Cubs president Theo Epstein, the highest profile team executive in baseball, has resigned from the position he has held for nine years — with one year remaining on his contract — in a move first reported last month by NBC Sports Chicago's David Kaplan as a strong possibility, the team announced Tuesday.
Epstein's longtime confidante and Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer will be promoted to replace Epstein as team president when the transition becomes official at the end of the week, the team said. Hoyer, whose contract as GM also ran through next season, is expected to get a contract extension as part of the move.
"For the rest of my life, I will cherish having been part of the great Chicago Cubs organization during this historic period," Epstein said in a statement. "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."
Epstein, a certain Hall of Fame executive who presided over the ends of the two most famous championship droughts in baseball history in Boston and Chicago, presumably allows the Cubs to recoup the $10 million in 2021 salary that remained on his contract — at a time of deep revenue losses, payroll cutting and organization-wide layoffs that involved more than 100 employees.
"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," chairman Tom Ricketts said in a statement. "The timing is right for a number of reasons, and most i portantly 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."
In addition to the historic 2016 championship, Epstein's legacy in Chicago includes six consecutive winning seasons (2015-20) with five playoff appearances — including three division titles — in that stretch.