Monday, July 18, 2016

Five Potential Twins GM Candidates

Jerry Lai, USA Today Sports (Chicago Cubs Brass including Jason McLeod)
The winds of change are in the air around Target Field. The Twins removed Terry Ryan from his position as general manager. Minnesota will immediately begin their search for Ryan's replacement and the hope is to have someone new in the position by season's end.

So here's where the rubber meets the road... what kind of candidates are available to get the Twins back to their winnings ways?

By many accounts, Theo Epstein is the "Godfather" of the current baseball world. He acquired 11 members of the 2016 National and American League All-Star teams during his 14-year tenure with the Red Sox and Cubs. If Minnesota wants to make a step in the right direction, it might be good to find someone connected to Epstein.

Candidate: Jason McLeod 
Role: Cubs Senior VP of Player Development 
McLeod has worked with Epstein since the beginning. McLeod has been rumored to be a top GM candidate for years and Chicago's recent turnaround will only help push the envelope. Some of his player development successes include Dustin Pedroia, Kris Bryant, and Anthony Rizzo. He's also done a good job of finding undervalued pitchers like last year's NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta.

If I were running the Twins, McLeod would be the candidate I would spend the most time pursuing. As recent as last season, he wondered what it would be at the helm of his own organization. Minnesota might provided the right opportunity with a budding farm system and talented young players already on the roster.

Candidate: Ben Cherington
Role: Former Red Sox GM
Cherington, the man that took over for Epstein in Boston, left the Red Sox front office last August after the team hired Dave Dombrowski as the new president of baseball operations. This basically took away any decision-making power from Cherington. At the time, he indicated that he wanted a break from the baseball work and he turned down opportunities to interview for the GM openings in Seattle and Philadelphia. In his four years at the helm in Boston, he finished last three times and won the 2013 World Series. He is currently teaching at Columbia University in the sports management program.

Candidate: Kim Ng 
Role: MLB Vice President for Baseball Operations
Minnesota could really make a splash by hiring the first female GM out of the four major sports. While previously working as an assistant GM with the Yankees and Dodgers, she has interviewed for various GM jobs with the Dodgers, Mariners, Padres, and Angels. She has worked in her current position at MLB since 2011 where she works under Joe Torre. When taking the position, she made it clear that her career goal remains being a GM as other executives have made the jump from the Commissioner's Office to a GM position.

Candidate: Thad Levine
Role: Rangers Assistant GM
Levine has worked well with Jon Daniels in Texas so it would take quite the offer to remove him from his current position. The duo was behind one of the best trades in Rangers history that sent Mark Teixeria to Atlanta for a bushel of prospects including Elvis Andrus. Before joining the Rangers eight seasons ago, Levine worked in Colorado as the Rockies' Senior Director of Baseball Operations. Levine was a candidate for the Diamondbacks job in 2014 but he withdrew his name before Arizona hired Dave Stewart.

Candidate: Hal Morris
Role: Director of Pro Scouting for the Los Angeles Angeles
Ryan had a deep background in the scouting world so the Twins might want to go in a different direction than Morris. However, Morris does have an MBA from Stanford so he could be good at handling the business side of the GM position. Morris also served as a scout for the Red Sox and Pirates before taking his current position. He has been a candidate for the Diamondbacks and Angels GM positions in recent years and many people think highly of him in baseball circles.

What names stand out to you? What kind of characteristics should the Twins be looking for? Leave a COMMENT and start the discussion.

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