New reports indicate that Theo Epstein will be the Cubs President of Baseball Operations for no more than one more season. This means his contract will not be renewed after it expires following the 2021 season.
David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago also reports that there is a chance Epstein may step down before the 2021 season even begins to allow for a smooth transition to a new president.
Epstein will meet with Chairman Tom Ricketts to discuss a definitive timeline on how and when Epstein will exit the Cubs front office. While it is still unclear if Epstein will indeed return for the 2021 season and try to win a World Series championship one last time, one thing that seems certain is that Epstein will leave after the 2021 season and not renew his contract.
If Epstein did leave before the 2021 season, he would have spent nine years with the Cubs organization. This would be the same amount of time he spent with the Red Sox, where he won two championships, including the 2004 championship that broke the Curse of the Bambino and the Red Sox 86-year championship drought.
Epstein ended another curse when the Cubs won the 2016 World Series, ending their then North American professional sports record 108-year championship drought.
While that season will always permeate through the memories of Cubs fans, the Cubs have struggled to find the success of 2016 with no pennants and only one NLCS appearance since. The 2020 season ended with extreme disappointment as the Cubs were swept by the Marlins in the Wild Card Series Round.
While it has not been officially decided, many in the organization, including Epstein himself, believe Jed Hoyer is ready to be Epstein's successor as the new Cubs President of Baseball Operations.
Hoyer has worked under Epstein for all but two seasons since 2002, when he was the General Manager of the San Diego Padres for the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
In an offseason with significantly more questions than answers, leaving the organization completely before the 2021 season may not be looked upon so fondly by Cubs fans and could be seen as Epstein abandoning the franchise at a time when it needs him most.
I do not believe Epstein will completely leave the ball club. At the very worst, it seems he may act as a Co-President alongside Hoyer and/or act in an advisory role, helping out Hoyer as needed as the franchise enters a season in which many of the Cubs top players enter a contract year.