After nine seasons as general manager of the Red Sox, Epstein determined that it was time to move on, despite having a year remaining on his contract.
Tuesday, following nine seasons as the Chicago Cubs' president of baseball operations and with a year left on his deal, Epstein resigned.
This time, the circumstances are different. While 2011 saw Epstein eager to take on a new challenge by taking over the Cubs, he has no such plan in mind this time. According to a baseball source, it's Epstein's intent to take 2021 off and re-assess where things stand in a year's time.
That should end the immediate speculation that Epstein could be headed to either the New York Mets or Philadelphia Phillies, both of which happen to have vacancies for the top job in their baseball operations departments.
Bringing in Epstein to oversee the Mets would have been another highly popular move for new owner Steve Cohen. The Mets, eager to shed their status as second-class New York citizens, overshadowed by the more established baseball brand in the Bronx, would suddenly have an owner willing to spend dollar-for-dollar with the Steinbrenner family, and a baseball executive who has bested the Yankees before.
The presence of recently re-installed team president Sandy Alderson, however, is an impediment to such a move. Epstein has nothing against Alderson, but wouldn't want to have to answer to anyone except a team owner. The Phillies don't have an Alderson-type figure -- Andy MacPhail has one foot out the door already -- but the allure of that franchise just isn't the same.