Chicago Cubs: Theo Epstein’s future may hang in the balance

Theo Epstein, Tom Ricketts (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Theo Epstein, Tom Ricketts (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Coming off a season where the Chicago Cubs coaching staff couldn’t out-manage front office missteps, the future of Theo Epstein is officially at stake now.

There’s no better way to describe the reasoning behind Joe Maddon’s departure as an inability to out-manage the mistakes made by the Chicago Cubs front office. It’s as simple as that.

Theo Epstein gave Maddon minimal help in the bullpen and a lack of depth on the bench, leaving the former Cubs manager little room for error. In 2018, Chili Davis was the scapegoat. This time around, Maddon paid the price. But moving forward the blame should not be placed anywhere else but the front office.

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What is the cost of a championship? This is one of the biggest questions in sports and the Cubs are learning the hard way the many expenses associated.

Tom Ricketts brought Epstein in to do one thing: bring a World Series title home for the first time in 108 years. Now, with that box checked, it’s time to go get the next one.

For anyone that regrets the Gleyber Torres for Aroldis Chapman deal, there is no broken curse without the lefty-fireballer. Even if we have a star second baseman now, we are in worse shape than the LA Dodgers if that trade never gets done.

An opportunity for a championship doesn’t come around all that often, especially in Wrigleyville, so it is crucial to put all your chips on the table when the time does come. That is what our front office did. It doesn’t matter if it sets your team back a few years, because the ultimate goal of every team is to win the World Series.

Epstein did what he set out to do, and his new task is to not only win another, but to set the Cubs up for consistent long-term success. Rebuilding the farm, hitting on your free agent acquisitions and pulling off key trades are huge components to creating organizational consistency.

Since winning it all back in 2016, getting everything back in order has not been easy. Epstein hasn’t necessarily hit his mark since that franchise-altering season. In fact, each season has gotten a little bit worse. An NLCS loss in 2017, a Wild Card exit in 2018 and an October-less 2019 has indicated a sharp downturn for the Cubs.

In the 2018 collapse, the blame was placed on the new hitting coach in Davis. How could an offense that had made three-straight NLCS appearances with one championship be the problem? After the team moved on from Davis, the offense showed even more regression in 2019. We are at the point now where the players and front office need to be looked at. Epstein is aware of this and has big plans for the 2019 off-season.

The future of Epstein and his front office are at stake over these next few seasons. They have a huge managerial decision ahead of them, a bullpen that needs an extreme makeover and an offense that needs correction. With a core that is more than capable, the championship window is still open, but if Epstein and his staff miss on another offseason, that window will close sooner rather than later.

Just like Maddon, we know Epstein was the right man at the right time for the Cubs run that began in 2015. Now that Maddon is gone, we can only ask ourselves if Epstein remains ‘the guy’ in the front office for this next chapter of Cubs baseball.

Next. Free agency could provide the Cubs' answer at second. dark

If he wants to be in it for the long-haul, these next two offseasons will be crucial to show the Cubs he can still get the team where it wants to go.