Theo Epstein will step down from his role as Cubs’ president of baseball operations, the team announced on Tuesday. General manager Jed Hoyer will be promoted into Epstein’s old position.
The move comes amid an offseason of expected change in the organization with Epstein being the first domino to fall.
“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. “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.”
Epstein has always been honest about his thoughts on having a new voice within an organization after a certain time. During his end-of-season press conference last month, the Cubs’ former president didn’t shy away from the possibility that he and the team would part ways, but often used the words “transition” and “change” when speaking on what his future with the organization was.
After reflecting on some of the ramifications that the pandemic would have on future decisions, Epstein decided now was the right time to make a move.
“Many of you are aware that I’ve always planned to be with the Cubs for about 10 years,” Epstein said in Tuesday’s press conference. “Because of that, Tom and I had been in communication for the last several years about a possible transition and to try to figure out a way to execute a transition that would be best for the Cubs, put the organization in the best possible position and also be good for me.
“It became really clear that we’d be facing some significant long term decisions this winter, decisions with long-term impacts. And, you know, those types of decisions are really best made by somebody who’s going to be here. For a long time, not just for one more year, there’s somebody who’s invested in the organization for the long haul.”
Epstein, 46, came to the Cubs in 2011 and has been in charge of the organization’s return to respectability and credibility within the sport. Since taking over, the Cubs have gone 705-651 with five postseason appearances, three trips to the National League Championship Series and a 2016 World Series title.
“Theo came in nine years ago, he hit the ground running, put together a brilliant staff, and early on promised us sustained success,” Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said. “And to a Cubs fan, that was a that was a foreign concept. But then, after a few years of hard work and rebuilding the organization, he delivered sustained success.
“Not only did we have the the 2016 World Series, which of course was the most remarkable and memorable World Series of all time, we had great playoff runs in years around that. And we sustained that success to go to the playoffs five of the last six years and and be considered a contender every year.”
According to a source, Hoyer will be signing a contract extension to remain with the organization long term. With Hoyer becoming the new president of baseball operations, the search will now begin for a new general manager.
“Jed is ready to take over. He really is,” Epstein said. “He’s been a huge part of all our success here and has been a huge part of my success in my career.”
The team may look outside the organization, but could also hire a candidate internally. Several members of the Cubs’ front office have been sought after around baseball. Jason McLeod, senior VP of player personnel, was a finalist for the Angels’ GM opening. Former assistant general manager Scott Harris was hired as the San Francisco Giants general manager in 2019.
Current assistant general managers Randy Bush and Jeff Greenberg are also both highly regarded within the organization.