By Bruce Levine--
(CBS) Cubs ownership remains confident that their plan of keeping top executives will be executed moving forward. Of course, this begins with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, who's contract expires in October. As he's done before, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts made it clear Saturday he wants to keep his front office in place.
A guest on 670 The Score's "Inside the Clubhouse," Ricketts talked about various subjects, including retaining his top baseball executive and the front office he has put together that has the Cubs primed to contend for a championship.
"We have talked about getting an extension in place," Ricketts said about Epstein's deal. "I think generally we are on the same page, and we will be getting around to it shortly."
Epstein signed a five-year deal for $18.5 million in October 2011. At that time, his salary was at the top of baseball men running organizations. Fast forward to present day, and the Dodgers' Andrew Friedman is making $9 million a year, while two or three others have passed Epstein in pay as well.
"This is the last year of the contract Theo signed, and we all agree he has done an OK job," Ricketts joked. "We have Theo, Joe Maddon and Crane (Kenney). All three are as good or better at what they do than anyone in the game. The timing on Theo and Joe is that we have been able to get the best people in the game being in the right place at the right time."
Ricketts wasn't sure about the inflated cost of upper management salaries but is positive he has the right man and the right group in baseball operations going forward.
"I am not sure it (higher contracts) needed to go as fast as it has," Ricketts said. "But if you are going to have this large payroll, then the most important guy on the team is not the players on the field but the guy who is in charge of bringing in those players. So it is a good use of those resources (money) to lock up someone who is building a great team and makes great decisions. Other teams have learned that same lesson."
Ricketts has recognized that Epstein and his front office staff -- notably general manager Jed Hoyer vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod -- are a big part of the reason the system has flourished.
"The commitment is the key from the people who we have," Ricketts said. "We have people on our staff that have been offered to interview for GM jobs elsewhere and turned it down. They are on the quest and mission. They want to be here when we (win).That says a lot about the people we have and Theo's leadership."
Next weekend brings the Cubs Convention, which would seem as good a time to announce a new deal as any. So stay tuned.
You can listen to the full interview with Ricketts below.
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