Cubs News: Thank you, Theo Epstein, if indeed this is the end

Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs fans owe a lot of gratitude to Theo Epstein for bringing them a championship.

The Chicago Cubs may be under new leadership soon. It is being reported that team President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and owner Tom Ricketts will be meeting this week to discuss its future. This has led to speculation that Epstein, with one year left on his contract, may be in his final days in Chicago.

Like with Joe Maddon on the field last year, there is a growing belief that it may be time for a change. The team has not won a playoff game in the last three years, with many key players woefully underachieving this year and increasing criticism of bad moves in recent years, such as trades with the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers.

Those are the circumstances by which Epstein has been judged in recent years, and that’s not entirely without merit. Indeed, the team appeared to be set up for long-term success a few years ago, but for a variety of reasons, it just hasn’t worked out. Epstein deserves some of the blame for that.

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Still, we cannot forget that Epstein pulled off one of the most remarkable achievements in the history of professional sports: He brought a championship to the north side of Chicago, ending over a century of frustration. He inherited an organization that was a huge mess after the 2011 season and had them in the playoffs in just four years and riding in a parade after only five. And he transformed a perennial loser into an organization that is expected to win year after year.

Epstein and Co. have had their faults, such as their inability to develop pitching. In fact, their farm system as a whole has not been producing much in recent years. Their plans haven’t been executed to perfection, but with 30 teams in the league, sustaining long-term winning is hard to do. The team has had a winning record for six straight years; that in itself is something to be proud of.

And of course, there’s that title in 2016. If, in 2012, Cubs fans were told that in the next nine seasons, there would be six winning years, three division titles, five playoff appearances, and a championship, I think most of us would have taken it.

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With so many hard decisions on the horizon and lots of change appearing to be necessary, perhaps it is time for the two sides to go their separate ways. If indeed, that is the case, I think all Cubs fans should come together and say, “Thank you, Theo.” Hopefully, history will judge him more for what he did achieve than what he didn’t.

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