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Jed Hoyer, Jason McLeod leave Padres to join Theo Epstein, Cubs

Theo Epsteprotégé Jed Hoyer left his positias general manager Padres become Cubs’ executive vice president GM.  |

Theo Epstein protégé Jed Hoyer left his position as general manager of the Padres to become the Cubs’ executive vice president and GM. | AP

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Updated: November 28, 2011 10:21AM

Team Theo is locked and reloaded. Now we’ll get to see if its aim has improved with age.

About the only thing certain so far is that the once-long-shot prospect of reuniting Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod to overhaul the Cubs was the easy part. Now comes a century’s worth of unfinished business to accomplish.

They will start that process Thursday after the announcement Wednesday
confirming more than a week’s worth of reports that Hoyer and McLeod are leaving their jobs as the San Diego Padres’ general manager and assistant GM, respectively, to join the Cubs.

The day after Epstein was intro-
duced as the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, Hoyer joined his staff as executive vice president and GM and McLeod as senior vice president for scouting and player development.

It reunites three of the top decision-makers from the Boston Red Sox’ front office responsible for the 2004 and 2007 World Series titles.

Replacing Hoyer is Padres senior vice president for baseball operations Josh Byrnes, a former GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks and also a former member of Epstein’s front office with the Red Sox.

With the rainout Wednesday of Game 6 of the World
Series, the commissioner’s office consented to the joint statement by the Cubs and Padres. News conferences are expected after the Series ends.

The teams agreed on compensation of one player to be named later to
allow Hoyer and McLeod out of their contracts with the
Padres. Both are thought to have five-year contracts with the Cubs, matching the length of Epstein’s $18.5 million deal.

Unlike the contentious compensation dealings between the Cubs and Red Sox for Epstein, which remain unresolved, talks between the Cubs and Padres have been smooth from the start. That’s partly because of Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts’ strong relationship with Padres CEO Jeff Moorad and partly because of Moorad’s ability to promote Byrnes, his old GM when both were with the Diamondbacks, into a bigger role.

McLeod, a great-grandnephew of Hall of Fame pitcher Carl Hubbell, ran the Red Sox’ drafts that produced 2007 American League most valuable player Dustin Ped-
roia and All-Stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz. Farm director Oneri Fleita and scouting director Tim Wilken will report to him.

The former whiz kids of the Red Sox’ front office already have been meeting and working on Cubs
issues, including the field staff and deadline-driven decisions about player personnel.

Manager Mike Quade, who has a year left on his contract, was
expected to be in town this week to meet with Epstein and Hoyer about his future.

And third baseman Aramis Ramirez, the Cubs’ most productive hitter, suddenly has laid a
$16 million decision on the new brass. Barely a month after he
reiterated his intention to opt out of his mutual option with the Cubs and become a free agent if they exercised the $16 million clause, Ramirez now says he will consider staying if that happens, agent Paul Kinzer said.

Kinzer told the Sun-Times he spoke with Ramirez in the Dominican Republic and relayed Ramirez’s feelings of ‘‘respect’’ for Epstein. He also said Ramirez is ‘‘really happy’’ with the Cubs’ new top baseball man.

But that doesn’t mean Kinzer necessarily would advise his client
to accept a one-year deal and pass up potential four-year offers on the open market after a strong 2011 season (.306, 26 home runs,
93 RBI).

Ramirez’s change of heart on the one-year possibility puts a wrinkle into what otherwise might have been been an easily measured
decision. The Cubs will lose a supplemental first-round draft pick if they let Ramirez walk without
exercising the option.

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