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Saturday, December 2

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Cubs Tue Sep 06 2011

Cubs GM Search: Why Not Theo Epstein?

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifThe list of potential candidates for the Cubs GM vacancy is a long one. Since the announcement of Jim Hendry's departure last month, the rumor mill has been running rampant. Local and national baseball writers speculate who Tom Ricketts should and might choose.

To list everyone that has been discussed as candidate for the position would be incredibly time-consuming and could take longer than the search itself. So rather than mention those who have no shot whatsoever, let's look at one man I consider the most intriguing option: Theo Epstein.

Epstein is currently the Boston Red Sox GM and has led them to two World Series titles. The Red Sox prior to 2004 were a lot like the Cubs in many ways. Loyal fans, historic ballpark and a championship drought of 86 years.

The most obvious question is why would Epstein leave an organization that is willing to do anything to win a championship? My answer is simple: ego.

I'm not saying he's an egomaniac, but my point is that he ended one title drought for a long suffering franchise, why not take the challenge of striking gold again? The individual who leads the Cubs to their first World Series victory since 1908 will be forever etched in Chicago lore. It is a feather in one's cap unlike any other.

When Epstein was asked about the Cubs job last week he said he was focused on this year with the Red Sox and didn't give a definitive answer one way or the other. While it maybe a pipe dream to lure Epstein away from Boston, it would be an amazing move by the Ricketts family if they were able to grab one of the best GM's in the game.

Another issue that ties into the GM search is that because the Cubs extended the contract of VP of player personnel Oneri Fleita, it will handcuff the incoming GM and will ultimately hurt the Cubs' chances of landing a quality general manager. But what writers like the Tribune's Steve Rosenbloom fail to realize is that the Cubs' GM gig is like a golden ticket.

While I'm not sure the Ricketts pockets will be as deep as the Yankees or Red Sox, rest assured that if they are one move away from being put over the top the family will make sure the new GM will get what he needs to get the job done.

I highly doubt the retention of Fleita will deter any candidates for the GM job. One thing is certain: Whoever takes on this job will have to come in with the understanding that this will be unlike anything they've ever done before. The sooner they grasp this, the better off they will be in the long run of things.

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