Cubs hire scouting director Kantrovitz

November 13th, 2019

CHICAGO -- The early portion of the Cubs' offseason has been filled with turnover within the team's leadership structure. There was, of course, the hiring of David Ross as Chicago's new manager, but alterations have been taking place throughout the organizational ladder.

Following an overhaul of the player-development hierarchy earlier this offseason, the Cubs have hired Dan Kantrovitz as the team's new vice president of scouting, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told reporters at the GM Meetings on Wednesday in Scottsdale, Ariz. Kantrovitz will oversee Chicago's amateur scouting department and head the team's strategies in the MLB Draft.

Kantrovitz has spent the past five years as an assistant general manager in his second career stint with the A's, focusing on statistical analysis for the Draft, trades and potential free-agent acquisitions. He previously worked as the director of scouting for the Cardinals from 2012-14, and he held an analytical role for Oakland's international and baseball operations departments from '09-11.

"It's a unique opportunity," Epstein said. "Guys don't usually go back once they reach the assistant GM level, but in Dan's case, he has just discovered that his passion is running the Draft. He really fits the exact profile we're looking for. He can scout. He goes out and sees 200 players a year when he's running the Draft and can really relate very well to scouts. And he's also got experience building advanced analytical models and combining both those worlds in a really effective manner. So, I think he fills a big void for us. I look forward to working with him for years to come."

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis asked Kantrovitz earlier this offseason about potentially bringing him back into the fold as an advisor or special assistant. Kantrovitz was also reportedly a finalist for the Phillies' general manager vacancy in 2015.

Kantrovitz -- who has a bachelor's degree in organizational behavior and management from Brown University (2001) and a master's degree in statistics from Harvard ('09) -- will join a revamped front office with the Cubs.

The Cubs' changes to their front office began in September, when Jason McLeod was promoted to senior vice president of player personnel. He will now focus more on the Major League roster, alongside Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, following a run as Chicago's senior VP of amateur scouting and player development.

That move with McLeod took on greater importance this week, when Scott Harris (formerly an assistant GM for the Cubs) was named the new GM of the Giants. That was a significant blow to Chicago's front office, but Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday at the GM Meetings that it will also create opportunities for other high-ranking members of the Cubs' staff.

"He's a great friend of mine. I'm thrilled for him as a friend," Hoyer said of Harris. "As his past boss, obviously, you're very disappointed when you lose a talent like that. But you know what? It's not much different than when you lose a player for the year in the season. You've got to replace him. You've got to let other people take that responsibility. ... It gives a lot of people opportunity and hopefully those guys will make the most of it."

The Cubs continued their behind-the-scenes changes in October. Matt Dorey was elevated to the role of senior director of player development, following six years as the team's director of amateur scouting. Bobby Basham (director of player development) and Jeremy Farrell (assistant director of player development) will work directly under Dorey.

Jaron Madison (director of player development from 2014-19) was named a special assistant to Epstein and Hoyer with a focus on player evaluation across all scouting departments.

With an eye on continuing to modernize the team's player development operations, the Cubs also named a director of pitching (Craig Breslow) and director of hitting (Justin Stone) as part of the October reorganization.

The one void the Cubs needed to fill was the scouting-director role that opened when Dorey was promoted. Chicago explored external candidates in an effort to continue to shake up its operations, and the franchise felt it found its answer in Kantrovitz.

Soon, the Cubs will be able to focus all of their attention on the team's roster.

"We've had a lot of internal dialogue, some conversations with teams," Hoyer told reporters on Tuesday. "But I think with putting together a coaching staff, the manager process, we've obviously had a lot of turnover in player development, some in scouting, so yeah, that's taken up a lot of our time."