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Cubs Spring Training: Theo Epstein Initially Asked Padres About Josh Byrnes, Not Jed Hoyer

The Chicago Cubs are hoping to return to prominence on the backs of new president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and his general manager, Jed Hoyer, but apparently this set-up was always the plan. According to Dan Hayes of the North County Times, Epstein actually asked the San Diego Padres about Josh Byrnes, the former Diamondbacks GM that now holds the same position in San Diego, before hiring Hoyer.

When Chicago president of baseball operations Theo Epstein first contacted [then-Padres owner Jeff] Moorad for permission to speak with a member of the Padres' front office, Epstein requested Byrnes, who was at the time a special assistant to baseball operations and considered available, instead of Hoyer, an industry source confirmed.

At the time, Hoyer was the GM in San Diego and Byrnes was one of his special assistants. After the Cubs failed to lure Byrnes to Chicago, they offered Hoyer a five-year deal to move to the north side of Chicago. Hoyer went back to the Padres and asked them to match the offer, but they declined and allowed him to leave for the Cubs.

Following his departure, the Padres simply promoted Byrnes to become the new GM, essentially confirming that the organization preferred Byrnes to its previous GM. According to Hayes, Moorad actually told Hoyer that the team wouldn't match Chicago's offer, "because he was the GM of a last-place team."

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