Transaction Analysis: Cubs Extend Theo and the Gang

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Chicago Cubs

Signed president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, general manager Jed Hoyer, and senior vice president of player development and scouting Jason McLeod to five-year contracts. [9/28]

Wednesday night the Cubs announced that they have signed Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations since 2011, to a five-year contract extension which will keep Epstein on the North Side of Chicago through the conclusion of the 2021 season. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed, but reports suggest that the final figure is somewhere in excess of $50 million. That’s (a) more than anyone has ever been paid before for a similar job, and (b) right around where we expected the number to be, given what we know about Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, Theo Epstein, and the relationship between the two.

In fact, the confirmation of long-held expectations is the theme of this “transaction,” insofar as transactions have themes. Since arriving in Chicago five years ago, Epstein and his staff have taken the Cubs from a third-class organization–comparatively bereft of talent, wins, and off-field leadership–to a franchise that has (we can say this, at the very least) won 200 regular season games over the course of their last two campaigns. That’s no small feat, but it’s been done. There was no question the Cubs would want him back, and at nearly any price. Now he is back, and the Cubs are better for it.

In fact, in the absence of any real news to report here—the status quo makes for a lousy headline—I’d like to discuss briefly two elements of the deal that are worthy of further consideration. The first is this: General manager Jed Hoyer and senior vice president of player development and scouting Jason McLeod are along for the ride, too. Both have had ample opportunity to test the waters elsewhere in recent years— McLeod as recently as last week, in Minnesota—and both have now affirmatively committed themselves to Chicago for another five years. That’s both a boon to a franchise that has recently found itself led more by a troika than a dictator and an affirmation of the culture that’s been built over the last half-decade in Chicago.

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Lead photo courtesy Charles LeClaire—USA Today Sports.

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