Blog Entry

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:14 pm
  •  
 

Talk about a golden autumn for general managers. Billy Beane goes Hollywood in "Moneyball." Theo Epstein is about to go Wrigleyville in "Cubbyball."

What's next, the Martin Scorsese HBO documentary treatment for Brian Cashman?

Make no mistake, the Red Sox are on the verge of completing their most historically impactful deal since owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919.

Whatever side you're on in what suddenly has become a vengeful Theo Divide, the facts are that the man constructed two World Series winners in Boston. Whether or not he's run his course, whether he fueled the Red Sox's downhill slide by signing free agents John Lackey, Julio Lugo and Carl Crawford, he still brought two World Series titles to town.

You agree to allow that man out of his contract so he can move to the Cubs, it is a pivot point in franchise history.

While the principles for both the Cubs and Red Sox remained underground Wednesday, indications were that Epstein and the Cubs are handshake-deal close, if not even deeper into their budding new relationship.

Which does not necessarily mean it becomes official tonight or even tomorrow, for one very large reason.

Compensation.

That's the next step in this enormously complicated transaction, and it is significant enough to probably delay this deal from being completed for at least a day or two, and possibly through week's end, or the weekend.

Where Boston owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino are concerned, even if they've run their course with Epstein, both industry sources and Lucchino's history suggest that the Red Sox will extract a significant price from the Cubs before allowing Epstein out of the final year of his Boston deal.

Few in the industry are as sharp and as ruthless as Lucchino, whose negotiating tactics one industry source described as "conceal and delay" until usually gaining what he wants.

There are at least two schools of thought in the industry regarding what the Red Sox ultimately will demand from the Cubs.

The first goes like this: The Red Sox are loaded financially, and as such, will demand players in return. This isn't a franchise that needs more money.

But the flip side is this: If Boston receives, say, two second-tier players in exchange, then those players always will be linked to Epstein. And if he wins a World Series with the Cubs and the players fade as second-tier prospects usually do, then that becomes a lifetime source of embarrassment for the Red Sox.

Whereas, if an organization already flush with cash simply takes a few million back in compensation, that money will fade into history no matter what Epstein does in Chicago. Without a human face a prospect (or two or three) would bring back, the Red Sox could position the post-Theo narrative however they wish, explaining that they used the money to sign Free Agent A or toward Blue Chip Draft Pick B.

Though it happened more than a decade ago, it is instructive to look back to the end of the 1995 season, when Lucchino was president of the San Diego Padres and then-general manager Randy Smith turned in his resignation on the last weekend of the season so he could become Detroit's GM.

Because the Padres held a club option on Smith's contract, Lucchino refused to accept his resignation -- even though it was believed at the time that the Padres were not going to pick up Smith's option. Arduous negotiations then began for Smith's exit.

Lucchino finally allowed Smith to leave, but only after ensuring that Smith, in Detroit, would not be able to poach San Diego's front office, nor its farm system.

The separation agreement included a one-year moratorium on Detroit claiming any Padres players in the Rule V draft, as well as an agreement prohibiting Smith to take any Padres employees with him to Detroit.

A month later, the Padres did not renew the contracts of Steve Lubratich and Randy Johnson, and Smith hired Lubratich as an assistant GM in Detroit and Johnson as a special assistant/major-league scout.

"Larry's tough, there's no question about it," said Smith, now the Padres' director of player development, Wednesday from Arizona, where he was seeing San Diego's Instructional League club. "He's smart, and he's tough."

Right now, before they can finalize the deal with Epstein, that's the next path through which the Cubs must traverse.

  •  
Comments

Since: Aug 20, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:46 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

I wish there were some way the Cubs could get rid of Soriano, Pena, Soto and Zambrano.  Even if it costs them, and it would, it would be awesome to just get rid of them.  I cannot take another Cubs season with any of them on the roster.  It's just depressing.




Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:19 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Give Theo the same number of years with -- say -- the Orioles or the Pirates, and give him the budget those clubs were working with in those same years,
and my guess is he'd have finished under .500 for umpteen consecutive seasons.  No doubt the guy is a capable GM, just as Phil Jackson is a capable basketball coach, but certain heroic figures in the sports world (and probably elsewhere) owe their glory to something other than native talent.  They owe it to $$$$, and to the luck of the draw on being at the right place at the right time.  If Jackson had coached the Clippers instead of the Lakers, nobody would likely know his name. 
 
this is 100% true.....except Jim Hendry had all the advantages with the Cubs that Epstein had with the RedSox and he was still a complete failure   



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:17 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

If the Red Sox are smart, they will ask for Castro...if the Cubs are smart, they will accept.

congrats...you are the biggest idiot on this board. There is exactly 0% chance the Cubs will give away Castro....its too stupid to even discuss



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:14 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

They were NOT losing seasons.  They were decimated by injury last year and went 89-73.  They went 90-72 this year.  As a Cub fan, I'll take those "losing" seasons any day.

The Bartman year the Cubs went 88-74.

EXACTLY.....many Cubs fans still defend the pathetic moron Jim Hendry.....Hendrys 'successes' are worse than Epsteins failures.  



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:14 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

If the Red Sox are smart, they will ask for Castro...if the Cubs are smart, they will accept.

If the Red Sox are dumb, they will take any of the Cubs' garbage like Zambrano. Lucchino is not that dumb.





Since: Mar 15, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:12 pm
 

Don't overestimate Theo's brilliancel

Give Theo the same number of years with -- say -- the Orioles or the Pirates, and give him the budget those clubs were working with in those same years,
and my guess is he'd have finished under .500 for umpteen consecutive seasons.  No doubt the guy is a capable GM, just as Phil Jackson is a capable basketball coach, but certain heroic figures in the sports world (and probably elsewhere) owe their glory to something other than native talent.  They owe it to $$$$, and to the luck of the draw on being at the right place at the right time.  If Jackson had coached the Clippers instead of the Lakers, nobody would likely know his name.   



Since: Mar 15, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:08 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

take Soriano.....PLEASE



Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:55 am
 

Why the need for compensation?

It's NOT a lateral move for Epstein.

In years past, there was never any compensation needed when someone was promoted to a better job with another ballclub.  He's not just going to be GM for the Cubs, he'll have added responsibilities.



Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:49 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

God I hope so.  Please take Lackey with you Theo.  You signed the stiff, only fair you take him with you.  I can't watch him pitch anymore.  I just can't.  The guy can't pitch, isn't accountable to the the fact that he can't pitch, and he sounds like a Muppet.



Since: Feb 12, 2009
Posted on: October 13, 2011 11:49 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball


Spoken as a true WHITE Sox fan.  I guess the Chisox minor league "talent" is in abundance?


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com