Major League Baseball announced today that the former Red Sox general manager and Cubs baseball business president Theo Epstein (Theo Epstein) has joined Rob Manfred’s advisory office. Specifically, Epstein will focus on “field affairs”, including (but not limited to) the impact of the proposed rule changes. Bruce Levine of 670 The Score first reported via Twitter that Epstein, who resigned from the Cubs early this winter, will be appointed to the new position. Epstein rejected the interest of other clubs interested in hiring him to work in the new baseball business.
“Theo is one of the most accomplished and thoughtful people in our movement,” Commissioner Manfred said in a statement announcing the news. “I am very happy that he accepted our invitation to supplement our ongoing work and present his insights to make the best games in the world more suitable for the next generation of fans.”
Ever since Epstein resigned from the Cubs, there has been speculation that he will eventually take up a position in the league. Epstein admitted at the time that he played a negligent role in destroying sports aesthetics by helping to develop analytical methods that limit the movement of the game. He also often advocates expanding the influence and appeal of games. Some people believe that Epstein himself may even be Manfred’s ultimate successor, although Manfred’s current contract will end in the 2024 season.
Epstein said in his prepared statement: “It’s an honor to help Major League Baseball and the Competition Commission improve on-site products. I am grateful to Commissioner Manfred for asking me to participate in these important conversations.” The development of the game, all of us are interested in ensuring that the changes seen on the stadium make the game fun and action-packed for fans, while retaining all the advantages that make baseball so special. I look forward to working with all interested parties in the industry Work together to help us navigate to the best version of the game together.”
There is currently no indication that this is a temporary position or a gateway to a longer term position in the Commissioner’s Office. Epstein said that when he left the Cubs and refused to be interested in a new baseball game, he hoped to be with his family. His status as a league consultant will allow him to continue to participate in the game, but have more time at home. Presumably, given Epstein’s track record, other clubs will ask him to sign in the next offseason-but his status as a consultant at least ostensibly opens the door to returning to the front of the club at some point.