The Importance of Hands-Off Ownership and the Status of Theo Epstein Contract Talks

There’s a whole lot that makes for an excellent sports owner, but this, about which Tom Ricketts spoke on The Score yesterday, is one of the keys:

Know what you know, know what you don’t, know where you’re best utilized, and know where you need to delegate.

Because the type of people who tend to have enough money to buy sports teams – and who want to use that money to buy sports teams – tend toward being very successful, healthy ego types, it’s rather rare that you have an ownership group that actively wants to be hands off on the sport operations side of the equation. I can’t criticize owners who want to be involved – it’s their team, after all, and some are helpful – but here, Ricketts has helped assembled one of the best baseball operations groups in the entire sport, so why wouldn’t he then step back and let them do their thing? It’s a credit to his acumen, and to the Ricketts Family’s ownership.

Among the things for which they rightly receive praise here on the other side of the rebuild, resisting the temptation to get too involved in baseball operations is probably underemphasized.[adinserter block=”1″]

And about that baseball operations group, there’s an extension finally coming for Theo Epstein, right? That’s where I’m leading you with all this, right? Well …

That’s what’s been said, essentially, for well over a year now, and we’ve had a string of non-updateupdates since then.

Epstein’s initial five-year contract ends after this season, and we’ve long passed the point where it’s fair to wonder whether there really are still active negotiations ongoing, or if there are just fine details to button up. I honestly have no idea or even an intelligent guess for you. The process has been such a black box that we’re probably not going to know much of anything until something is announced or until the season ends, and there’s no new deal in place.

I suppose it’s conceivable that one or both sides wants to see how this season plays out before committing at X level in the next contract, but, speaking as a fan, you’d like to see a deal in place and publicly announced (not just for Epstein, but for all key front office members) long before the offseason arrives.

I wouldn’t say that I’m “worried,” I’m just not at peace. I do trust that Epstein wants to stay and continue his work here, and I do trust that Ricketts is good enough at what he does to know that he also wants Epstein to stay and continue his work. Whether there’s an actual hold-up here or whether it’s simply not being announced right now, I expect a deal to be done eventually. But, in the interim, it’s always at the back of my mind.[adinserter block=”2″]

written by

Brett Taylor is the Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and on LinkedIn here. Brett is also the founder of Bleacher Nation, which opened up shop in 2008 as an independent blog about the Chicago Cubs. Later growing to incorporate coverage of other Chicago sports, Bleacher Nation is now one of the largest regional sports blogs on the web.

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