On June 22, the Padres fired former general manager Josh Byrnes (and our own Ed Carroll recently suggested that the Indians should consider bringing Byrnes, a former Indians employee, back to the organization).
But apparently the Padres have interest in another member of the Indians’ front office: Assistant GM Mike Chernoff.
However, Chernoff does not appear to reciprocate interest, and has decided to stay with the Indians for the time being.
#padres update day: indians assistant gm mike chernoff turned down chance to interview for SD gm job, joining forst/mcleod
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 3, 2014
(It’s worth mentioning that the other two candidates Heyman mentions in his tweet are Oakland’s David Forst and the Cubs’ Jason McLeod.)
The Padres have been connected to no shortage of candidates for their vacant GM position, so it’s not surprising to see them consider Chernoff, who has long been known in baseball as one of the better candidates to run a team someday.
It’s not clear why Chernoff declined to interview with San Diego, but I’d like to think that he feels the Indians are building something special, similar to the reason why current Browns GM Ray Farmer declined a chance for the same job with the Miami Dolphins.
Chernoff originally graduated from Princeton, and is currently in his 12th season with the Indians. He took an internship with the Tribe his senior year in college, and has remained with the team ever since.
In an interview with MLBTradeRumors in 2011, Chernoff said the following about learning under others in the Indians’ front office:
From very early on in my time here I was put in contact with our pro scouting department, which evolved into managing that department, which was one of the best things for my development. I basically talked every day with Steve Lubratich, who has been influential in mentoring me in that side of the game.
From the time I first got here, Chris [Antonetti] has been unbelievable in the opportunities, feedback, and development he’s given me. I’ve learned a lot from watching Mark [Shapiro] interacting with him but also just watching him and how he leads people. I’ve been lucky to be around some quality people in this front office – Mike Hazen, Steve Lubratich, Chuck Tanner, Neal Huntington, DeJon Watson – they’ve made a huge impact.
The Indians have been the starting place for many executives around baseball, as Hazen is now an Assistant GM with the Red Sox, while Huntington is the current GM of the Pirates. Watson currently works with the Dodgers and has been mentioned as a potential GM candidate as well.
The Padres are currently going with a trio of men to run their baseball operations, though former major league GM Omar Minaya (the same man who the Indians hosed in the famous Bartolo Colon trade) will reportedly handle most of the decision-making until San Diego is able to hire someone else.
It’s hard to blame the Padres for having interest in Chernoff, and he has the ability to be a terrific major league GM someday.
However, that day has not come yet, and Chernoff will remain in the Tribe’s front office for now — and hopefully many more years as well.