Theo Epstein leaving Cubs with ‘third chapter’ plan, Mets intrigue

Which curse will Theo Epstein try to end next? Or, rather, when will he next attempt to take another team to a World Series title?

The Cubs announced Tuesday that Epstein will step down as president of baseball operations at the end of the week. Epstein, 46, joined the Cubs in Oct. 2011, and helped end the franchise’s 108-year championship drought in 2016. Epstein previously ended the 86-year Red Sox title drought in 2004, then added another ring in Boston in 2007.

Despite being linked to potential front office openings with the Mets and Phillies, Epstein wrote a letter to “Cubs Friends” stating his intention to sit out next season, according to The Post’s Joel Sherman, in order to spend time with his family and work on his non-profit endeavors.

“I do plan on having a third chapter leading a baseball organization someday, though I do not expect it to be next year,” Epstein wrote.

Epstein will be succeeded by Jed Hoyer, who first began working with Epstein in Boston.

“I have been so fortunate to work alongside Theo for 17 of the last 19 years,” said Hoyer. “I could not have had a better mentor or a more loyal and trusted friend. He has already changed two storied franchises with his passion, creativity, intellect and leadership. I have no question that the next chapters in his career will be equally impressive and impactful.”

Epstein, who became the youngest MLB general manager in history in 2002 at age 28, needed just two seasons to win one of the most memorable championships in sports history. Chicago expected the same upon giving Epstein a five-year, $18.5 million contract, and he delivered in his fifth season, becoming one of five executives to win titles with multiple teams.

“For the rest of my life, I will cherish having been part of the great Chicago Cubs organization during this historic period,” Epstein said in a statement. “All of the things that have made this experience so special — the fans, the players, the managers and coaches, ownership, my front office colleagues, the uniqueness of the Wrigley experience, the history — make it so tough to leave the Cubs. But I believe this is the right decision for me even if it’s a difficult one. And now is the right time rather than a year from now. The organization faces a number of decisions this winter that carry long-term consequences; those types of decisions are best made by someone who will be here for a long period rather than just one more year. Jed has earned this opportunity and is absolutely the right person to take over this baseball operation at such an important time.

“I am grateful to everyone with the Cubs: to the Ricketts family for this opportunity as well as for their loyalty; to the fans for their support and the depth of their emotional connection with the team; and to the players, coaches, staff and my front office colleagues for their friendship, excellence and dedication to helping us accomplish our initial goals of regular October baseball and a World Championship.”

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