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The wheels continue to turn.

According to the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy, the Chicago Cubs have officially asked the Boston Red Sox for permission to speak to their general manager, Theo Epstein, about a position with the Cubs.

The Red Sox’s brass met today to discuss the request, but as of yet have not responded. Because Epstein is under contract through 2012, the Red Sox could deny the request. Alternatively, they could grant the request, or conditionally grant the request, seeking compensation from the Cubs should they eventually hire Epstein.

Few doubt at this point that Epstein is, and has always been, Cubs’ Owner and Chairman Tom Ricketts’ top choice to replace deposed GM, Jim Hendry. An interview with Epstein would seem something of a formal precursor to an offer of the job – I doubt a chat will change Tom Ricketts’ mind, and would be more about changing Epstein’s.

Note that the Tampa Bay Rays were eliminated from the playoffs today, making their GM, Andrew Friedman, also available for an interview. Friedman, according to most sources, is Ricketts’ 1B option to Epstein’s 1A.

There will be much more on this soon, I would imagine.

  • Hcs

    Now all we need are a handful of yes’es and a boatload of $.

  • Kinhin

    *dancing the Macarana*

  • die hard

    now all we need are 3 wise men and a manger

  • hansman1982

    NOW ALL WE NEED IS 2 OF EVERY SPECIES

  • Robbo

    Would much rather have Friedman, just wonder if he could be convinced to leave Tampa and also skip over the Houston job where his dad may become part owner in the near future. Friedman’s track record of moves much more impressive than Epstein’s and anyone that can continually put a winner on the field with that Tampa payroll and fan base is a freaking genius

  • funkster

    Ace, did you even think we’d be talking about the Cubs asking Boston for permission to interview Epstein back in July? Crazy how things change. On a different note, I wonder if people tend to forget that a lot of people think that Hunsicker is a HUGE factor in Tampa’s success. Not to take anything from Friedman, but I think people tend to overlook that he’s not the only person in Tampa that is bringing success to that organization.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I didn’t think it at all. Like, at all. That we’re even here is a credit to Tom Ricketts.

  • ari gold

    I think this is going to go fast. Very fast

    • dreese

      I think wheels have been in motion for a long time. Ricketts and his people have been planning and now they can put the plan they seem fit into action. Also the new GM needs time to evaluate and get to know the organization and the talent we currently have before he/she can start to get trades rolling

  • die hard

    No respect for Theo if does not finish what he started at Boston…and how does he explain Crawford?…..

    • Dan0mite

      The feeling is that Crawford is more the owners problem. I heard that Theo didn’t really want Crawford but ownership pushed pretty hard for him.

    • jeff

      Finish what he started in boston? The guy was the GM of 2 world series champs. What does he need to finish there? Yeah they blew in September but injuries were a large part of that. I don’t get the ignorance of your comment.

      • sox104

        right on.

    • Ari Gold

      Dude, he already won 2 world series, and the team won 89 games even though they didn’t make the playoffs. I think it’s safe to say he finished what he started.

    • Hansman1982

      Wait so the cubs GM bashing has already begun? What does he have to finish in Boston? A ring for every finger? He built a 90 win team in the toughest division in baseball that man aint got jack to give Boston. He took them from a franchise just happy to contend to the Yankees Light…I am still waiting for anyone to give me a good list of reasons to not want Epstein…

    • sox104

      when he took them to the first WS and won, his job was done. he than took them to a 2nd and won, he has nothing to finish.

    • cccubfan

      It’s a lot easier to explain Crawford than it is to explain Soriano……

  • Mike

    If the process is similar to other major sports, it will go fast one way or another. First the request is usually made in writing and the response is yes or no. If yes and conditioned on agreement to either financial or player compensation, it has to be agreed to prior to speaking to the individual. If the team then hires person to interviewed the compensation is due. Second, it’s very significant as this is clearly the guy and first guy and depending on what happens, he’s either hired or not. Finally everything in the media is Boston will let him go, but they want this cleared up one way or another and now. If Theo Epstein is leaving Boston, it looks like it will be quickly and to the Cubs or no one. And while it’s likely illegal, they would have had to have some indication from his agent, he is interested in dancing with the Cubs or none of this occurs. And bluntly illegal or not, there are all always contacts between organizations in all major sports like this. So looks like Theo and all of the rumors of Ricketts wanting the Boston model were true all along. No matter what side of this you are on, optimist, pessimist or goat lover, looks the stars have line up or crossed to bring us here.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, here’s the thing: I highly doubt this request is coming from the Cubs blind. They’ve heard from Epstein through back-channels, and he’s at least a little interested. Otherwise, they wouldn’t bother with the request.

  • die hard

    well that was my prior point…need a GM who stands up to owner…Tidrow would..

    • Jim Kress

      ricketts isnt the type of owner u need to “stand up” to if ure epstein. he’s looking at epstein to be his savior, so whatever chips ricketts has, he’s going all in with epstein…trusting that epstein will make all the right decisions of course. so insanely excited for either epstein or friedman!!! its like the fate of the world is on the line and we have superman or thor to count on. either way the jobs going to get done!

      • hardtop

        That’s a lot of speculation… Unless you are Tom Ricketts…Are you? I knew Ricketts read bleacher nation… I just knew it! Welcome tom… I mean “jim” (nudge nudge wink wink, say no more)

  • funkster

    To say Epstein needs to “finish what he started” in Boston is just silly.

  • die hard

    Silly?…ask Boston fans…..

    • jstraw

      One might wisely defer to you on what constitutes silliness. You’re an expert.

      • funkster

        You’re referring to me I presume?

        • jstraw

          I wasn’t replying to you so…no.

          • funkster

            I had a blonde moment.

    • Ari Gold

      Boston fans are spoiled pricks.

  • funkster

    You mean the fans that are all bitching and moaning about him and the collapse and have already won two WS rings? Yeah, he’s got a lot to prove over there. If you don’t think he’s already finished what he’s started, then I’m not quite sure what the end result is.

    • hardtop

      World domination of course. (duh) Boston first, Poland second, etc etc. The former soviet union is no match for theo… Forget the GM over under… I’m saying he will rule the world in under 6 months! You can make book on that missy.

  • Lou

    According to David Kaplan on 720 WGN radio, Boston is asking for compensation of Starlin Castro or the Cubs picking up the remainder of Lackey’s contract, in excess of $48 mil.

    • Jason

      Yeah – we’ll pass

      • Lou

        Wonder what the Rays would want for Friedman??

        • Jason

          Hak Ju Lee?

          Oh wait…

        • Toosh

          Friedman has worked every season on a 1 year contract. No compensation would be required if he took the Cub’s job. Hopefully Ricketts interviews him and offers him the job.

          • Lou

            If there’s compensation for Guillen and the White Sox clearly were not interested in retaining him, then there could be compensation for Friedman. Just because he works every season on 1 year deals doesn’t mean anything.

            • funkster

              How does it not mean anything? If he is not under contract next year then the Rays cannot ask for compensation.

            • bhannon

              guillen had a year left on his deal? haha friedman does not so rays can’t ask for anything

              • Lou

                They can’t? Not even a draft pick??? Yes, I gonna play the role of stupid here but the Rays by virtue of the year to year contract thing are just going to let Friedman go for another job if he desires.

      • Internet Random

        Word. I’d love to have Theo, but there are limits to what I think is reasonable to pay.

        You hire a guy like Epstein to get more guys like Castro on the team. To my thinking, it’s grossly self-defeating to trade a Castro for an Epstein… especially when there doesn’t seem to be a shortage of GMs on the market.

    • Cubz99

      I would take Lackey off of their hands, if they would take Soriano in return.

  • Lou

    How about Crane Kinney? ;)

  • philoe beddoe

    I heard the compensation talk on WGN….it is pointless to even discuss…the compensation will not be anywhere near what that stupid report is saying….he either gets an extension from Boston or they let him go…they won’t hold the Cubs up for the ridiculous things they are saying to keep Theo for one year…there might be compensation, but Ricketts is not an idiot….

    • Lou

      Well, most of the speculation on what Theo’s compensation is worth comes from Boston sportswriters not Red Sox insiders so…..yeah. But the Red Sox would be wise to ask for something substantial if they feel Theo to be a valuable asset.

  • Toosh

    Ricketts has yet to prove to me that he is not an idiot. Every which way but loose. But he still loses.

  • philoe beddoe

    Here is what I mean…it all hinges on Epsteins actual interest…he has the leverage, if he wants the new deal in Boston, he gets it if Boston wants him…If he geniunely wants to come to the Cubs, what are the Red Sox going to do? Make him honor the one year knowing he wanted to leave for the Cubs?  I say Ricketts is smart enough to call their bluff…and Ricketts will know if Theo is really interested or not, so Boston will have to accept minimal compensation

    • Lou

      Well, there is that thing called a contract….just sayin’

      • Internet Random

        Yes, but philoe makes a good point.

        If you’re the Red Sox, you want a talented GM who’s going to give the job his all… not one who’s going to half-ass it because he’s contractually bound to do so, and/or a weak breach-of-contract suit that would be nearly impossible to prove and cost you more to litigate than his remaining salary.

        • Lou

          Yes, but that’s assuming it plays out that way. What if the Red Sox offer him a co-presidency of baseball ops and the Cubs don’t, but he’s still genuinely interested in the rebuilding aspects of the Cubs GM job. He’s torn between the two jobs. IF he chooses the Cubs job, don’t tell me the Red Sox are going to accept minimal compensation for him. Because if goes to the Cubs the Red Sox could play on this advantage and ask for much more than minimal compensation. The problem with philoe’s argument is that he’s giving all the leverage to the Cubs and Epstein while failing to see that the Red Sox could still be major players (with a solid negotiation strategy). The problem with your argument is that it assumes that Theo would still hold the GM job for the Red Sox. Who’s to say he wouldn’t be given a higher position? And as Toosh puts it “smart enough is a relative term.” Exactly.

          • Internet Random

            No.

            You said, “Well, there is that thing called a contract….just sayin’”, like the presence of a contract is some insurmountable obstacle.

            I pointed out that there can be reasons not to hold somebody to a contract.

            Any other comments of mine that you’re “responding” to are your imagination.

            • Lou

              Never said the contract was insurmountable just something that needed to be considered….don’t know where you’re getting that–maybe your imagination. I think we’re giving the Cubs and the leverage power they have too much credit. The Red Sox have leverage here as well–that’s my point, regardless of the reasons not to hold someone to a contract. And why are we just targeting Theo as it seems on the surface? The Ricketts appear to have this “love affair” with the Red Sox. There are other organizations, i.e. the Braves, that are just as successful with the way they approach baseball operations. Why do we need to emulate the Red Sox, as that’s the impression Ricketts seems to be giving me?

              • Internet Random

                Never said the contract was insurmountable just something that needed to be considered….don’t know where you’re getting that–maybe your imagination.

                So you’re just saying that there’s a contract just to have something to type?

                Okay, so long as were into non sequiturs, I find pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats.

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  That was literally on last night.

                  • Internet Random

                    Indeed. TBS, right before the game.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Pudding skin singles!

                • Lou

                  No, I’m saying there’s a contract to imply that there’s more to just getting Theo than just getting Theo. As people keep correcting me, Friedman doesn’t require compensation, Theo does. It changes everything. Look at it from my and for that matter, Toosh’s POV. Theo is one candidate in a slew of perspective voices. The original debate here was compensation for Theo. What if you’re giving the Cubs too much credit for getting Theo and negotiating to get him? (Which by the way you never responded to in light of your “clever” answer.) The Cubs seem to want be the Red Sox and Ricketts seems to be targeting the one and only THEO EPSTEIN everyone! What if they could get Ben Cherington, who it would appear will be getting the Sox GM job should Epstein leave? Wouldn’t the Cubs be getting essentially the same style and mold of GM as Epstein? (After all, Cherington’s the same age as Epstein, been part of the franchise for as long as Epstein, and Epstein’s right hand man throughout all Boston’s success.) Now, the contractual obligation becomes an issue in getting Epstein. Now compensation matters. I mean, if Boston’s just going to hire Cherington, anyway, why not get him for a fraction of the cost? Why not interview Cherington and sooner so that you could get a sense of Cherington brings to the table? By targeting Theo and ONLY Theo, as it would appear, Ricketts has created another “savior” for the Cubs. Remember Dusty Baker–In Dusty We Trusty.

                  • Lou

                    Also, I think you totally underestimate what’s at stake here. The Cubs aren’t hiring Epstein to do a total rebuild here. You don’t hire Epstein to wait around for brighter days. That being said, Epstein’s desire to mold the Cubs probably is what is the most interesting aspect of this job for him. But the Ricketts–I still don’t know what their philosophy is here. Total rebuild, big-time free agency and throwing around big money for big contracts (which got Hendry into deep trouble)–what’s the philosophy? I could better understand the philosophy of a rebuild, if that’s the course, if Cherington were the hire. I’m not against Epstein being GM. I’m against the “corner” he’s being painted into by the Ricketts as Cubs savior. More of an indictment of the Ricketts than Epstein. What’s also crazy is the notion that, according to a Chicago Tribune Live poll, 76% of those polled would favor giving up Castro for Epstein! Seriously? Are we that singularly-devoted to one individual, as we always seem to be, in CubsNation???

                    • ari gold

                      I don’t think throwing money at free agents is ultimately what lead to the demise of Hendry. If we had a farm system that consistently produced talented players with a few high upside guys, it would mask his defficencies in free agency. Our farm system hasn’t produced anything in the past 8 years. That’s what ultimately lead to his firing. We had a old overpaid team and nobody to fill in from the farm. The result were back to back 70 win seasons.

                    • Internet Random

                      Wow. That’s a lot of words.

                      [T]here can be reasons not to hold somebody to a contract.

                      ^^^ A very short and simple point that I’ve made there.

                      I don’t see where you’re getting tripped up, and I’m really lost as to where you’re dreaming up all of this other stuff that I’ve neither said nor implied.

                    • EQ76

                      I totally agree.. and to add, people who make such stupid, unrealistic, knee jerk comments should get banned from commenting on here for at least 2 weeks.

                      Ricketts has already said he wants the Red Sox model.. which means, good farm system, spend money on big time FA’s, and make big time trades.. not rebuild.

                      the Cubs aren’t getting rid of Castro, or anyone they view as a star in the near future for a GM.. and I 100% agree that Ricketts isn’t trying to get an Epstein or Friedman, or Cashman, etc.  to rebuild.  The Cubs WILL NOT REBUILD people.. so quit acting like that’s an option.

                      They will continue to spend but try to spend more wisely.  They will try to build up the farm to a top system, they will go after some free agents, they will make some trades.. there will be no rebuild here.  sorry, if that’s what you want then go root for the Astros, Royals and Pirates for a while.

                    • Joe Cartwright

                      Is there a limit on replies to one comment? The reply button disappeared on the comment I wanted to reply to… But anyway, what I was going to say on EQ76′s comment. Watching the Astros, Royals, or Pirates (and in recent years, the Cubs, sorry guys) makes me wonder how the Rays have issues with attendance.

                    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                      Yeah, sorry – replies can only go so many levels deep (it’s to prevent them from getting too tiny).

                    • Lou

                      Wow, knee jerk reaction and a lot of words. I spend a lot of thought constructing this argument and that is what I get. A knee jerk reaction is overspending for Theo without looking at what other candidates, like Cashman and Cherington and Hahn and Beane and for that matter, Friedman have to offer. But you see, EQ76, everyone a couple of months ago was talking complete rebuild for the Cubs. Not something I’ve dreamed up or Internet Random’s dreamed up–something that’s been clearly stated by many Cubs fans for months. How quickly we forget? Internet Random–but the idea that a contract is binding completely changes everything–Guess that’s gone over your head. Yes, there are reasons not to hold someone into contract but the idea that the contract exists changes the negotiation process. CONCEPT OVER YOUR HEAD! EQ76, according to Baseball America the Red Sox farm system is 17th, one point below the Cubs. They have a mediocre farm system, not one I call good. As for spending wisely, well….maybe that’s why Theo’s looking to move….Lackey, Dice K, Crawford anyone??? Just because Ricketts wants to be the Red Sox, doesn’t mean every fan wants the same? You may joining me in the stupid dept with your comments. Maybe you should take some time off and research comments before you make them. Never said I wanted to get rid of Castro. Said the fanbase’s willingness raises a RED FLAG for me. Way to screw up my interpretation, but who’s counting, right?

    • Toosh

      “smart enough” is a relative term.

      • Lou

        Agree totally. Not convinced that Ricketts is a smart owner just yet. He seems to have sent a message that Epstein is his primary target by this news. I agree with David Kaplan, who contends, if that’s the case–why wouldn’t Ricketts want to hear philosophies of several different candidates instead of what appears on the surface to be targeting one guy.

        • Toosh

          Agree, as well.

    • Jason

      Philoe – that’s an excellent point. Call Epstein and tell him your strategy

  • Internet Random

    There will be much more on this soon, I would imagine.

    But I want an Oompa-Loompa noooowww!

    • Steve

      Best pop culture reference I’ve seen in a while. Well played.

  • Jim

    Boom.

  • Steve

    Call me crazy, but I feel like this is just due diligence.

  • die hard

    Dick Tidrow would do better than Epstein

    • Rancelot

      Dude, seriously…dirty Dick ain’t getting the job, not now, not ever…so stfu!!!

  • Jim Kress

    Damn! yankees are winning in detroit and avoiding elimination. I was hoping all this GM business would be done before hockey starts! haha

  • CUB5

    This is scaring the hell out of me. We are at a vital crossroads in a number of key areas within the club. With so many great candidates *possibly* available, we have to make the right decision for the club. This next GM will impact the next decade with signings and the farm.

    • Fishin Phil

      Now is the time for bold changes.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Ding.

  • DRock

    I read this on Rotoworld which is from the Boston Globe:
    Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported over the weekend that “every executive I’ve talked to” thought Epstein would be hired as the Cubs’ new general manager. Sherman said Boston would grant Epstein permission to interview with the Cubs.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, DRock – we actually had that up here on Saturday night.

      • DRock

        That is impossible since the Globe put this out last night. Your article this morning said nothing about the Sox granting permission- only that the Cubs have asked permission. Sherman’s report last night said the Sox WOULD grant permission.

        Latest report is that they may ask compensation just to talk which you accurately have posted. Thanks for doing the site, I was merely trying to add to what you are reporting.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Totally appreciated, DRock – I always want folks to post things as they hear them.

          But your own first comment says it: the Sherman “report” was from this weekend. The Globe simply reprinted it last night. Here is where we discussed the Sherman report on Saturday night: http://www.bleachernation.com/2011/10/01/take-the-grain-as-you-must-late-night-scuttlebutt-has-theo-epstein-coming-to-the-cubs/

          Therein, Sherman (who was the first to say so) said the Cubs would ask for, and the Red Sox would grant, permission. But that was Saturday – there were a couple days of silence, and then last night, the report came out that the Cubs actually had asked for permission. Now we’re waiting for the Red Sox to officially grant permission – Sherman’s report this weekend notwithstanding.

          Again, totally appreciate the post – I’m never trying to shoo away assistance. I just wanted to let you know that it had been discussed earlier, in case you hadn’t seen it.

  • DRock

    Brett,

    I read your post Sat. but must have forgotten what I read. lol It sounded different the way Rotoworld posted it and they made it sound like it was breaking news so I thought what they wrote came after the Cubs asked for permission.
    This Epstein drama is hard to follow!

    Thanks for all your hard work in making this the Best Cubs Fan Website on the net.

    I will stop reading other websites and just read this one! lol

    Hope Cubs don’t give up too much to get Epstein. We don’t really have much to give at this point!

    D-Rock

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Ha, no worries, DRock. Sometimes, eh hem, other sites like to try and manufacture breaking info where there isn’t any. Thanks again for reading and posting.

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