This has been brewing for some time, but last night Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that the club and Theo Epstein are getting “close” to a contract extension for the team president. When the deal is said and done Epstein, based on some reports about all of this a month or two ago, should be the most highly-paid executive in baseball.
It will be well-deserved. What he did to lead the Boston Red Sox to their first (and second and eventually, after he left, a third) World Series title in decades is well-documented. Maybe not even as documented as it should be, really. It has become somewhat fashionable to diminish Epstein’s contribution to the Red Sox’ success in some ways, saying it was more about Dan Duquette or Ben Cherington or ownership or Terry Francona, but this rings hollow for me.
The Red Sox open their season today. Six men on their 25-man roster will consist of guys from the 2011 draft, which was Epstein’s last with the club. The players: Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley Jr., Noe Ramirez, Mookie Betts, and Travis Shaw. That number of dudes from one draft on a major league roster is crazy and speaks to how strong an overall organization Epstein helped build in Boston.
And so it is with Chicago. When he took over the Cubs following that 2011 draft the team was a disaster, both on the field and off. There were stacks of paper everywhere to go with antiquated computer systems and antiquated thinking. Now the Cubs are a class organization, top to bottom, and are expected to win for a long time.
Epstein is a Hall of Fame executive. He’s gonna be paid like one. He totally deserves it.