Should Theo stick to sports? 6 ideas for post-Cubs career


The worst-kept secret — if it was a secret at all — during Theo Epstein’s nine years as team president of the Cubs has been that he never planned to stay beyond 10 years.From the day he was introduced to Chicago media, he cited the Bill Walsh theory that coaches and executives need a change of scenery after about 10 years of shelf life. And when Epstein signed a five-year, $50 million extension that runs through 2021, the subject was raised again.Now with NBC Sports Chicago’s David Kaplan reporting that Epstein will meet with ownership in the coming week to determine whether he wants to step down a year early, the next question becomes, well, what’s next for the future Hall of Fame baseball executive.At 46, Epstein has entire career fields he might be in position to pursue as a next chapter. And these are just a few that could be in the mix:

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RELATED: Epstein will meet Ricketts to discuss his future with Cubs

No? You’d rather keep Rob “Piece of Metal” Manfred running the sport long-term. Please. Even the owners must know they have one the most unpopular commissioners in MLB history in charge, and if their labor-lawyer commish didn’t have a Collective Bargaining Agreement to negotiate over the next year, they might already be looking around for an escape hatch. But after that? If they create an opening, and Epstein’s available, he’d be on at least a few of the owners’ short lists.




If Derek Jeter can head the Marlins ownership group and Alex Rodriguez can play frontman in an effort to leverage a purchase of the Mets, Epstein certainly qualifies. After rising from Orioles intern to Padres go-fer for long-revered exec Kevin Towers to his ascent through the Boston and Chicago front offices, this could be the most natural next step. Of course, in that case he might want to stick around the Cubs for another year to collect the last $10 million on his deal to help seed his stake.



Don’t laugh. Paul DePodesta, who spent two seasons as Dodgers GM during a five-team run as a baseball executive, jumped to the NFL as “chief strategy office” for the Browns in 2016. It’s debatable just how well said “strategy” has worked for the Browns since the inspiration for Jonah Hill’s "Moneyball" character got there. But when it comes to Epstein and the Bears, it seems at least safe to say fans wouldn’t have to worry about trading up from third to second to draft a talented “project” with minimal college track record instead of Patrick friggin’ Mahomes.



Red Sox fans have been on this for years, printing “Theo for President” placards for Epstein’s trip to Boston with the Cubs in 2017. And the architect of two curse-busting championships has been politically active behind the scenes for years. He hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the last presidential election cycle. A big question surrounding this one might be whether Jed Hoyer or Eddie Vedder would be Epstein’s running mate.



Did somebody say Eddie Vedder? Epstein has taken the stage annually with his guitar alongside Pearl Jam pal Vedder and countless other musicians during the last 15 years of the Hot Stove Cool Music charity event that has attracted huge acts and grown from a Boston event to a two-city pair of annual events that includes Chicago. Who knows what he could do with that guitar if he could give it full-time attention? Maybe Crane will even book him for one of those turf-killing Wrigley Field cash grabs one of these summers.



This might qualify as a temp job should Biden win the upcoming presidential election; certainly that would be the goal. Not that Epstein is a doctor or an epidemiologist. But consider that he was the top executive in charge of devising the team safety protocols for the Cubs this year that exceeded MLB’s and the union’s measures, resulting in the Cubs finishing the season as the only team without a player testing positive for the virus. Depending on how that conversation with Tom Ricketts goes during the week, he could be leaving the Cubs just in time to save the rest of us.


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