It’s the end of an era. Theo Epstein stepped down from his role with the Cubs.
We knew this was a possibility. Theo Epstein never came out and fully promised a return in 2021, the final year of his contract. Now we know why. The Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations resigned, effective immediately, on Tuesday – passing the torch to GM Jed Hoyer.
"“The organization faces a number of decisions this winter that carry long-term consequences; those types of decisions are best made by someone who will be here for a long period rather than just one more year. Jed has earned this,” Epstein said in a statement."
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What a ride. It’s easy to look at the immediate impact. The franchise could, at least in theory, stand to save $10 million – Epstein’s reported salary for 2021. Given the crippling impact of COVID-19 on the entire league, this isn’t insignificant. It’s also commendable that Epstein understands the situation the organization faces and was willing to step aside in lieu of Hoyer.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Cubs will backfill Hoyer’s previous role as GM – but if so, I strongly suspect it will be an outside hire to bring a fresh perspective to the franchise.
Multiple reports – and Epstein’s own remarks – indicate he’s stepping away from the game, at least for 2021. Of course, several clubs, including the recently-sold New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies have key front office openings. But, for the time being, it looks like Epstein won’t throw his hat in the ring for those gigs.
"“We have had our most successful period in over a century under Theo’s leadership, and we are grateful for everything he has given to this organization and this city,” said Tom Ricketts. “Jed has been a big part of that success, too, and offers a combination of continuity and a fresh perspective that will serve us well as we look forward to another period of sustained success.”"
There’s no way to accurately put into words just what Epstein has meant – and will always mean – to the Cubs organization. A World Series championship, three consecutive NLCS appearances, three division titles and five straight winning seasons from 2015 to 2020.
I’ll never forget the World Series parade. Honestly, it was something I hadn’t even dreamed of as a kid. We were the Lovable Losers – and that was that. But thanks to Theo Epstein, everything changed – and for that, I – and Cubs fans everywhere – are eternally grateful.