When Theo Epstein stepped down as Cubs President of Baseball Operations, many people immediately connected him to the then-vacant similar post with the Phillies, the one that eventually went to Dave Dombrowski.
It was my feeling that Theo had likely had enough of that role, having done it for almost two decades and having broken two long World Series droughts. I felt he’d either try to get into team ownership, or go to the Commissioner’s office.
Thursday, the latter has happened:
Breaking news -Theo Epstein will join the commissioners office as a consultant regarding on field matters. MLB will announce today.— Bruce Levine (@MLBBruceLevine) January 14, 2021
Becoming a “consultant” likely gives Theo the ability to keep himself in the game without a full-time title that would require full-time devotion to a position. This way he can see if he likes doing that sort of work before committing to it full time.
I wish him well in this new role and again thank him for bringing a World Series championship to the North Side of Chicago.
UPDATE — Here is more information and some quotes from MLB’s press release announcing Theo’s position:
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. announced today that longtime executive Theo Epstein will serve Major League Baseball as a consultant regarding on-field matters. Under the supervision of the Commissioner and the Owners’ Competition Committee, Epstein will work with baseball analytics experts from the Commissioner’s Office and the Clubs to determine the likely effects of various contemplated rule changes.
Commissioner Manfred said: “Theo is one of the most accomplished and thoughtful people in our sport. I am grateful that he has accepted our invitation to complement our ongoing efforts and provide his insights on making the best game in the world even better for the next generation of fans.”
Epstein said: “It is an honor to assist the efforts by Major League Baseball and the Competition Committee to improve the on-field product, and I appreciate Commissioner Manfred asking me to be a part of these important conversations. As the game evolves, we all have an interest in ensuring the changes we see on the field make the game as entertaining and action-packed as possible for the fans, while preserving all that makes baseball so special. I look forward to working with interested parties throughout the industry to help us collectively navigate toward the very best version of our game.”