It’s extremely easy to get caught up in Theo-mania being a Cubs fan.
All of his hard work and skill which helped the “cursed” Boston Red Sox win their first World Series title in 86 years can be blown up considering the similar nature of the Chicago Cubs. We’re all guilty of it, but it’s nothing to be really ashamed of.
As Cubs fans, we needed something to get excited about last season and when Tom Ricketts announced that Theo Epstein was going to be the new President of Baseball Operations, we pretty much turned in to a pack of rabidly shrieking school girls and lost our collective minds. It may have been the last time since 2003 that Cubs fans really had something to hone in on.
It’s a day I won’t soon forget.
And while it’s all well and good that the Cubs have such a strong leader to guide them, there are other factors at play too. Epstein does not work alone and certainly could not take on every task of heading an MLB franchise. Epstein’s staff is arguably one of the best in baseball and it’s starting to show from the bottom up.
This is largely due to Jason McLeod, senior vice president of scouting and player development.
The title in itself is a lofty one, but McLeod is no stranger to the game. He’s been working alongside Jed Hoyer for many years with both the Padres and Red Sox and knows exactly what it takes to rejuvenate a franchise from the lowest levels of the system all the way to the bigs. This is something the Cubs have lacked for almost 15 years, so the pressure is on McLeod to get the job done.
McLeod has one job: get the farm system tuned up with as many high upside prospects as you can pack in there. This allows the Cubs to shy away from free agent markets and save cash while still bulking up their resident farm system.
With the Cubs’ focus relying on organically promoting players throughout the system and improving the baseline benchmark of players who graduate through the many rankings of minor league ball, McLeod’s role is even more important than ever. It’s imperative for the Cubs that all players are developing at a healthy pace and are drafting effectively in order to be a competitive franchise not only in 3 years, but for many years to follow.
This strategy has bred champions in the past, and will indeed breed future champions.
Can we say that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are getting the job done? You bet we can, but don’t omit credit from Jason McLeod. You know he’s had his hands dirty in just about every pick, trade and deal the Cubs have mustered up to date.
When the time comes that the Cubs go on their World Series run and start buying up free agents to fill the minimal holes they’ll posses, you can thank McLeod for all his hard work.