The Chicago Cubs are facing an interesting offseason as they try to figure out the path forward for their franchise, but could the architect of the squad be on his way out?
According to a new report from David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago, Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein will meet with team Chairman Tom Ricketts next week to discuss the long-term plan for the team.
Epstein, who signed with the Cubs prior to the 2012 season, is entering the final year of a contract extension he signed with the team after they won the World Series in 2016.
According to Kaplan, it is possible that Epstein could choose to stay with the team for one more season, then depart after his contract expires. Epstein could also step aside now to allow a new president of baseball operations to take over as the team looks to retool itself after a playoff disappointment this season.
The Cubs, who made the playoffs after missing the postseason a year ago, were completely flummoxed by the Miami Marlins, scoring just one run in a two-game sweep at Wrigley Field. They have now lost six of their last seven playoff games dating back to the 2017 National League Championship Series, and their offense has faltered down the stretch in each of the last three seasons.
In addition, the Cubs are going to be facing some huge contract decisions in the coming year. Pitchers Jon Lester and Tyler Chatwood are set to hit free agency after the World Series, and the team also has a contract option on pitcher Jose Quintana. After next season, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo are all set to hit free agency as well, meaning the Cubs could see some massive roster turnover in the next 13 months.
The meeting between Epstein and Ricketts is expected to occur next week, according to the report.