The Cubs have announced that president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has agreed to a five-year extension to continue his beneficent reign of glory over the kingdom of Wrigleyville. And there was much rejoicing in the land. Lots of relieved sighs as well.
Terms of the extension were not immediately available, but I had predicted prior to the season that Epstein would get $40 million for five years. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the number is expected to exceed $50 million. The Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman signed a five-year, $35 million pact (that could reach $45M due to incentives) with the Dodgers in 2015 and Tom Ricketts has gone on record as saying that he planned to make Epstein the highest-paid exec in baseball.
“He’s the best at what he does in the game,” Ricketts said in Mesa back in February. “And from a compensation standpoint, it should be reflected. We’re generally on the same page. We spend a lot of time together, not just on the contract.”
Regardless of the final figure, it’s gonna be even more cheddar than can be found in those delicious Gilbert’s sausages they sell at Wrigley. You know, the beef and cheddar ones with the mac ‘n cheese and bacon bits, caramelized onions, and BBQ sauce on them? Yeah, Theo can buy a lot of those now. Well, more than he could have yesterday.
Both Ricketts and Epstein are in Pittsburgh to announce the deal, which leads me to a bit of a conspiracy theory. Given the Cubs’ ownership of the Pirates this season, I wonder whether the huge salary is a way for Epstein to purchase their Central division opponent outright and just convert them into a de facto farm team. I mean, think about it. Or don’t, since it’s a really bad joke.
But you know what’s not a joke: Epstein’s not the only one to get a new deal. Yahoo’s Jeff Passan is reporting that the Cubs have extended Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod as well, thereby keeping intact the talented triumvirate responsible for the genius rebuild that has the Cubs at 101 wins and counting. I’m guessing McLeod isn’t feeling too awful about being passed over for the Tlosses job at this point, if he was ever actually passed over at all.
Maybe that’s why they were all bro-ing out in the bleachers the other day.
More to come as details are released.
We still don’t have full disclosure on Epstein’s deal, but Jon Heyman of Today’s Knuckleball is citing “well-placed” sources in saying that it’ll fall somewhere between $7 million (Friedman’s annual guarantee) and $10 million. Various incentives, which aren’t known but will likely include win totals and postseason success and whatnot, are expected to be greater than the $3 million in Friedman’s contract as well.
If I had to wager a guess, I’d say we’re looking at $45 million guaranteed with another $5-10 million in potential bonuses.
As for Hoyer and McLeod, Ricketts has said he’ll leave the details up to Epstein. In keeping with his role throughout the process, the owner is simply supplying the money and letting his head baseball man call the shots. The deals are being ironed out now and will keep all three execs in Chicago for another five years, through the 2021 season.