Another day, another whirlwind of Theo Epstein/Chicago Cubs rumors.
- A well-connected tipster tells me that the Red Sox are determined to have the Theo Epstein issue settled, one way or another, by this week. It is causing them issues with respect to their manager search, so they want to nail things down. The decision on Epstein this week may also make the decision on assistant GM Ben Cherington – namely, if the Cubs nab Epstein, Cherington gets promoted. If the Cubs don’t grab Epstein, they may instead get a chance to interview Cherington.
- Relatedly, Buster Olney says Red Sox brass has already met to discuss what they’ll do if Epstein leaves. Consider this: if they were going to deny Epstein permission to interview, would there be a need to have such a meeting? In other words, the fact that these conversations are even taking place suggests the Red Sox are open to letting Tom Ricketts talk to Epstein. Good sign.
- The same tipster hears the “compensation” in an Epstein acquisition could just be financial, but cautions that, as we have seen with Tom Ricketts, very few people know anything concrete – tips and rumors, including his own and those from big-time news writers, should be taken with a grain of salt.
- Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says the Red Sox should ask for Starlin Castro and Matt Garza in exchange for Epstein. That’s … funny.
- Gordon Wittenmyer suggests (a bit obtusely – is it based on a source? damned if I can tell) it remains possible that the Cubs could land both Epstein as GM and Terry Francona as manager.
- Ken Rosenthal says the Red Sox need to quit fooling around, and offer Epstein an extension. Rosenthal sees no reason for the Red Sox to allow Epstein to leave.
- Jon Heyman says the most likely outcome is that the Red Sox will indeed extend Epstein, and give him a bump in title.
- Fangraphs put together an interesting writeup on the marginal value of hiring a guy like Theo Epstein over a guy like Rick Hahn, and concludes that, with so many excellent GMs-in-waiting, the Cubs might be wise not to give up a ton to get an established candidate like Epstein. Tucked into the same piece, however, is a discussion of the very reason I think the Cubs would be wise to blow their wad on Epstein: the cream of the crop of up-and-comers are going to want to work for Epstein. Those same whiz kids might not be as interested in working for Rick Hahn.