Tag:Theo Epstein
Posted on: September 11, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: September 11, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Epstein-to-Cubs rumors lingering

By Matt Snyder

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is said to be close to the top of -- if not on top -- Cubs' chairman Tom Ricketts' wish list for his next general manager. Initially, it felt like it was a pipe dream for several reasons. First of all, Epstein already had a dream job for several reasons. Why would someone leave a dream job? Next, the Red Sox are already set up to compete for a World Series title for the next several years. The Cubs are not. Why leave a success to rebuild?

We can only speculate on the sentiment, because Epstein hasn't said -- nor will he say any time soon -- what his answers to those questions are. But according to reports, it's possible the Cubs can land him.

Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe notes that the rumor is alive and well, while Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune said the Cubs getting Epstein is more "viable" than he had previously thought.

If you don't think there's at least some chance Epstein would entertain an offer, think again. The NL Central doesn't have the Yankees, and the Cubs have the resources to be an absolute monster under the right leadership. If Epstein believes he can create a foundation like he did in Boston -- remember, a lot of the roster is home grown -- he might just be ready for a new challenge.

And, of course, he already halted one historic run of futility. Wouldn't the prospects of ending a second one be pretty enticing?

Now, none of this means Epstein is close packing his bags for the Windy City, but it's certainly interesting, if nothing else.

Hat-Tip: Chicago Now

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Category: MLB
Posted on: September 1, 2011 9:42 am
 

Pepper: Plenty of good seats available

Dodger Stadium

By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

Los Angeles Times columnist Bill Plaschke went to Wednesday afternoon's Dodgers-Padres game and talked to all six fans in section 314. Six. The announced crowd was 27,767 -- but there were actually fewer than 8,000, Plaschke estimated and may have been the smallest crowd in Dodger Stadium history. 

Every time I've been to Dodger Stadium it's been full and rocking -- this tells you as much as you need to know about how LA fans feel about Frank McCourt.

On the market: But the McCourts did sell one of their two homes near the Playboy Mansion, so there's that. It was the smaller of the two houses in Holmby Hills going for "just" $6.14 million. [Los Angeles Times]

Click here: Really nice work by the Detroit News illustrating just how quickly a Justin Verlander fastball gets on a batter. Check it out.

No sympathy: White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is one of his closest friends in the game, but he's not exactly feeling sorry for him -- "No, because I've seen him celebrating a lot with a lot of champagne over his body when I've watch him [over the years]," he told reporters (MLB.com). "Get them next year, Gardy."

Jays scouting Darvish: Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos was in Japan on Wednesday scouting right-hander Yu Darvish. The Rangers and Yankees have also scouted him in person, while the Nationals, Orioles, Red Sox and Rays also have reportedly been interested in Darvish. [Toronto Sun]

Theo happy in Boston: Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein made his first remarks about his name being thrown around in talks about the open Cubs job -- he said he's "really happy to be with the Red Sox." He didn't elaborate much or deny any interest in the Cubs job, but why should he? Leverage is a good thing and there's no reason for Epstein to give that up. [WEEI.com]

Beane leading Cubs' wish list: Cubs owner Tom Ricketts was in San Francisco on Wednesday, while A's general manager Billy Beane was at home in the Bay Area and his team was in Cleveland -- coincidence? [Chicago Sun-Times

Rooftops expected: For the first time in a decade, all the Wrigley rooftops around the Cubs' home park have been inspected by city health officials. [Chicago Tribune]

Measuring power: An interesting article on FanGraphs.com asking the best way to measure power -- because what exactly are we talking about when we talk about power? It's more than just homers, but shouldn't homers count more? Anyway, the result is a stat called wXB -- or weighted extra bases. However, the problem with this is that are triples really a measure of power? You're not going to find anyone who says Dexter Fowler has more power than David Ortiz, but you wouldn't be surprised to learn Fowler has more triples than Ortiz.

Strasmas returns: Not that it's any surprise, but ticket prices have gone through the roof for the Stephen Strasburg's "Strasurrection" start on Sept. 6. [Washington Post]

Cards want to extend Berkman: The Houston Chronicle's Richard Justice told a St. Louis radio station that the Cardinals approached Lance Berkman about a contract extension in July and the 35-year-old "very much wants to stay" in St. Louis. However, the fact he didn't sign an extension implies Berkman will at least test the free agent waters. [NBC Sports]

Phillies doomed: The Phillies are a favorite for the World Series this season, but enjoy it now, Phillies fans. Grantland.com's Rany Jazayerli writes that the team isn't built for the long haul, as the team is saddled with bloated contracts and aging players. A really interesting read.

Moose is loose: Royals rookie Mike Moustakas has found his groove. After starting his career hitting .182, he's raised his average to .232 with a 14-game hitting streak. [MLB.com]

Movie time for A's: Several A's say they're curious to see Moneyball when it premiers later this month. [Baseball Prospectus]

Bay to center? Could the Mets move Jason Bay to center field in 2012? That's one of the things the team is considering, even though it seems like it would certainly weaken the team's outfield defense. But hey, the guy is owed a ton of money, so he'd have to be put somewhere. The move would also allow Daniel Murphy's bat to get in the lineup in left, with Lucas Duda in right. Of course, Murphy wasn't able to play left in 2009, so I'm not exactly sure why he would be able to now. [New York Daily News]

Pujols teases fan: A good friend of mine can't stand Albert Pujols -- when 60 Minutes did the feature about all his charitable work, my friend wasn't impressed. He once had a to do a story on Pujols, who blew him off. He went back the next day, and Pujols was a jerk to him again. So I'm guessing he'll like this story about Pujols taunting a Brewer fan. [Big League Stew]

Quentin's return uncertain: White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin is eligible to come off the disabled list on Monday, but he said he's unsure if he'll be ready to play by then. He went on the disabled list for a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder Saturday, but hadn't played since Aug. 20. [Chicago Tribune]

Uehara's option vests: When Rangers reliever Koji Uehara appeared in his 55th game of the season on Wednesday, his $4 million option for 2012 vested. [MLBTradeRumors.com]

More Garfoose: Not to overload you with Dirk Hayhurst stuff, but some might find this interesting -- the recently released pitcher is auctioning off some of his game-used gear for charity. [DirkHayhurst.com]

40th anniversary: On Sept. 1, 1971, the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first team in Major League history to field an all-minority lineup, with Dock Ellis taking the mound. [The Hardball Times]

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Posted on: August 25, 2011 11:39 am
 

No shortage of rumored names in Cubs' GM search



By Matt Snyder


Friday will mark exactly one week since the Cubs announced they had fired general manager Jim Hendry. Cubs' chairman Tom Ricketts asserted he wants to find a GM with a strong track record, an analytical background and with an emphasis on player development. The latter two criteria would seem to point to someone opposite of Hendry -- who had a recent history of big contracts and trading prospects for veterans. The former criterion points to an experienced general manager, not a first-timer.

So many names have been tossed around for what is absolutely an attractive job. Now, this is where the Cubs haters all jump up and down and start screaming about how bad the Cubs "suck." No one in his right mind can deny nearly any general manager would want this job, though. As the Cubs' general manager, one would have the capability to work with a payroll that dwarfs any other in the NL Central. One would have a rabid fan base that is absolutely desperate for a World Series, so residing over one would be the ultimate sports accomplishment. Also, in the present, the Cubs have more than $50 million falling off the payroll next season, so there's a chance to basically start over. No ballclub can compare to the resources the Yankees have, but there's no reason the Cubs can't eventually be the Red Sox of the National League -- and there is no Yankees in the NL.

With this in mind, you'd have to figure almost every name is initially in the mix with few exceptions. And it sounds like that's true. Let's sum up the recent rumors:

ESPN's Buster Olney said earlier this week that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein "could" be a name for the Cubs to consider. What Epstein did under John Henry's ownership group is something similar to what the Cubs want under the Ricketts family, so it makes sense. Of course, Epstein also has very strong Boston roots and is currently in a better situation than what he'd be taking over with the Cubs. Unless he wants a fresh, new challenge or is simply tired of competing with the Yankees, it doesn't seem like he'd have any incentive to leave. For what it's worth, Henry emailed Red Sox reporters about the speculation:

“This kind of speculation happens from time to time to successful GMs and managers,” Henry wrote (BostonHerald.com). “The Cubs have one of the best presidents in baseball. I think this shows how highly regarded Theo is by the media and baseball in general.”

• Speaking of AL East powers, a "long-odds" option is Ricketts calling Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and trying to convince him to head to Chicago as a package deal with manager Joe Girardi. Cashman's contract does expire at the end of the season. (SunTimes.com) This is total speculation on my part, but there's not much more Cashman could accomplish with the Yankees and he could very well be tired of ownership forcing his hand (a la the Rafael Soriano contract this past offseason that he didn't want to give). Also, keep in mind Girardi had two different stints with the Cubs as a player and was born and raised in Peoria, Ill. This scenario makes sense, if Ricketts could convince the two to leave New York. But, again, this was reported as a long shot.

• More AL East: Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman has been named by pretty much every reporter in the business as a possibility. Friedman should be incredibly attractive because of what he's helped do with the Rays. He now has experience building a farm system basically from the ground up and in Chicago he'd be able to sign and keep higher-priced players. He also wouldn't have to worry about attendance or moving. ESPN's Olney wrote about Friedman's tough decision this coming offseason.

• Another small-market guy who might enjoy getting to have a few extra payroll dollars for once is A's general manager Billy Beane. According to Susan Slusser of SFGate.com, Beane "might consider an offer" if the Cubs came after him. Slusser also reports the Cubs are "expected" to talk to Beane. Another reason Beane might want to bail on Oakland is how long it's taking to get the A's stadium situation resolved. Beane is signed through 2014, but the report indicated owner Lew Wolff would let Beane out of the deal if he wanted.

Dodgers GM Ned Colletti is an option, despite that he's a bit more old-school than Ricketts seemed to say he preferred. In the case of Colletti, one reported benefit would be that he'd bring Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg back to the organization as the Cubs' manager, the job which Sandberg didn't get last season. (SunTimes.com)

• On the flip-side of much of the above notes, SI.com's Jon Heyman reported that the big names -- Cashman, Beane, Epstein, Friedman -- are not likely to take the job. Heyman instead reports it's going to come down to Rick Hahn and Josh Byrnes. Hahn is the vice president and assistant general manager of the White Sox and is considered a true up-and-comer by several in the business. In fact, several outlets have ranked him as the top GM candidate in baseball (excluding current GMs). The issue, of course, is he doesn't have experience as the top dog. Byrnes is the vice president of baseball operations for the Padres and has previously been the GM of the Diamondbacks. He had a hand in putting together the 2007 playoff team, but when things fell apart afterward, he was fired in 2010.

• According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, Cashman is "very unlikely" and the Cubs might have to pay something like $10 million a year to pry Epstein away from Boston.

So there you have it. Several huge names, a hot-shot up-and-comer and lots of things we don't know. We need to keep in mind that initial interest in either side doesn't necessarily mean a job offer -- or acceptance of the job offer -- is coming. We also have to keep in mind that guys presently on the job, especially those in the middle of pennant races, will publicly deny interest no matter what.

Ricketts will likely want a new GM in place very quickly once this season ends, but until then -- about five weeks -- we'll continue to see the names swirl.

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Posted on: February 1, 2011 11:23 am
 

Red Sox G.M. says don't sleep on Rays

Theo Epstein The Red Sox had a "town hall" with fans last night on NESN, and there was a whole lot of Sox talk -- but one of the things I found interesting (or at least more interesting than the on-going Red Sox-Yankees banter) was general manager Theo Epstein's opinion on the Rays via the St. Petersburg Times):
"I think the demise of the Rays is greatly exaggerated. Even before those moves we never erased them at all from our radar. I think they’re uniquely positioned to lose some really good players and keep their status as one of the best teams in baseball, given the strength of their farm system and the players they have ready to step in. They lose [Matt] Garza, they have [Jeremy] Hellickson to step in. They lose [Carl] Crawford they have [Desmond] Jennings and [Matt] Joyce to step in. They're going to be real tough.''
I'm not sure the Rays are the class of the American League East, but it would be important to note that they're not going to revert to the Devil Rays just because Crawford is gone.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: July 31, 2010 9:38 am
Edited on: July 31, 2010 10:09 am
 

Don't expect splash from Red Sox

Terry Francona It's not often a team in contention with an exorbitant payroll sits out the trade deadline, and yet that's what the Red Sox will probably do.

At 58-45, the BoSox would be a half-game behind the first-place White Sox in the AL Central, a game behind the Braves for the lead in the NL East, and atop the standings in the NL Central.

Too bad they play in the AL East, so find themselves 7 1/2 games out of first and 6 1/2 games out of the wild card.

"You look at the scoreboard, Tampa and New York never lose a game," David Ortiz said earlier this week according to Alex Speier at WEEI.com. "That's what it feels like."

While Boston is still in the postseason race, it is difficult to make a splash at the trade deadline because there really isn't any clear position -- other than middle relief -- to acquire. Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury will return to the Red Sox lineup before long, which will give Boston its intended regular lineup for the first time since the beginning of April.

With Josh Beckett back into the fold, the Sox would finally field a quality team, but it might be too little, too late. Either way, it's near impossible to make a decision so quickly.

“I know Theo and those guys are down there working," manager Terry Francona (pictured) mused. "If he thinks he can make us better while making sense, he’ll do it. I’m confident of that. I think he does a good job of trying to stay, keep track of the present and the future. Sometimes when you’re in uniform, all you care about is today. [I] try not to have conversations with him where he feels, like, pressure from me to do something that would hinder our future."

It's long been thought Boston might be more active in the waiver trading period, where the Red Sox can claim players and block them from going to the Yankees and Rays. If teams opt to let the player go to Boston with the Red Sox assuming all the cash, the BoSox are okay with that. In addition, Boston itself can make its own waiver trades once the team's roster and direction are more firmly established.

Unless for a solid middle reliever, then, expect Theo Epstein to sit out this trade deadline.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Posted on: July 21, 2010 10:35 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2010 11:09 pm
 

Red Sox willing to spend above luxury tax

Larry Lucchino Rest easy, Red Sox fans.

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino appeared on WEEI Wednesday to assuage fears that Boston would have no room to add payroll at the trade deadline after league officials informed the team they had, in fact, crossed past the luxury tax threshold.

"We are at the bottom end of the tax threshold," Luchhino said. "We’re not at the highest tax rate. We’re at the lowest tax rate."

The Red Sox will be taxed 22.5 percent per dollar over the luxury tax, while the Yankees are taxed at 40 percent. Due to the news, reports have surfaced that the Red Sox would be unable to add payroll at the deadline. Not true.

"I know what our financial plans are, and [the perception the Red Sox cannot spend] is not true," Lucchino stated. "We have money set aside to acquire talent if we can find it, but having said that this is not a promise or a prediction that a trade will happen. We’re not going to do something just to keep our record alive by making deals on July 31."

The Red Sox stand to transform the face of their roster once all its injured players return as they have begun doing so. Clay Buchholz and Jed Lowrie joined the team Wednesday, Thursday will bring Jeremy Hermida and Friday Josh Beckett. Victor Martinez is en route inside of two weeks and Jacoby Ellsbury figures to eventually make it back.

The Red Sox have hit the skids lately and fall farther and farther behind New York and Tampa, respectively, for the division and wild card lead. The team is most aggressively seeking relief pitching but is also handicapped by its returning players -- who knows, for example, when Ellsbury will return? If it's not until mid-September, Boston would undoubtedly look for a solid outfielder to import.

In fact, the Red Sox have been linked to David DeJesus for a while now, and the Royals dispatched a scout to watch a Red Sox minor-league affiliate, reports Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Dejesus is under contract through 2011 and would represent quite the upgrade over the motley crew Boston has run out as of late.

But there's too much uncertainty to say.

Whatever the deal, it will have to make sense.

"Theo [Epstein] parts with prospects less willingly than he would part with his first-born," quipped Lucchino.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.


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