Theo Epstein’s choice to leave the Cubs a year early was due in large part to the current financial situation and the way it stretches the timeline for threading the needle. His $10 million salary will be reallocated in one way or another, with a decent chunk of it likely going toward finding a new GM to fill the role vacated by Jed Hoyer’s promotion to president of baseball operations. The most frugal way to do that might be to promote from within the organization, but a fresh perspective would help them move in a new direction.
Among the external candidates, Diamondbacks assistant general manager Jared Porter seems like a good fit for what the Cubs will need to do. He and fellow Arizona AGM Amiel Sawdaye were finalists for the GM job in Anaheim and both received a mention in Sahadev Sharma’s piece for The Athletic about how Hoyer can move forward as the decision-maker, but Porter was in heavier rotation for pretty obvious reasons.
He began his baseball career in 2004 as a Red Sox intern when Epstein and Hoyer were there, then joined them in Chicago as part of the front office. Porter was then lured to the Diamondbacks by GM Mike Hazen, under whom he’d worked in Boston. Hazen previously served as the Red Sox director of player development starting in 2006 and became VP of player development and amateur scouting in 2011, Epstein’s final year there.
The real kicker, though, is that Porter’s expertise is in pro scouting while Sawdaye’s is in amateur scouting. That’s an important distinction when you consider that the Cubs already have Dan Kantrovitz, who actually declined an interview with the Angels and whose expertise lies more on the amateur side, installed as their VP of scouting.
That could indicate the Cubs are leaning toward elevating Kantrovitz to a bigger role or at least giving him more responsibility. Sharma suggests as much, adding that pitching director Craig Breslow is likewise in line for expanded duties or a different title. Perhaps those two could be given AGM titles with Porter coming aboard as the general manager to help tie things together.
As the organization seeks to evolve across all levels of scouting and development, such a structure would provide them with subject-matter experts who are also well-versed in other areas. Assuming they’re all able to communicate well, the Cubs would be getting fresh perspectives while maintaining the continuity of what Hoyer has called a “flat hierarchy” in their leadership structure.