The Theo Epstein Rumors Live On


Last winter, the Chicago Cubs’ front office was faced with a difficult decision to make. After the season ended last year, the Cubs were left without a manager. Lou Piniella retired just before the last month of the 2010 season, and Mike Quade still had the interim label before his name. Jim Hendry and the rest of the Cubs front office had to decide whether they wanted to wait until the playoffs concluded to make run at Joe Girardi, or bypass the opportunity, and hire a manager before Girardi was ever deemed available or unavailable. As we all know, Hendry opted for the latter and hired Quade as the full-time manager.

Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is now in similar situation that he and Hendry were in last season. Only this time, Ricketts is searching for a new general manager, and then presumably a new manager after that. Ricketts is swinging for fences in his search for a general manager as the Cubs owner is determined to lure away Theo Epstein, Andrew Friedman, Billy Beane, or Brian Cashman from their current organizations. Of the four, Cashman and Epstein are Ricketts’ preferred candidates. But how long will Ricketts have to wait for either Cashman or Epstein, and would the wait be worth it?

Both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox figure to be a part of the American League post-season picture. Meaning that both Cashman and Epstein may not be available until November at the earliest. And it would appear that Ricketts is willing to wait that long if he felt that he had a viable shot at landing one of the two. Though, Cashman may be a moot point as there is a belief that there is an understanding between Cashman and his bosses that he will remain with the Yankees’ organization.

Though, the same can not be said about Epstein. Up to this point, the belief was that while Epstein has always admired the Cubs general manager position, he has no intention of leaving Boston. However, that sentiment has changed over recent recent days. There were three separate–yet related–reports today that revealed that Epstein may in fact be a serious candidate to be the next general manager of the Cubs. Tom Loxas of Cubs Insider, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, and Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune all seem to believe that the chances of Epstein joining the Cubs front office may be better than originally thought. Both Rogers and Cafardo note that those around the baseball industry have not ruled out Epstein leaving the Red Sox in favor of the Cubs.

There is one certainty about Ricketts’ search for a general manager, the Cubs owner is determined to land a “big-name” candidate. While Cashman and Friedman appear to be unlikely candidates, Ricketts may do all in his power to convince either Epstein or Beane to join the Cubs organization. It is not out of the question that Ricketts will be able to persuade Epstein to leave the franchise that he admired growing up. Epstein is intrigued by the new challenge that running the Cubs would bring, and it is believed that Epstein wants to eventually pursue a president-type of position with an organization. If that is what it takes for Epstein leave Boston and come to Chicago, Ricketts would be more than willing to offer Epstein that type of role with the Cubs.

There seems to be a conception going around that the Cubs general manager position is not as coveted as some make it out to be. That statement could not be any further from the truth. The Cubs general manager position is an essential gold mine. With Tom Ricketts entrenched as the team’s chairman, the Cubs have an ownership group that is willing to spend unlimited resources in order to turn the Cubs into perennial contenders. Ricketts is more than willing to spend as much as the Yankees or Red Sox do, and that should be reason enough for any general manager to be interested in the Cubs’ general managerial opening.