Cubs president Jed Hoyer is narrowing his search for a new general manager, focusing on candidates with a strong history in player development. A decision could come after the divisional round of the playoffs. Per The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney, among the final candidates are Carlos Rodriguez of the Rays, Carter Hawkins and James Harris of Cleveland, and Jeremy Zoll of the Twins. There may be other candidates, but these four at least are in the running.
Hawkins and Harris both have a hand in building Cleveland’s successful farm system and pitching development team. Hawkins began as an advanced scouting intern back in 2008, elevating to AGM before the 2017 season. Harris is Cleveland’s vice president of player development. Harris actually comes from football, having worked as Chip Kelly’s Chief of Staff when he was head coach of the Eagles.
Zoll is an assistant general manager in Minnesota, focusing on minor league operations. He is a Harvard alum who also worked with the Dodgers and Angels. Exposure to multiple franchises and differing ways of evaluating the game should be a boon to Zoll’s resume. Being a part of Minnesota’s homegrown approach to team-building is also likely viewed as an asset for a Cubs’ team looking to create a better development engine than they’ve had in recent years under Theo Epstein’s reign.
As for Rodriguez, it’s not surprising to see the Cubs explore poaching a Rays’ executive. The Rays have proven adept at building a farm system that should keep Tampa competitive for years to come. Former Rays’ executives hold top positions in Los Angeles, Boston, and Houston, and they’ve proven successful both in and outside of Tampa Bay. Rodriguez is their vice president of player development and international scouting.
For the Cubs, they are desperate to build a development team that can do a better job of sustaining success than their previous efforts. Though the Ricketts Family oversaw unprecedented success in Wrigley Field during the Joe Maddon era, those contenders fizzled out after three consecutive NLCS appearances from 2015 to 2017. Bottoming out with a 91-loss club this year, the Cubs are more-or-less starting from scratch in building a true contender.