for Chicago.
His name was mentioned in connection with the Twins GM gig in September of 2016, as was Jason McLeod’s, but Minnesota opted to hire Thad Levine. There has surely been additional interest at other points, but the Rangers must have given him a Vito Corleone offer.
That’s a bit of a surprise too, since they just gave president/GM Jon Daniels a multi-year extension in June. The Mets (who have already been turned down by several people) and Orioles have front office openings and seem like obvious landing spots for an up-and-coming executive, particularly one with an analytical bent. At the same time, neither has an attractive culture or immediate outlook improvement. With real and figurative rebuilds well underway in Arlington, not to mention warmer weather, the Rangers probably present a more desirable overall situation.
They also see fairly eye-to-eye with the Cubs from an operational standpoint and likely offer an easier transition for Rehman, who’s worked under young executives and as part of a turnaround. And given how often the two teams have worked together on trades, he’s no doubt familiar with the Rangers’ prospects, players, and staff already. The specifics of his role with his new organization aren’t known and probably won’t be for some time, but this may be something of a lateral move.
Rehman will likely be assuming some of Daniels’ previous duties while continuing some of the same the work he’s done with the Cubs. And perhaps he’ll gain an additional measure of freedom or anonymity with the Rangers, as weird as that might sound. Even though most Cubs fans couldn’t pick him out of a lineup, Rehman surely faced a fair bit of scrutiny and pressure as part of a front office that no longer accepts early-October playoff.
It’ll be fascinating to see whether and how he is able to engineer the same kind of success in Texas that he’s been part of in Chicago. Time for that flat hierarchy to get to work.