Epstein has 'good, productive' extension talks

Cubs official in final year of 5-year contract

Epstein has 'good, productive' extension talks

ANAHEIM -- Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Monday he's talked to president of baseball operations Theo Epstein about a contract extension, and expected a conclusion soon, although both said there is no deadline for a new deal.

Epstein, who signed a five-year contract in October 2011, said the two talked a few times at the end of Spring Training.

"I thought they were good, productive conversations," Epstein said. "Neither one of us had time to focus on it. No cause for concern -- we had good talks. We both feel it will get done at some point soon."

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Ricketts, who was in Anaheim with Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer for the Cubs' season opener against the Angels, said there was no timetable.

"We talked about it," Ricketts said. "I think we'll get to a conclusion here pretty soon."

There was plenty of optimism as the Cubs kicked off the season following last year's 97-win campaign and trip to the National League Championship Series. Epstein and his staff have completely overhauled the Cubs, upgrading the farm system through the Draft, international signings and trades, and rebuilding the big league team, which is the focus this year.

"Everyone gets in this game to win at the big league level, to win a World Series," Epstein said. "You don't want to be charting your progress in terms of farm-system rankings or trades that are made or overall health of the organization, although that's important. You want to be challenged to chart your progress by the standings at the big league level.

"Last year, we felt if a lot of things went our way and the young players adjusted quickly, we could stay in this thing," he said. "All that gives us is the opportunity to make the most of it. Today is the begining of a great opportunity and we have to go earn something."

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.