Ex-Cubs president Theo Epstein isn’t quite taking 2021 off, as he told friends in November when he stepped down as team president. Epstein — whose credentials include breaking World Series droughts in Chicago and Boston — is now headed to the league office, where he’ll be a consultant regarding on-field matters.
From MLB’s announcement:
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.
It’s not an exact substitution on the org chart, but Epstein would seem to help fill some of the gap that Chris Young left when departed the commissioner’s office to take the Texas Rangers’ GM job — he’s young, intelligent, has a proven track record on the field and can speak to the realities of the modern game.
Epstein has talked about wanting to help the game grow and evolve, finding solutions for some of the “threats” to the game. As he told our Hannah Keyser in November when he left his job with the Cubs:
Theo Epstein said he was interested in a baseball job that allows him to help address some of more existential threats to the game. So I asked him what he thinks those are: pic.twitter.com/3yjdKvatGF
— Hannah Keyser (@HannahRKeyser) November 17, 2020
Epstein echoed those sentiments Thursday in a statement released by MLB:
“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.”
Plenty of fans are already looking many steps ahead and see Epstein as the next MLB commissioner, once Rob Manfred’s term ends.
For now, the current commish said of Epstein’s new job:
“Theo is one of the most accomplished and thoughtful people in our sport,” Manfred said in a statement. “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.”
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