Sources: Cubs' Epstein, Ricketts To Discuss Future Of Baseball Ops
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and Chair Tom Ricketts will meet this week to "discuss the long-term plan for the baseball operations department," according to sources cited by David Kaplan of NBC SPORTS CHICAGO. Kaplan: "I don’t see Epstein returning to run the Cubs baseball operations team when his contract expires next year." Sources said that while the "status quo is most likely, one of the possible scenarios that will be discussed is Epstein exiting now rather than waiting to complete the final year of his contract," which runs through the end of the '21 MLB season, if that "better positions the Cubs for their future." But Kaplan noted Ricketts and Epstein have a "great relationship and will collaborate on planning a transition that is in the Cubs’ best interests," and one option that will be discussed is Epstein "staying through the end of next season and helping transition the organization to a new team president." Still, it is "virtually certain that Epstein will not seek to sign another deal to remain at the top of the Cubs baseball operations department." While the Ricketts family has "not yet told current general manager Jed Hoyer that he would be the successor many in the organization including Epstein feel that he is ready to assume that responsibility" (NBCSPORTSCHICAGO.com, 10/3).
DOWNWARD TREND: In Chicago, Paul Sullivan writes "more was expected" from the Cubs once the postseason spotlight "was turned on." Sullivan: "You can never take away what they accomplished together in 2016, but you also can’t ignore the fact they haven’t really done much in October since." It lends "credence to the narrative" that this season "wasn’t the continuation of a six-year run of sustained success but rather Year 3 of the downfall" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/5).