The Mets could be eyeing Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein.
What can be said that hasn’t already been repeated by countless folks when it comes to Theo Epstein. He not only ended a century-plus title drought that plagued generations of Cubs fans, he also did the same in Boston for Red Sox Nation.
He’s no stranger to organizations that need a culture change. There are few organizations in MLB that fit that description better than the New York Mets, who seem to constantly one-up themselves when it comes to sideshow distractions both on and off the field.
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But that could soon be a thing of the past. Billionaire Steve Cohen is on the brink of becoming the Mets’ newest owner – and there are rumblings that he’ll clean house on the baseball operations front once that’s official. According to the New York Post‘s Joel Sherman, the perfect man to take the reins under Cohen? None other than Epstein.
Why would the Cubs let him go? Epstein has always said his life span in any baseball executive job is 10 years. He is in Year 9 with the Cubs. He is owed about $10 million next year. One area that owners have indicated cuts could be coming is in the high-priced baseball operations heads (Cohen’s billions would be more immune to this). Cubs owner Tom Ricketts probably would not stand in Epstein’s way, especially since a succession plan with current Chicago GM Jed Hoyer has been long layed out.
See? This is why this rumor makes a ton of sense to me. We know Ricketts is going to cut payroll. The organization already gutted the baseball ops team in cost-cutting moves earlier this year. Without a single fan setting foot in Wrigley Field this year, the losses have been catastrophic (when compared to a ‘normal’ year and the corresponding financial expectations).
Saving the money owed to Epstein and tapping Hoyer to lead the team into the future makes so much sense it’s not even funny. Given how many of the Cubs’ core players are nearing free agency, letting Epstein’s successor take control next year, rather than in 2022 might let him shape the team in a more impactful way than simply inheriting a team in flux.
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This will be a huge story to keep an eye on in the weeks and months to come. I doubt Cohen wastes any time stripping the Mets down to the studs and rebuilding it. The only question is whether or not he’ll tap Epstein to orchestrate an end to yet another title drought.