CHICAGO – A change in leadership for Cubs’ baseball in the front office is going to come a little earlier than expected.
On Tuesday morning, Theo Epstein announced he was stepping down as Cubs’ President of Baseball Operations on November 20th and will be succeeded by current general manager Jed Hoyer.
It was expected that he would step aside from his role at some point after his tenth year with the team at the end of the 2021 season. However, he’s decided to make the change a bit earlier than expected, as he ends a nine-year run with the club that began in October of 2011.
“For the rest of my life, I will cherish having been part of the great Chicago Cubs organization during this historic period,” said Epstein in a statement released by the team. “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.”
Hired by the Cubs on October 25, 2011, Epstein oversaw the complete rebuilding of the team from bottom of the minor leagues to the major league club. That helped create on of the greatest eras in team history, where from 2015 through 2020 the club made the playoffs five times, the NLCS three times, and won the 2016 World Series.
That championship was the first for the club in 108 years and snapped the longest championship drought for a North American professional sports franchise.
After the Cubs’ loss in the 2020 National League Wild Card series to the Marlins, Epstein spoke to reporters about a possible change in leadership involving himself. At his introductory news conference in 2011, he spoke about a need for change in sports organizations every ten years, and he reiterated that this October.
“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,” said Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts in a statement released by the club. “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.”
Hoyer has been with the Cubs since Epstein arrived, and was officially hired one day after the team president. He worked with Epstein in Boston before taking the general manager job with the Padres which he held for two years.
He now has the job of setting the course for the next era of Cubs’ baseball as a number of important decisions must be made for the club concerning their roster. A number of the team’s young stars, including Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo, have their contracts expiring at the conclusion of the 2021 season.