MLB hires former Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein as consultant to 'on-field matters'

Former three-time World Series-winning executive Theo Epstein was hired by Major League Baseball on Thursday as a consultant to "on-field matters" as the sport contemplates rule changes to create more action and pace to the game.

"As the game evolves, we all have an interest in ensuring the changes we see on the field make the game as entertaining and action-packed as possible for the fans, while preserving all that makes baseball so special," Epstein said in a statement. "I look forward to working with interested parties throughout the industry to help us collectively navigate toward the very best version of our game."

Epstein stepped down as president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs in November after nine years with the team. On his way out, he shouldered some of the blame for the problems in the sport.

"The executives, like me, who have spent a lot of time using analytics and other measures to try to optimize individual and team performance have unwittingly had a negative impact on the aesthetic value of the game and the entertainment value of the game in some respects," Epstein said when he resigned.

Now he'll be on the other side of the issue, working with baseball analytics experts to determine the effects of potential rule changes to help the sport overall.

Epstein won two World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox, in 2004 and 2007, before doing the same with the Cubs in 2016. He'll be under the supervision of the commissioner and the owners' competition committee.

"Theo is one of the most accomplished and thoughtful people in our sport," commissioner Rob Manfred said via a statement. "I am grateful that he has accepted our invitation to complement our ongoing efforts and provide his insights on making the best game in the world even better for the next generation of fans."