Chicago Cubs: Re-examining Theo Epstein’s first year on the job

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Theo Epstein took over as President of Baseball Operations after the 2011 season. Here, we look back at his first year on the job with the Chicago Cubs.

After the 2011 season, the Chicago Cubs made their first big move toward becoming a contender by hiring Theo Epstein to become President of Baseball Operations. Epstein had already become a legend by building the Boston Red Sox team that broke their 86-year championship drought. The Yale graduate came to Chicago tasked with ending an even longer drought.

Under Epstein, the Chicago Cubs have had one of their best runs in team history. Starting in 2015, the team had five straight winning seasons, including four straight playoff appearances. And as we know, he was able to build the roster that ended the Cubs’ championship futility after 108 years in 2016. Despite things not going as well as we’d hoped over the past couple of seasons, overall we should be able to say that Epstein’s run has been a success to this point.

Yet before all the winning, there were a few painful rebuilding years. The organization that Epstein inherited was a mess, and it was clear that he was not going to be able to build a championship-caliber roster right away. It would take a lot of good trades, free agent signings, and draft picks to get to that point.

Epstein’s first year on the job was critical in laying the groundwork for success. On the field, there wasn’t much to get excited about, as the team had one of their worst seasons in franchise history at 61-101. Most of the decisions that Epstein and his team made were geared toward the future. Here, we look back at some of the most important moves that the team made during Epstein’s first year and how they impacted the team’s long-term success.