Theo Epstein is confident he's leaving Cubs in good hands with Jed Hoyer in charge

“Jed is ready to take over, he really is,” Epstein said after stepping down.
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(670 The Score) After spending nine years as the second-in-command of the Cubs’ baseball operations department, Jed Hoyer is set to become the face of the franchise.

Hoyer has been elevated from general manager to president of baseball operations in conjunction with Theo Epstein announcing his resignation Tuesday. The transition will officially take place Friday. Once it does, Epstein is confident he’s leaving the organization in great hands.

“First of all, Jed is a great leader,” Epstein said. “He has been a great friend and co-worker. He is probably more measured and methodical than I am. The systems in place will evolve in a way that reflects his approach. The Cubs will benefit from that, because your leader must put his stamp on the organization.”

Hoyer has a dynamic personality and an easygoing demeanor. He also has a track record of success, much of which came alongside Epstein in Boston and Chicago. Hoyer also had a two-year stint as general manager of the San Diego Padres in 2010-’11 before rejoining Epstein with the Cubs. Hoyer was the top baseball executive in San Diego.

"Jed is ready to take over, he really is," Epstein said.

In his goodbye press conference Tuesday, Epstein made a few references to Hoyer’s tenacity over the years in decision-making. Hoyer has been a part of three different organizations that acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Boston drafted Rizzo while Hoyer was there. Then while Hoyer was leading San Diego, he negotiated with Epstein and insisted that Rizzo be a part of the package that sent slugger Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. Rizzo eventually was traded to the Cubs and blossomed into the heart of the team and an All-Star.

Epstein also credited Hoyer for being adamant that reliever Pedro Strop be included in the Cubs’ trade with the Orioles in 2013 that sent right-hander Scott Feldman to Baltimore and right-hander Jake Arrieta to Chicago.

“When we were talking about the deal that would turn out to be the Jake Arrieta trade, Jed kept on pounding the table we could get a thrown-in,” Epstein said. “He said it had to be this guy named Pedro Strop.”

Strop had a 7.25 ERA at the time of the trade in the middle of that 2013 season.

“Strop was lost at the time as a pitcher, but Jed kept insisting not only can we get more than Arrieta, but Strop is the right guy,” Epstein said. “There is no doubt that without Jed insisting on that and driving that we would have missed out on one of the most consistent relief pitchers in Cub history. We might not have even completed the deal without his persistence."

Hoyer now faces the task of reconfiguring a team that’s in transition amid an uncertain financial climate in MLB. While the Cubs have made the playoffs in five of the past six years, they haven’t advanced past the wild-card round since 2017. Many of their core players are also set to hit free agency after the 2021 season. They could choose to trade some of them this offseason as they focus on their long-term future.

"The last couple of years Jed has really grown,” Epstein said of Hoyer's leadership ability. “I challenge him at times because as a No. 2, you might have a tendency to step back. In the last two years, he has really jumped in and been in on discussions of everything essential to the entire organization. His relationships have grown in the clubhouse and among the scouting ranks and all corners of the organization. Jed is incredible to talk to. When we are at a function and I may want to talk to one guy, he is carrying on with conversations with every single person in the room. He is amazing to talk to and makes people feel great about themselves. That is one of the reasons why this will be a seamless transition.”

Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.