Blog Entry

Report: Epstein accepts 5-year deal with Cubs

Posted on: October 12, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: October 13, 2011 10:23 am
By Matt Snyder

We have yet another step toward what appears to be the inevitable. Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is still under contract with the team through 2012 and nothing is official yet, but with each passing minute, it becomes more apparent he's going to be the Cubs next GM.

The latest is that he has agreed to a five-year, $15 million deal with the Cubs, per This report states the deal will be finalized by the end of the week and that the Cubs have not yet decided on a title for Epstein. It also notes the final holdup in negotiations: Compensation for the Red Sox, which will likely be some combination of money and prospect(s).

The Boston Globe is reporting
Epstein has accepted the offer and that while it's still possible for Epstein to change his mind, it's a near-certainty that he's off to Chicago. The Globe also adds that, as expected, Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington is expected to be named Epstein's replacement in Boston.

Taking in the entire buzz from reporters on Twitter Tuesday night, expect Epstein to be named something like President and CEO. Compensation is reportedly going to be one or two prospects, maybe even high-level ones, but no major-league players.

Epstein to Cubs?
Epstein, 37, was named the Red Sox general manager after the 2002 season. Under his watch, the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and 2007 after previously having not won it since 1918. Epstein grew up in the Northeast and attended Yale University, so he had ties to the Boston area anyway, but recent reports have indicated he might be looking for a new challenge.

The Cubs offer up that challenge. Not only have the Cubs not won the World Series since 1908, but the franchise doesn't appear close to being competitive right now, with a bad major-league product and not much more in the organizational pipeline. Then again, there is more than $50 million in salary coming off the books this season and even more coming off after next season. With a rabid fan base desperately seeking a title and lots of resources at hand, Epstein could very well become the man who broke two alleged curses (first, the Bambino, second, the Billy Goat).

This is still not a done deal, but it would be pretty shocking if it fell apart now. Things have progressed to a point where Epstein seems sealed and delivered to Wrigley Field.

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Since: Sep 1, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 1:11 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

Loser in his current job, why give him more money to go to another team?
This is why baseball is the 4th sport in America. 

Since: Nov 15, 2008
Posted on: October 12, 2011 1:07 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

The Cubs culture slowly begins to change now.  In what direction we will see in a couple of months.  If Theo begins his tenure with keeping Mike Quade in place then they be those lovable loosers.  Now if Theo tries for Sandberg and goes for one of the Cubs own then we might have something.  Theo has Larry in place as far as scouting director and room to plug in his own guys.  The Cubs have begun change.  Let's move forward Theo.

Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:57 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

Nail on the head MikeC.

I suspect Theo is the kick in the ass that the Cubs need, but whether he is the answer, or just the start to the answer, who can tell...  

Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:49 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

I'm not ready to crown him a genius or anything, but I think at least he is current, has job experience, and has a track record.  He wasn't hired because he was someone's friend, they didn't coax a dinosaur out of retirement, they hired an actual current baseball guy with experience to run baseball operations.  That may not sound like a much, but for the Cubs that is a HUGE step in the right direction.  We can't have Krane Kenny (a newspaper guy) overseeing Jim Hendry (a GM whose thinking is a generation old) and expect to get anywhere.  So I think it is a greate hire.  I would also LOVE to see Francona over here, if he can make that happen.  Quade paid his dues and mayube even deserved the shot, but he crapped down his leg this year.  I know even a great manager may not have won with the guys on the team, but he had a ton of questionable calls and when things blew up in the clubhouse he did not step in.  Nice guy, but not someone I want as our manager.

Since: Jul 27, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:47 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

There is a definite risk here that Theo will be given carte blanche and will not get enough bang for his Chicago buck. Free agents will see this as an opportunity to cash in and that helps nobody. Maybe Theo will learn that throwing $millions at the current big thing works on far too few occasions, or maybe he won't. Personally, I think teams tend to win World Series, not individuals (and this is true of many other sports, not just baseball).

So, if Theo gets an exceptional manager who can build Cub team spirit, whoever the players might be, then maybe Wrigley has a postseason surge on the horizon. I suspect he will instead focus on big name players, and that approach is 50/50 at best.

If you take the top 10 regular season records, 6 of them were outside the top 10 salary teams (and a 7th, Detroit, were 10th).

And the last 4 teams still in are 10th, 11th, 13th and 17th by salary. Teams 6-10 spent $580m on salary and averaged the same number of wins as teams 26-30 who spent $217m.

The lesson of recent years is that you either spend huge (I mean Yankees style huge) and accept it may take a few years and may still not work, or you calm it down and build a team who play for each other.     


Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:45 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

I guess above anything else, it will be interesting to see what Epstein does right away. I don’t think he will have the payroll he had in Boston (at least not right away), so I don’t think he can go after Pujols or Fielder. He may have to eat the Zambrano salary (and btw would Ramirez now want to stay?) and trading Soriano is out of the question.
I feel Cub fans need to be patient before they can think about a contending ball club; that is, contending for a world series. But we’ll see what happens. It will be interesting to see the trades that are made this off-season (if any).

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:38 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

I'm also tired of hearing about the only way he was successful was the big market team. Yes he had money to throw around, but he did manage Boston's farm really well to. You have to spend money to win, but you need to grow your own talent to go with the spending and he did that in Boston.

Since: Sep 13, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:35 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

When Ricketts took over, they needed to make changes to the team and this is a big step in the right direction. Epstein has quite a task ahead of him with the mess Hendry left but I give him 3 years to start seeing some improvements. I definately think Epstein will enter the big free agent market this off season and make a run for one of em. ARam started slowly but finished strong I think he needs to try and resign him back for 3 more years if he can. Dump Z he sucks, I would love to see him and Ozzie blow up the Marlins together. Need a better rotation and a couple bullpen pitchers, I highly doubt Anger Guzman will be as good as he was when he comes back. Quade needs to go back to the third base coaching box, and Riggins needs to go. If not Sandberg, maybe ask Bob Brenly? Just listening to him in the booth and on tbs in the NLDS you can tell he has a really sharp mind towards baseball. Sadly Wrigley Field needs to be renevated to as it is falling apart :( but this is a key step in the right direction getting a good GM to get the team moving foward.

Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:34 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

This is hard core bad news for the Red Sox. To lose Francona and Epstein in a matter of weeks mean the Sox are toast! You can't just replace guys like that very easily, or at all. If he does leave I hope he rocks it in Chicago but we will miss him badly.

Since: Feb 10, 2010
Posted on: October 12, 2011 12:34 pm

Report: Epstein has 5-year deal with Cubs

Some thoughts from a long-time and die-hard Red Sox fan:

I wonder if this news is the final result of the well-documented disagreements between Theo and Larry Lucchino over Boston's baseball operations in the years since the 2004 World Championship.  It's been no secret that Theo wanted more control over player personnel decisions so that the Red Sox could achieve his goal of being a player development machine.  In the beginning of his tenure as Boston's GM, Theo showed a remarkable ability to evaluate and acquire underappreciated talent and build Boston's roster from the bottom up.  His acquisitions of Schilling and Foulke in 2003 also showed that he would supplement that base with the occasional piece of high-caliber talent necessary to give the team that final edge.

Since then, however, it seems that Theo's vision became increasingly more diluted by certain other parties within the Red Sox management team -- namely Lucchino.  I think that it was Lucchino -- not Theo -- who was more willing to throw money at the big-name talent in an effort to put the Red Sox in the headlines.  Basically, I think Lucchino was responsible for turning the Red Sox into the team they despised the most -- the Yankees -- by seeking the big dollar contracts and the headline-grabbing trades, while Theo's idea of building from within and supplementing with a more occasional fre agent signing was pushed more and more into the background.

I think the Cubs are getting a very able and talented visionary GM who will quickly be able to put them back into contention, while Boston will most probably name Ben Cherington as their GM; he will be instantly placed under Lucchino's thumb and have ultimately very little say about the team's direction and future.

I admire Lucchino's marketing ability; he has turned the Red Sox organization into a savvy, money-making machine that is actually very appreciative of its fan base.  But I think that Lucchino does the team a huge disservice in trying to run baseball operations.   He would have done better to leave Theo to handle that part.

Good luck Cubs.  I'll be looking forward to seeing you play against the Red Sox in about 5 years, which is probably about when the Sox will finally be able to rebuild and win a league title again.

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