Blog Entry

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

Posted on: October 16, 2011 10:49 am
By Matt Snyder

The Cubs and Red Sox continue to discuss a compensation package for the Cubs poaching Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein with a year remaining on his contract. As of the last update the two sides were far apart, but it's been a few days, so let's take a look at how things have gone since then, according to various reporters from the Red Sox and Cubs beats.

Cubs/Red Sox drama
• At one point, talks were growing "increasingly contentious" between the two clubs, as Red Sox president Larry Lucchino was reportedly making things very difficult due to his now-fractured relationship with Epstein (, but several others have reported this wasn't accurate. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the talks are "business-like, civil and moving forward."

• The Red Sox are asking for at least two of the Cubs' top prospects, reports Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, but Carrie Muskat of reports top Cubs prospect Brett Jackson is not going anywhere.

• As things currently stand, no present Red Sox personnel will accompany Epstein to Chicago, reports Nick Carfardo of the Boston Globe. As for former employees, that could be a different story. Tom Krasovic reports that former Red Sox assistant GM Josh Byrnes will likely join Epstein in Chicago. Byrnes was the general manager for the Diamondbacks from November of '05 through July of last season and is currently the vice president of baseball operations for the Padres.

• The World Series begins Wednesday and Major League Baseball won't allow any deals to be consummated during it, so there's a bit of a clock on this thing, unless both teams are OK with waiting until afterward (and that's not likely, as they surely want the drama to end very soon). Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has reported that a deal won't be completed this weekend, and Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports all signs are pointing to a deal being completed by the end of the day Tuesday. reports a deal is "virtually inevitable" and that it's only a matter of time. So, realistically, it sounds like we should expect some sort of announcement Tuesday.

• Finally, the two clubs could be competing for the services of Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg as manager, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Epstein is once again the common thread here, as he tried to hire Sandberg to manage the Red Sox's Triple-A team this past winter. Sandberg had already taken the Phillies' Triple-A job, so it wasn't like he snubbed Epstein's advances. Many others in the Red Sox front office are said to like Sandberg, while Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts is eager to repair the relationship with the former Cubs' second baseman -- who was snubbed by former Cubs general manager Jim Hendry last offseason for the managerial job in Chicago.

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Since: Oct 13, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:08 pm

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

Personally, I don't believe anyone has ALL the leverage; however, I do believe the Cubs have a huge advantage. If the deal wouldn't go through, if the Sox refuse to let Epstein go now, that organization will be chaos central for far longer than the year Epstein has to sit on his but. Plus, if even by carrier pigeons, Epstein will work for the Cubs this year.

All in all, what I believe we have here is nothing more than two clubs trying to negotiate to their best advantages - SOP. We just add writers and the public, stir twice, and wallah -Much Ado About Nothing.

Since: Oct 30, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:07 pm

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

Well at least you got half of it right. They CAN ask for anything. That doesn't mean they have ALL the leverage. The Cubs could easily wait a year to hire Theo. An "Acting GM" would really not get much done, but with a tacit agreement to hire Epstein, it would work itself out. Besides, if after giving him permission to speak to the Cubs but then not letting him leave, I'm sure this would somehow end up in our wonderful court system and would cost the Red Sox not only Theo's salary, but a new GMs salary (and good luck hiring someone good with the mess that it would be with Theo being on paid leave for the whole first year), as well as lawyer fees.

Anyone who says one side has ALL (caps yours) the leverage in just about any negotiation is a moron. Even the guy holding a gun to your head for your wallet is still negotiating with you...otherwise he'd have shot you and then taken the wallet.

Since: Dec 7, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 1:23 pm

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

All these comments about who wins who loses. Both teams win which is unbelievable considering their history. Epstein will be the GM of the Cubs and have the oppurtunity to create a second miracle. You have to applaud his ego and moxy. To take on a new challenge and maybe the hardest and most pressure filled in baseball. All eyes will be on his every move. Chicago media Chicago newspapers Chicago television can he do the impossible. He most have gotten some insurances from the Ricketts that he would be completely in charge in the overhaul of the minor leagues and their development as well as a a very open check book.  The Cubs needed attention in the worst way with fans not showing up and costing the organization millions in lost revenue this move creates hope and the word BELIEVE which has been used so foolishly can now be justified. I am a Whitesox fan and I will give credit where its due Cubs fans and the team are getting a winner. The Redsox how do they win well they get compensation in the form of players or cash probably a combination of both.  They keep almost all of whats been put together over the last 10 years.  Not to shabby for an organization with some World Series titles and an incredible fan base. 

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 11:07 am

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

The option is to let Theo sit for the year while he gets paid. The Red Sox are under no obligation to allow Theo to work as GM for the team, their only obligation is to pay him. And they would have no qualms paying him to do nothing, if it comes to that. Businesses do it all the time, the Cubs did it with Milton Bradley; paid him to do nothing for 2 months.

Therefore the Red Sox have ALL the leverage, and can ask the Cubs for anything. Eventually they will compromise, but the Cubs have to give the Sox something.

Since: Apr 12, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 9:28 am

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

I completely disagree.  I think it's the opposite.  The Cubs have the Sox right where they want them.  Why give them much of anything, what are they going to do with Theo?  They can't take him back at this point.  It would be a disaster in the front office if you let him back there at all.  What is the option?  Fire him?  Then the Cubs get him for nothing.

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 9:03 am

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

I think that the Red Sox have the Cubs right were they want them.  If Lucchino really dislikes Theo as much as is written then he can wait for whatever he wants from the Cubs.  He is only scewing Theo.  They have their next GM already in position.  So they can start the manager interviews, etc. without Theo.  Whereas the Cubs will just be standing there waiting for Theo.  He can't be a part of any of there interview processes or determining how to proceed with their scouting, etc.  In the end the Cubs will fold and give the Red Sox close to what they want.

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 8:18 am

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

I would have to say, being impartial to both teams, that the Cubs are in the worst position here. There seems to be 3 scenarios that can happen: 1-the Cubs get Theo with player compensation awarded; 2-Cubs don't get Theo; 3-Cubs get with monetary compensation awarded.
There is a good chance all three scenarios could be bad PR for Cubs.

The least likely is #3, depending on how much money is exchanged--if we ever know. If it is a lot then I can see fans putting up a minor protest.

#2 would be absolutely disastrous to the PR department and fan base. Things are so public that people actually think that Theo is already signed by the Cubs. That is not true. He has a year remaining on a deal with the Red Sox that he is locked into and out of his control. They have a deal in princiipal he MUST BE RELEASED by the Red Sox for that deal to go through. Not getting Theo this year would be disastrous since it seems Cubs have put all their eggs in 1 basket here. If the Cubs end up without Theo, whoever comes in will never be good enough and always be linked at the hip to whatever Theo does does in future

#1 could be a losing position as well. Player Compensation is a tricky thing with this. There is precedent in other sports especially the NFL where Belechek from Jets to Patriots comes to mind with draft picks. In baseball I can think of only 1 off the top of my head and that was Piniella going from Seattle to Tampa and I believe in this instance they exchanged some prospects. The Red Sox can wait this out until they get what they want if they so choose. The Cubs can pull out at any time. I don't see that happening. The Sox probably are eying some mid to upper tier prospect(s) and started high to work down and get what they want. No matter what the Cubs give up the fans most likely won't like it.

This all makes for an interesting trip for the Sox to Wrigley next year

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 7:32 am

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

This is so simple, people. It was clear from the outset that the Red Sox do not want Epstein back. It’s over. He will not be back with the Red Sox in any way shape or form.

But he has a year left in his contract. So the Sox have to pay him. However the Cubs have shown interest in him, so the Sox tell them fine, we’ll release him, but for a price.

This is very similar to Ozzie Guillen leaving the White Sox. The White Sox didn’t want Ozzie back, and Florida showed interest (and he showed interest in Florida). So rather than just releasing him, the Sox got a couple of prospects in return for Ozzie going to Florida.

The same will happen with Epstein. The Cubs will get Epstein for a price of money and/or some prospects. But the Red Sox hold the aces, not the Cubs. The Red Sox can ask for anything, and the Cubs either pay it or not get Epstein. Simple as that.

If the deal falls through, then Theo will spend the year doing nothing for the remainder of his contract. The Red Sox hold the leverage in this one. They own his contract, but he doesn’t have to work for them.

The Cubs can make any kind of deal they want with Epstein, but it doesn’t mean the Red Sox HAVE to release him from his contract. If the deal gets done, it’s a win-win. If the deal falls through, it’s a draw-lose lol.

Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:27 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Dec 26, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 1:47 am

Epstein to Cubs 'inevitable,' talks continue

Yes, Epstein has a year remaining on his contract, but considering his "falling out" with BoSox president Larry Lucchino, there's no chance that Epstein continues working for Boston next year in his current capacity as GM, meaning that if he isn't allowed to walk to the Cubs he will need to be bought out as is typically stipulated in these sorts of contracts if they are ended prematurely.

That would mean that if a deal doesn't get done, Bosox are out any compensation they could have scored from the Cubs, plus the buyout figure they need to pay Epstein which is certainly in the millions of dollars.

Once it became known to the Cubs of Lucchino's and Epstein's increasingly untenable situation, the Bosox gave up whatever leverage they hoped to had since it was no longer possible the Epstein would continue as GM for his final year without Boston losing anything. Bad blood has made that impossible and is what gives Cubs the upper hand. They know they don't have to give up their top prospects and have the option of sitting tight and waiting for Epstein to get bought out before they offer him the job.

The Cubs can benefit from not sitting tight though by having the GM on board right away to start getting the club's reorganization under way and not risk losing him as a "free agent".  But Cubs don't have as much to lose with a deal not getting done immediately as Bosox do.


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