Cubs News: Theo Epstein will not join the Philadelphia Phillies

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /

After stepping down from the Cubs, Theo Epstein rebuffed an offer from the Phillies.

At his final press conference as the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, Theo Epstein was very clear in his intentions. He felt the time was right to step aside and he was looking forward to spending time with his family next year, rather than running an MLB organization.

We had no reason to doubt anything Epstein said, but almost immediately, we heard there were teams – namely the Philadelphia Phillies – intending to lure the architect of three World Series-winning teams back to the front office sooner than he had hoped.

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Epstein told Phillies owner John Middleton that he had no interest in the role at this time, emphasizing his desire to take a breather from running an organization. That doesn’t come as a surprise – but it did make me think: will Epstein ever run another franchise’s baseball operations department?

I mean, we’re talking about a guy who ended the game’s two lengthiest and most infamous World Series droughts in Boston and Chicago. He engineered a complete overhaul on the North Side, changing everything about what it meant to ‘be Cub’. What other baseball ops opportunity could come even remotely close to touching his time with the Cubs and Red Sox?

Ownership – in some fashion – could be the next step. I imagine this time next year, we’ll have a clearer picture as to what’s next for Epstein in the game. Let’s all just hold out hope he’ll someday take a run at the role of commissioner. I mean, nobody’s going to miss Rob Manfred when he’s  – that’s for sure.

But circling back to the Phillies for a moment. Philadelphia hasn’t reached the postseason since 2011. This, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on big-name free agents, namely Bryce Harper – who inked a record 13-year, $330 million deal with the club ahead of the 2019 campaign. 

Every offseason, it seems like we’re talking about the moves the Phillies are making and each spring, there’s optimism in the City of Brotherly Love. But each year, the result is the same. That led to Middleton starting a ‘revamp’ of the front office – beginning with a reassignment for GM Matt Klentak.

Philadelphia has interviewed multiple candidates, including Michael Hill, the former Marlins president of baseball operations, and current Dodgers senior VP of baseball operations Josh Byrnes. That’s really all we know, though. There is no clear resolution to the organization’s ongoing search.

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It’s good news for the Cubs that Epstein is sitting out 2021. Seeing a team with the resources that Philly boasts under the leadership of arguably the best executive the game has ever seen is hardly ideal. At least, for the time being, we don’t have to come to grips with such a reality.