By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The price of poker continues to go through the roof for presidents of baseball operations around the league. The new contract for Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski is believed to be worth as much or more than the deal signed by the Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman last fall. With bonus structures in place, both will be making between $8 million and $10 million a year to run their respective clubs.
With just more than one year remaining on a contract that began in October 2011, Theo Epstein of the Chicago Cubs will more than likely set a new bar for team presidents when he re-signs with chairman Tom Ricketts and his family in the near future.
Big-time openings are available with the Blue Jays and Angels now, and the Mariners will most likely have a vacant position after the season concludes. Given the recent turnover among baseball executives, there figures to be several intriguing openings after the 2016 seasons as well. With his long-term success previously with the Red Sox and his quick rebuild of the Cubs, Epstein would be an attractive candidate if available.
But he has no intentions of being available.
“I am committed to the Cubs and could not be happier,” Epstein told CBSChicago.com when asked about his future. “I am very happy working with the this group of people. Tom and I see this as a long-term partnership with a lot left to accomplish. I am happily under contract (through October 2016). As for an extension, there are a lot more important things going on right now in the organization. We just haven’t gotten around to it. I am sure we will at an appropriate time.”
Epstein set he bar when he signed with the Cubs in 2011. His $18.5-million contract was the highest in baseball when he agreed to join the Cubs at that time.
Under Epstein, the Cubs have maintained a modest payroll while rebuilding their baseball organization. They have stayed on pace with the business end of the company and the rehabbing of Wrigley Field. The Cubs are 68-51 and four games clear of the Giants for the second National League wild-card spot, with four rookies in their lineup helping push toward their first playoff appearance since 2008.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.