Epstein faces huge challenge with Cubs

Theo Epstein has finally been announced as the new President of Baseball Operations with the Chicago Cubs, where he will try to break the club’s record-setting losing streak.

Epstein will take over with Chicago, although the teams still haven’t finalized the compensation that the Red Sox will receive, and his former Assistant GM, Ben Cherington will take over as the Red Sox general manager.

Also expect more changes soon since the Cubs have been given permission to talk to Padres GM Jed Hoyer who worked with Epstein for years in Boston.

While Cubs fans are undoubtedly excited to have a new front office overhaul, Epstein will have his work cut out for him coming off a huge Red Sox collapse and a few questionable free agent signings. Boston’s recent signings of John Lackey and Carl Crawford haven’t worked out and Epstein will have a lower payroll and much less flexibility due to some bad contracts currently lagging the payroll down.

One huge challenge will be figuring out what the Cubs can do with Alfonso Soriano. Best suited as a DH at this stage of his career, Soriano still has three years left on his monster contract and that will make moving him difficult.

Carlos Zambrano is also still under contract with the Cubs, although his relationship with the team continued to sour this past season and culminated in distracting locker room scenes and threats of retirement.

Free agent wise, Epstein and Hoyer will have to make decisions on Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena while also deciding whether or not to exercise the option on Ryan Dempster.

While the Cubs are known as one of the big spenders, Epstein won’t have the boatloads of money that he did with the Red Sox. While he should be able to rebuild the farm system, doing so might take more time and effort than with one of the top three spenders in the MLB.

While Cubs fans seem confident Epstein will bring the club their first World Series title since 1908, he will face numerous challenges in turning around the longest suffering fan-base in baseball.

Used with permission of the author.

Brett is the editor and a contributor for www.BravesFTW.com. He has covered MLB and the Braves for numerous websites and is a regular contributor to Sports Climax. Follow Brett on Twitter.

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