Before the off-season went in a different direction than any one was expecting, it was believed Tom Ricketts would extend Theo Epstein’s contract at some point this winter. Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have two years left on the original five-year contract that was signed in Oct. 2011.
There were indications two months ago the next big announcement from the Cubs could be Theo Epstein and his staff signing contract extensions. On the eve of the convention, Epstein has not signed an extension yet, but one could be in the works according to the Tribune.
Theo Epstein was asked about his contract in November and indicated he had preliminary talks with Tom Ricketts about extending his contract. Epstein said he was focused at the time on improving the team, not on his contract.
“Tom talked to me a while back about extending my contract,” Epstein said in November. “I really appreciated that, and that is something I would like to have happen, too. We have been too busy and the organization comes first. We have had a lot on our plate and this [Joe Maddon] was a more pressing matter. At some point in the future, I think we will hammer it out. This is where I want to be. I am fully invested in what we have going on, and I love the people I work with. I wouldn’t trade our future for anybody’s out there.”
“The baseball organization in my mind has done a tremendous job,” Ricketts said. “They are willing to make the right, but hard decisions and assessed our organization in a way that was honest and have basically done what we have to do to make our baseball organization a team that is going to be reckoned with in the future.”
“Obviously I think the world of Theo and his team. He’s got a couple of years left on his contract, when he’s ready to talk about an extension, we’ll be ready to talk about an extension.”
Theo Epstein signed a five-year, $18.5 million contract that expires after the 2016 season. Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod also signed five-year deals to join Epstein in the Cubs’ front office. McLeod inked a two-year extension to his original contract last summer after he withdrew his name from consideration for the Padres’ GM job.
With Crane Kenney and Joe Maddon under contract through the 2019 season, Epstein and Hoyer should receive deals to line the baseball side with the business side of the organization. Epstein’s extension could be for more than three years based on a report from the Tribune.
Mark Gonzales mentioned at the end of a report focused on Starlin Castro and Welington Castillo earlier this week that “a lengthy extension looms Epstein and his staff.” Gonzales added “there are more pressing matters as two years remain on his contract.”
Andrew Friedman’s deal with the Dodgers could have an impact on Epstein’s contract extension, a scenario Paul Sullivan brought up in the middle of November.
Andrew Friedman left the Rays to become the Dodgers President of Baseball Operations. Same title as Epstein. Friedman reportedly signed a five-year, $35 million contract and can receive anywhere from $7-10 million depending on incentives per year according to Nick Cafardo. Friedman and the Dodgers set the bar in terms of compensation for baseball executives. And Friedman doesn’t have quite the resume that Epstein does.
Theo Epstein stated early in the off-season that he is committed to the Cubs and seeing The Plan that was set in motion a little over three years ago come to fruition.
While the announcement that was expected in November has not been made yet, contract extensions for Theo Epstein and his staff could be on the horizon. And it would be the right move by the Ricketts family to lock the Cubs leadership in place for at least the next five seasons.