Sep 25, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres CEO Mike Dee prior to the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Over the past decade, the Boston Red Sox have arguably been the most successful franchise in baseball, and maybe even in all of sports. The turning point for the historic franchise came when new ownership came in 2002, with a group that included Larry Lucchino. Lucchino was given credit for assembling the front office with his protege , Theo Epstein, standing at the forefront. Since that time, the Red Sox have won 3 World Series and remain a powerhouse franchise (despite their horrid 2014 performance) to this day.
So what does all this have to do with the San Diego Padres? The answer is that it doesn’t have anything to do with the Padres, but rather Mike Dee. Dee, who became the President and CEO of the Padres under the new ownership group, worked under Lucchino with the Padres from 1999 to 2002 and with the Red Sox and Fenway Sports Group from 2002 to 2009. Obviously the two have a long history together, and are likely still on good terms. One would have to imagine Dee will place a few phone calls to Lucchino while the team is searching for it’s next GM.
This wouldn’t be the first time the Padres have poached someone from Boston’s front office during the Lucchino regime. Most recently, it was Josh Byrnes, who was the Assistant GM for the Red Sox before he left for the Arizona GM job, and then eventually the San Diego GM job. While Byrnes is now viewed as a flop, we can still speculate on what Jed Hoyer could have been. Hoyer replaced Byrnes as Epstein’s right hand man, and like Byrnes, he found himself in charge of the Padres. Unfortunately, we never got a real chance to see Hoyer put his stamp on the organization, because he bolted to Chicago to be Epstein’s puppet for the Cubs after almost 2 years to the day of being named the Padres’ GM.
So if the Padres look to dig into the Red Sox front office, who would they look at to become the newest GM? Mike Hazen and Brian O’Halloran are the two top dogs in Ben Cherington’s regime, and will be the two who will get the longest look. Hazen’s rise came through the scouting department, while O’Halloran rose up through Baseball Ops. Scouting and player development is the area where the Padres have had the most success in recent years, building up a strong farm system.
Where they’ve failed has been on the Baseball Ops side of things. O’Halloran would be the obvious choice in that regard, but by many people, Hazen is viewed as someone who is ready to take over a team. Hazen has been someone whose name has popped up in rumors for GM openings in the past, while O’Halloran’s name has never appeared. That being said, the lack of rumors for a person shouldn’t prevent the Padres from looking at a guy, but it makes you wonder why teams have looked at Hazen, but not him.
If Dee and the Padres want stay away from the Red Sox, but still pick from Lucchino’s tree, they may give a long look to Jason McLeod. McLeod is currently director of scouting with the Chicago Cubs, and worked in the scouting department under Epstein and Lucchino in Boston. McLeod was given the lion share of the credit for fortifying the Red Sox’ farm system, which produced players such as Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Jonathon Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Xander Bogaerts among others. McLeod has a strong track record, and has a definite eye for good, young talent.
Maybe this connection between Dee and Lucchino is overblown, but it never hurts to have a little help, especially when looking for someone to fill a job of such a high magnitude. I’m almost certain Dee will turn to Lucchino for some sort of guidance, but to what extent will Lucchino give it? We’ll just have to wait and see.