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Theo Epstein is stepping down as Cubs President of Baseball Operations

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It’s happening this Friday.

Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Theo Epstein has been President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs since October 2011. He signed a five-year deal at that time, and a five-year extension in September 2016. It’s been widely assumed that Theo would complete the 2021 season with the team and then depart, but instead, he’s leaving at the end of this week:

Jed Hoyer was hired by Theo to be his second-in-command, as General Manager, not long after Theo began with the Cubs in 2011. With Hoyer as President of Baseball Operations, there’s not likely to be a sea change in the way the Cubs operate.

Before joining the Cubs, Hoyer worked as assistant general manager for the Red Sox when Theo was in charge there, and also spent 2009-11 running the baseball operations department as general manager for the Padres before rejoining Epstein with the Cubs.

Before you start speculating:

There will obviously be much more on this breaking story over the next few days and weeks and I’ll have further thoughts about all this as that happens, but wanted to bring you this news right now.

We have statements issued by the Cubs from Theo, Jed and Tom Ricketts.

Theo:

“For the rest of my life, I will cherish having been part of the great Chicago Cubs organization during this historic period,” said Epstein. “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.

“I am grateful to everyone with the Cubs: to the Ricketts family for this opportunity as well as for their loyalty; to the fans for their support and the depth of their emotional connection with the team; and to the players, coaches, staff and my front office colleagues for their friendship, excellence and dedication to helping us accomplish our initial goals of regular October baseball and a World Championship.”

Jed:

“I have been so fortunate to work alongside Theo for 17 of the last 19 years,” said Hoyer. “I could not have had a better mentor or a more loyal and trusted friend. He has already changed two storied franchises with his passion, creativity, intellect and leadership. I have no question that the next chapters in his career will be equally impressive and impactful.

“I am thankful to the Ricketts family for bestowing me with the opportunity to lead the Cubs baseball operation. For the last nine years, I have worked alongside so many dedicated colleagues with one goal in mind — to build a team and an organization that makes Cubs fans proud and provides them with memories of a lifetime. I am thrilled that this leadership transition will provide continuity to a department that has had tremendous successes over the past six seasons. Ultimately, this transition is about the future, and I look forward to constantly pushing the Cubs to evolve and grow to ensure that there is sustained success at Wrigley Field.”

Tom:

“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. “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.”

As always, we await further developments.