- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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In most circumstances when an executive is hired above your management level, it is time to send out your resume. In the case of 30-year veteran scouting director Tim Wilken, it meant a kick upstairs.
Chicago Cubs vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod made the decision on Friday that he would promote Wilken to special assistant to the president/GM and replace him with Jaron Madison, who was head of amateur scouting with San Diego the last three seasons.
“This move allows us to use [Wilken’s] strengths and skills in a greater capacity,” McLeod said. “He will be touching all the departments in the organization with still a heavy influence in amateur scouting.”
Wilken was hired seven years ago by boyhood friend Jim Hendry to run the draft and the department. McLeod was brought in by the new management team last November to oversee Wilkens’ department as well as Oneri Fleita and his minor league system.
“Tim is such a talented evaluator and his history speaks for itself,” McLeod said.
As for the new director of scouting, Madison comes to the Cubs with a great pedigree, having worked with both McLeod and general manager Jed Hoyer.
“With Jaron, I have a history of having worked with him in San Diego,” McLeod said. “I hired him as the scouting director there. He understands our system and the processes we want to run and put in place. He is a talented evaluator himself and a great manager of scouts. For us it was a win-win to be able to do this.”
The 36-year-old Madison has a fine reputation in the industry.
“He was a real good person to work for and he is really a sharp evaluator,” said a former Padres scout with Midwest ties. “The Cubs have some really top baseball minds over there right now.
McLeod also talked about the recent promotion of Jorge Soler, the Cuban outfielder who signed a $30 million deal with the Cubs on July 1. Soler made his professional debut as a minor leaguer.
“We don’t have any big expectations for him right now other than to get professionalized , learn his teammates and get assimilated to the country,” McLeod said. “ So far he has handled that part of it very well and now it is good to see him get three weeks under his belt under fans.”
McLeod is not sure if Soler or hard-hitting Class A shortstop Javier Baez will play in the Arizona Fall League, which begins its season in early October and runs until the third week of November. The league is for the top-tier prospects from all teams to showcase their skills and play with the other young stars of the future on six different teams. The format has been expanded to include Class A prospects for the first time in 2012.