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With the pace at which Theo Epstein-related rumors are breaking, it seems most useful to give you items in bullet form…

  • A television reporter in Boston is claiming that yesterday Red Sox’s ownership was considering asking MLB for permission to require that the Cubs give them compensation just to talk to Theo Epstein. To be clear: this is not the compensation associated with hiring Epstein. The Red Sox might want the Cubs to give them a little something-something just for the privilege of saying what’s up to Theo. It’s a pretty bold move, considering they could just say, “no” to the Cubs. Frankly, it sounds kind of slimy to me. If you don’t want the Cubs talking to your man, just say no. That’s your right. But to ask for compensation when Epstein might tell the Cubs he isn’t even interested? Ridiculous.
  • Epstein is still leading the Red Sox’s managerial search, for what it’s worth (which is not much – they’ve got to proceed, business as usual).
  • Paul Sullivan says that it’s “likely” Epstein would hire Terry Francona to manage the Cubs if he joins the team’s front office. That’s the first time anyone has gone further than suggesting it is a mere possibility. Whether Cubs fans would want Francona – he was successful, but his attitude has flagged and he’s relatively “old school” – remains to be seen.
  • Sullivan adds that the similarities between the Cubs’ situation now (long-time draught, aging stadium, desperate fan base, etc.) and the Red Sox’s situation when Epstein took over add to both his desirability and his interest in coming to the Cubs.
  • Phil Rogers discusses the possible compensation the Cubs might have to send the Red Sox if they hire Epstein. Among the list: taking on John Lackey and his contract, which calls for $45.75 million over three years; a catcher, including possibly Geovany Soto; Marlon Byrd to play RF; a reliever like Carlos Marmol, Jeff Samardzija, or Sean Marshall; a pitching prospect, including possibly Andrew Cashner or Trey McNutt. For what it’s worth, I don’t expect the Cubs to give up quite that level of talent in compensation for Epstein. I’m sticking to my expectation that it will be a couple good prospects (if, that is, it happens at all).
  • The local writers are already hopping on the Epstein train: Bruce Levine says Epstein is “everything Ricketts wants,” Bruce Miles says Epstein is “just what the Cubs need,” and Rick Telander says Epstein is “exactly what [the] Cubs need.” In other words, they all “just want an interview.” I suppose that’s a bit unfair of me, given that I, too, see Epstein as the top candidate.
  • Levine adds that his sources tell him, if the Red Sox let the Cubs speak to Epstein, he’s as good as gone. I don’t like to fight with anonymous sources, but it remains possible that Epstein will use the Cubs’ discussions to up his pay and title in Boston. We can’t lose sight of the fact that Boston is Epstein’s hometown, where his young family lives. There is absolutely reason to be hopeful, but not necessarily confident.
  • The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy says the Red Sox need to say something about the situation, and fast.
  • For my part, I say the silence over the last two days is pretty telling: clearly Epstein is interested in at least speaking with the Cubs. Were it not the case, he would say something. Red Sox ownership would say something. Anything. In the face of very pointed and aggressive rumors, they all remain silent. That doesn’t mean Epstein will be coming to the Cubs, but it absolutely means things are being thought and discussions are being had.
  • MLBTradeRumors reviewed starting pitching under Theo Epstein in Boston, concluding that his rotations haven’t been particularly good, on the balance.
  • Cheryl

    Friedman is looking better.

  • ty

    Practiced law in Tampa for a long time and while the fans are grapefruit league veterans,the stadium and location are such negatives. Our firm always had tickets and we could not give them away.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s pretty sad.

  • stroodle

    Could it be Epstein himself is behind the compensation for chat thing?

  • Jeff

    Worst case scenario here; Epstein really isn’t interested in the Cubs job and has told Boston ownership this. They are demanding compensation not only to get something for nothing from the Cubs, but also to tie them up and keep them from aggressively poaching Cherington from his post. Then, sometime around Thanksgiving, Boston announces that Theo is promoted to President of Baseball Ops and Cherington is promoted to GM, leaving the Cubs out in the cold on their likely favorite candidate outside of Epstein and Friedman.

    Sorry, just the pessimistic Cubs fan in me that can’t seem to stop fearing the worst on major decisions like this from Cubs ownership.

  • die hard

    For all you Epstein worshipers…may want to read this excellent analysis on ESPN sports by
    Howard Bryant crossing the wires as I write this……bottom line…he was no better nor worse than others except in free agency where he was better than nobody except Hendry….and you want him working the computers and cell phones on free agency issues?…give me a break….over hyped over paid prima donna….not what our team needs..go to:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/commentary/story/_/page/bryant-111005/theo-epstein-held-accountable-red-sox-collapse

    • TWC

      God damn it, where’s that “unfollow” button…?

    • hansman1982

      For all you Epstein haters out there you might want to check out his record from 2003-2011: 839-619 .575 winning percentage

      and to remove some bias from the team he inherited (which did have a 5 year streak of .500 baseball or better) by removing the first two years he was there:  646-488 .569 winning percentage

      The 2007-2011 teams were largely his creation (only 2 MLB players remaining on the roster in 2007 from the 2002 team): 560-412 .578 winning percentage which includes 2 seasons of sub 90 win baseball and 3 postseason berths

      If that is only margenally better than Hendry I will take it every day of the week.

      For comparison Hendry went 733-723 from 2003-2011 .503 winning percentage.  One potential negative is that Epstein did spend more per win from 2007-2011 than Hendry: $2.5 Million to $2.3 Million but if the NL Central is incredibly weaker than the AL East then Epstein may have had 2 sub-100 win seasons with the teams he has built.

       

       

    • Sayueri

      Yeah, you lost me at ESPN.

  • hansman1982

    I wonder if Ricketts is using all of this smoke to obscure the GM candidate he knows he has a better shot at – Cashman.

  • Cheryl

    Interesting. Cushman may have leaked that he outsmarted the Red Sox on Crawford for more than one reason, but I still doubt he’d leave New York.

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