Theo Epstein has one goal: Bring a World Series title to Chicago. Any manager, player or coach who can advance the mission is in; everyone else, sorry. Good faith does not exist in competitive sports. Contracts and agreements can be void. Ugly. Down right cold, isn’t it?

Yes. But like it or not, baseball is a business.

For Joe Maddon, that’s good news. For Rick Renteria, not so much. When Epstein and his chief lieutenant Jed Hoyer heard the news —  that Maddon would opt out of the final year of his contract in Tampa — the Cubs opted to seize the opportunity.

Epstein said:

We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or be loyal to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe. While there was no clear playbook for how to handle this type of situation, we knew we had to be transparent with Rick before engaging with Joe.

Epstein appeared on the Dan Patrick Show Tuesday, characterizing what he did as “wrong” and “unfair.”

I recognized it was wrong. We simply were not being fair to Rick [Renteria]. We had told him he was coming back, we talked about next year. You really have to separate your instincts as a person — to never be unfair to anybody — with your responsibility as an executive. We’re being honest about the fact that we were not fair to one of our own, but at the same time, I think we were fair to our fan base and our organization. That takes priority.

Did you notice, Epstein said it was “wrong” and “unfair,” but he didn’t apologize. Nor should he. Baseball is a tough business sometimes and these are the decisions Epstein gets paid to make. He made a decision that was in the best interest of the Chicago Cubs. Not another baby step, but a giant leap forward for the Cubs.

You may question Epstein’s ethics, but you can’t question his desire to achieve his goal of leading the Chicago Cubs to a World Series.

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John Strubel

Hi. My name is John Strubel. Thanks for visiting my website. I write primarily about my passion: baseball. In addition, I occasionally publish posts and podcasts related to sports media, journalism and technology impacting the industry. You can also connect with me on social media @johnstrubel.

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