Theo Epstein stepping down from Cubs front office
The Cubs announced Theo Epstein will step down from his position as president of baseball operations, effective Nov. 20, and will leave the organization.
Jed Hoyer will step into the president of baseball operations role and a sign a contract extension with the team.
A couple days after the 2020 Cubs season ended, Epstein discussed the potential for a transition period in the front office with his contract was set to run through the 2021 season.
During his end-of-season press conference, Epstein said he expected to remain in his position for the next year, but still had to discuss the matter with Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and acknowledged the inevitable change coming down the line.
“Theo and I have been communicating about this possible move for a couple of years, and we have been working together toward a transition that makes sense for the Cubs and for him,” Ricketts said in a statement. “The timing is right for a number of reasons, and most importantly we are both thrilled that Jed is the person succeeding Theo.
“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. 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.”
Epstein also weighed in with a statement on the decision:
“For the rest of my life, I will cherish having been part of the great Chicago Cubs organization during this historic period,” Epstein said. “All of the things that have made this experience so special — the fans, the players, the managers and coaches, ownership, my front office colleagues, the uniqueness of the Wrigley experience, the history — make it so tough to leave the Cubs. But I believe this is the right decision for me even if it’s a difficult one. And now is the right time rather than a year from now. 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 opportunity and is absolutely the right person to take over this baseball operation at such an important time.
“I am grateful to everyone with the Cubs: to the Ricketts family for this opportunity as well as for their loyalty; to the fans for their support and the depth of their emotional connection with the team; and to the players, coaches, staff and my front office colleagues for their friendship, excellence and dedication to helping us accomplish our initial goals of regular October baseball and a World Championship.”
Epstein joined the Cubs in the fall of 2011, taking over the front office and bringing Hoyer from San Diego to Chicago to serve as the general manager.
When Epstein took over, he set forth his clear goals – to create a team capable of sustained success and bring a World Series championship back to the North Side of Chicago.
He did exactly that, as the Cubs won it all in Epstein’s fifth year with the club, ending a 108-year World Series drought. The Cubs have also spent all but a handful of days in playoff contention over the last six seasons, making the postseason five times and reaching the National League Championship Series three times.
Epstein will unquestionably go into the baseball Hall of Fame one day as one of the game’s most successful executives. Before joining the Cubs, he spent 10 years running the Red Sox front office and helped end the championship drought in Boston in 2004.
Obviously the 2016 title will go down as the No. 1 accomplishment in Epstein’s tenure, but the executive was responsible for a plethora of savvy moves. From trading for Anthony Rizzo and Jake Arrieta to drafting Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber to signing Jon Lester and Ben Zobrist to hiring Joe Maddon and David Ross, Epstein’s leadership helped make the Cubs a perennial contender.
Above all else, Epstein’s nine-year run has changed the expectations in Chicago. Less than a decade ago, the fanbase would’ve been ecstatic simply to make the playoffs, but the current expectations are a deep postseason run each October.
“I have been so fortunate to work alongside Theo for 17 of the last 19 years,” Hoyer said in a team statement. “I could not have had a better mentor or a more loyal and trusted friend. He has already changed two storied franchises with his passion, creativity, intellect and leadership. I have no question that the next chapters in his career will be equally impressive and impactful.
“I am thankful to the Ricketts family for bestowing me with the opportunity to lead the Cubs baseball operation. For the last nine years, I have worked alongside so many dedicated colleagues with one goal in mind — to build a team and an organization that makes Cubs fans proud and provides them with memories of a lifetime.
“I am thrilled that this leadership transition will provide continuity to a department that has had tremendous successes over the past six seasons. Ultimately, this transition is about the future, and I look forward to constantly pushing the Cubs to evolve and grow to ensure that there is sustained success at Wrigley Field.”