Theo Epstein has resigned as team president of the Chicago Cubs after nine seasons, the club announced Tuesday. He will officially step down from his position Friday, when GM Jed Hoyer will be promoted to assume Epstein’s responsibilities.
NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan reported in early October that the Cubs were exploring the possibility of letting Epstein go this offseason rather than wait for his contract to end after the 2021 season. Epstein told 670 the Score that same week that he expected to be with the team next season. That position evidently changed over the last month.
“I believe this is the right decision for me even if it’s a difficult one,” Epstein said in a statement released by the Cubs. “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.”
Epstein, 46, is a three-time World Series champion famous for helping the Boston Red Sox snap their 86-year title drought in 2004 and the Cubs put an end to their 108-year streak without a championship in 2016. After former manager Joe Maddon was a lame duck on the Cubs during the final year of his contract in 2019, Epstein elected to start fresh.
The Cubs have made the playoffs in three of the four years since winning the World Series, but they’ve only won a single postseason series over that span. Epstein’s departure was expected to come eventually, just not as soon as this offseason.
But now that Epstein is a free agent, the league’s attention will shift toward his next landing spot. Epstein reportedly wrote a letter to his Cubs colleagues saying that while he does plan to sign with another team in the future, he wants to take next summer off to be with his family and work with non-profit organizations.
However, there are two teams currently looking for top executives should he change his mind and both reside in the NL East.
The Philadelphia Phillies — who this reporter mentioned as a possible fit in October — are reportedly set to begin interviewing candidates for team president this week while the New York Mets are looking for a GM to work under new owner Steve Cohen and re-hired president Sandy Alderson. Philadelphia has reportedly explored the possibility of waiting until next year to hire a new team president, so a deal could potentially still happen if Epstein follows through on his decision to wait until the 2021-22 offseason to sign with a new club.