Rozner: All Theo Epstein cares about is winning. That isn't a bad thing for the Cubs.

  • Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein wants another World Series title for his team like the one he celebrated in 2016 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

    Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein wants another World Series title for his team like the one he celebrated in 2016 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/2/2019 5:55 AM

It wasn't that long ago that you had general managers on the North Side drafting players as publicity stunts or because they were sons of friends.

Today, you have a boss in charge of the Cubs who would truly run over his friends and anyone they've ever met if he thought it would win him a single game next season.

 

This is why Tom Ricketts bought and paid for Theo Epstein.

Seems many have already forgotten how excited they were when Epstein was hired, how grateful they were that he gave them the one World Series they promised their souls for just a few years ago.

This is a man headed straight for the Hall of Fame when he decides to leave baseball.

Whether or not you agree with his decision on Joe Maddon, it's most important that you understand Epstein doesn't give a rat's hat what you think about anything.

Oh, he'll pay lip service to your feelings. He's a smart guy. He knows how that plays publicly.

But he really doesn't care what you think because it's not his job to care what you think, and if you dig down deep you'll remember that you don't want him to care what you think.

His job is to win and he wants to win more than you do, so regardless of whether you agree with his decisions, you have to admire that he's willing to do what's unpopular at any moment if he thinks it is best for the Cubs.

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The easy move would have been to bring back Maddon. No stress, no mess. That 81-minute media session Monday would have taken half the time if he had taken the easy route.

But Epstein did not think it best. So he did not do the easy thing.

Do the math. Epstein hired Dale Sveum after an exhaustive and at times ridiculous process, and then he got rid of Sveum after only two years because it wasn't working for him.

In other words, Epstein admitted a mistake.

Then, he hires Rick Renteria and after only one season it was Epstein's good fortune -- and Renteria's misfortune -- that Maddon became available.

The perfect manager at the perfect time.

Did he hem and haw?

No, he got on the first plane to Clarksville and offered Maddon a huge deal because it was best for the Cubs at the time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Sorry, Ricky, but don't let the door crush your vertebrae on the way out and we'll be sure to give you a World Series ring after we win.

Ruthless, is Epstein, to the very core, and you like it when he's cutthroat if you agree with what he's doing.

The point here isn't whether you agree on Maddon. The point is Epstein is the one who went and got Maddon because he thought it was right, and now when it would have caused no pain to keep Maddon, he is again doing what he thinks is right.

Theo Epstein doesn't make moves to pacify anyone, including his owner, and you have spent your life waiting for a Cubs executive whose only motivation was winning.

You have waited -- some of you for decades -- for this exact personality in the Cubs' front office.

Not since Dallas Green have the Cubs had someone so entirely focused on the task, who doesn't care about perception or headlines or making friends. The difference is Green didn't have the backing of ownership and the autonomy necessary to be so cold.

Epstein has made plenty of mistakes while with the Cubs, just as he did in Boston, because he doesn't -- after all -- walk on water. He takes responsibility for those mistakes publicly.

Really, it doesn't matter to him because that's in the past and he's all about how to fix what's wrong, not collecting points for being a good guy or falling on his sword.

The idea that he has put pressure on himself by moving on from Maddon is laughable. In that sense he does not feel pressure, or under the gun.

To believe that is a failure to understand why he's been so successful at such a young age. He's already on to the next task -- which might include trading one or two of your favorite players -- and he feels pressure to win only because he hates losing.

In two years he'll be at a decade in Chicago, at which point he might find something else to do, or somewhere else to do it.

That will certainly be his choice as Tom Ricketts would undoubtedly offer a lifetime contract and maybe even a piece of the team if he could convince Epstein to stay forever.

But if he's only got two years left in Chicago, Epstein is going to do his best to get the Cubs back to the World Series.

Like his decisions or don't like his decisions. It really doesn't matter to him. Theo Epstein is only trying to win again.

For that, you should be eternally grateful.

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