A 2009 (!) graduate of UCLA (where he played lacrosse), Harris is the same age or younger than 23 players on the team's 40-man roster. Yeah, that's probably more advanced than working at the Oakton Community College Bookstore in Des Plaines, Ill., like some of us were doing at that age.
But the Cubs hiring a younger person to do such an important-sounding job jibes with the youthful Theo Epstein administration. Ten years ago this week, Epstein took over as GM of the Boston Red Sox when he was 28 14 years old. Current Cubs' GM Jed Hoyer is Epstein's age. Baseball is a young man's game! But DIRECTOR OF BASEBALL OPERATIONS. It's a position that probably sounds a little more important than it is, but it is important. Say, what is it, anyway?
Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune writes that Harris will assist Hoyer on matters of budget, player contracts, waivers and arbitration. Harris had been the coordinator of major-league operations with MLB, administering many of the same things on a league-wide level. At the same time, he has attended Columbia business school. He also interned with the Reds and Nationals. This guy's résumé — good grief.
Over at Camden Chat, a Baltimore Orioles Blog, a panel interviewed Matt Klentak, now the assistant GM of the Angels. But back in 2011, he was the O's director of baseball operations. Here's what he did:
While his responsibilities vary depending upon what is needed (he mentioned that a person in his position should never fall in love with one particular task because things change so rapidly), he is largely responsible for the administration of the forty-man roster ... including managing the disabled list and other details.
So, the D of B Ops is a Jack of all trades and a master ... of all trades. Maybe even actual trades. And the one for the Cubs is younger than Darwin Barney. And two-thirds of the starting outfield. And most of the pitching staff.
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