The Cubs recently announced a series of internal promotions as Jed Hoyer’s front office takes shape, but the biggest move will come from outside the organization. Hoyer talked during his first official press conference about being challenged by fresh ideas, adding that a sense of trust was the most important factor to him. Though he could certainly develop a strong partnership with someone he doesn’t already know well, indications are that a familiar face could be returning to Wrigley.
Diamondbacks assistant GM Jared Porter worked with Hoyer and Theo Epstein in Boston before coming aboard as the Cubs’ director of professional scouting in 2016. He left to join Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen in Arizona, but recently interviewed for the Angels’ GM vacancy and is seen around baseball as a viable candidate for a similar role elsewhere.
We’ve mentioned Porter several times here and Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic wrote that he is a “heavy favorite” to rejoin the Cubs.
In addition to offering a fresh set of eyes, Porter’s familiarity with Hoyer and the organization would allow him to hit the ground running. He’s also more adept at the pro scouting side, which lines up well with the Cubs’ structure. VP of scouting Dan Kantrovitz is heading up the amateur side of the house and his declination of the Angels’ initial overtures indicates that he’s primed for a bigger overall role in Chicago.
One other aspect I find interesting is that, at least on the surface, Porter appears to represent an even further departure from the cult of personality the Cubs had established under Epstein. Over the previous nine years, the president of baseball operations was the face of the franchise and he seemed to relish the trappings of his role. Whether it was partying with Eddie Vedder or TP’ing Hoyer’s house, Epstein was a rock star in his own right.
While Hoyer isn’t considered a prude, he was definitely the more reserved of the two and figures to maintain that image in his new role. Porter seems at least as low-key and doesn’t project the same self-assuredness in front of the camera as Cubs fans are used to seeing from their execs. That’s not a knock on him, just an observation that could be indicative of philosophical changes in the organization beyond the on-field personnel.
Even with the non-tender deadline coming up on Wednesday and the Rule 5 Draft following just over a week later, there doesn’t seem to be a rush on hiring a new GM. Nor should there be since the decisions the Cubs will have to make in the coming days involve players already in the organization. I’d suspect we see something announced before the end of the year, though I wouldn’t be surprised to see the process stretch through January.