Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: Red Sox May Want Compensation Just to *Talk* to Theo Epstein

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.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

80 responses to “Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: Red Sox May Want Compensation Just to *Talk* to Theo Epstein”

  1. Fishin Phil

    Dear Red Sawks,

    Bite me!  Ok, on second thought you can have Zambrano and Soriano if you pick up the rest of their contract.  How’s that for compensation?


  2. MichiganGoat

    The Cubs will validate the Red Sox to pawk da caw. This is just angry Boston media being asshole crybabies.

  3. MichiganGoat

    Okay I’m putting this on the message board: POSSIBLE COMPENSATION FOR RED SOX go and give us your best compensation i.e. a Chicago Hot Dog served by the staff of the Wiener Circle

    1. Fishin Phil

      Hey!  Quade has a year left on his contract, lets send him to Boston.

  4. philoe beddoe

    I will repeat what I said yesterday…Theo has the leverage…he either gets a new deal with the Sawks or he leaves…he will not work there for a one-year deal…I know the Sox have him signed through next year but they will not want a possible lame-duck disgruntled GM for one year…they may pay him for a year to not work somewhere else, but at the end of the day, it’s what he wants…

    if Theo wants to come to the Cubs the Red Sox will take minimal compensation…

    1. Internet Random

      I see this the same way (as I pretty much said yesterday too).

  5. Dumpman

    Compensation just to talk? Other then 3 million cubs fans destroying Fenway, whats to stop those pesky Sox FO people from garnering a plan of theo playing a false sense of interest, grabbing a few decent prospects, deciding hes no longer interested in the cubs, and going back to the red sox with a ncie extension? Hell with that. Compensation agreed upon before they talk, IF theo decides to join the Cubs.

  6. Internet Random

    [I]t sounds kind of slimy to me.


  7. Deer

    I’d give up Marlon Byrd in a heartbeat. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sox asked for Sean Marshall, I believe they inquired on him in the past.

    1. Internet Random

      Yeah, that would have been Epstein doing the inquiring… which kind of complicates the analysis. I’m not saying I disagree, I’m just saying that there are some extra wrinkles here.

  8. die hard

    Scott Reid who has strong ties to Cubs in past would be good addition to Cubs front office as VP or GM

    1. MichiganGoat

      Seriously? He could be a good addition to the executive team but Ricketts clearly wants someone with a higher position than Vice President, Player Personnel he’s looking for an established GM or an upcoming AGM. Are you just throwing out names that have Chicago ties? Hell, How about Steve Trout!

      1. Bails17

        Jody Davis?

        1. MichiganGoat

          Ron Cey

          1. Fishin Phil

            Dick Tidrow.

            1. MichiganGoat

              die hard has already put his name out

              1. TWC

                Oh, you don’t say… I must have missed that.

            2. Bails17

              Ivan DeJesus!  He is actually the “savior” we have been looking for.  He also has strong ties to the Cubs!  LOL

              1. TWC

                You said it, man. Nobody fucks with DeJesus.

  9. Cubbies4Life

    Take Tyler Colvin… please….

  10. philoe beddoe

    I don’t think if we get permission, and he interviews there is anyway he is NOT coming, it’s not going to be the type of interview where he might not get the job, it will be a “here’s what your getting”, “here’s the offer”(which he will probably know going in)…we will know soon, if Theo wants to come or is using us as leverage..

    1. MichiganGoat

      Your spot on, and the talk of compensation will only matter if and when Theo signs and then we’re talking two mid-level prospects.

  11. Spencer

    Compensation just to TALK? I agree, just say no if you don’t want him to leave that badly.  But, I would think professional courtesy would dictate at least allowing the conversation to happen.  They are well within their right to ask for compensation when/if he leaves, but not just to talk.  Shady, shady.

  12. RY

    Screw the sux! giving up byrd is no problem, hell no to giving up marshall, he is the only consistency we have in the pen!

    1. Internet Random

      We’re moving him to 2B anyway.

  13. Jason

    I’ll fly Marmol to Boston myself if they take on his contract

  14. Cheryl

    No compensation to talk. Possible preliminary agreement on who goes to the Sox if he actually signs. No more than that. If the Sox don’t agree to that go elsewhere.

  15. Jason

    Also, I’m surprised that they’d ask for a Catcher considering the Lavarnaway kid looks to have a ML ready bat. Don’t really know a lot about his abilities behind the plate though – maybe he isn’t a good defensive catcher?

  16. willis

    Zambrano and a couple prospects for Epstein and Lackey. I think they’d do that. Rids them of $45 million committed to Lackey, and they only have to pick up one year of Z, which who knows could be a decent year. And they are desperate for pitching.

  17. die hard

    So, SCR radio interviewed Boston writer an hour ago who said that Epstein is a stand up guy and would not want to leave on low note….as I said before, Ricketts being manipulated…. as I dont know how stand up Epstein is or is not….but I am sure if Boston offered him 3 yr extension, it would be Ricketts who?….hes just trying to make his owners jealous….flirting with Ricketts…wants more authority at Boston …maybe hes doing to Ricketts what Cashman did to him as to Crawford feigned interest….maybe Cashman taught him hardball lesson that hes testing on Ricketts….Meanwhile Rickets wasting time to get house in order…

    1. MichiganGoat

      So your saying no to Epstein and yes to Dick Tidrow as GM/player-manager/pitching coach/team ass kicker

      1. Billy Goats Ghost


  18. ty

    Stop it. Are we getting carried away with Theo? Take a close look at his decaying roster with some longterm contracts that will cripple Boston for many years. Trainwreck decisions of late. I am sure he does want to abandon that club . Give me a second while I cover my eyes before the blogs hit the fan.

  19. die hard

    Brenly for GM..Listach for mgr….both are no nonsense guys who will kick ass and take names later…and both will come alot cheaper too…both will tell Ricketts the truth and will not back off…right under your nose Mr. Ricketts….grass is greener in Wrigley!!!!

    1. TWC

      And here I thought the grass was greener in the SF Giants’ front office.  I must have misunderstood.

    2. MichiganGoat

      Okay I want what you are drinking, cause its shifting all logic and that is always fun.  Secondly, please start to use something that resembles sentence structure and proper punctuation.  I can’t follow all these…. maybe grass green…. random thought…. Leon Durham for GM…. did i lock my door… did I take my medication.

      1. Joe Cartwright

        Somewhere in Chicago, his 3rd grade english teacher is beating his head into the wall.

  20. die hard

    my point has always been need a hard nosed baseball guy cause all this computer logic and math metrics science approach has no long term success results..only short term pops like stock market… sustained success comes with experience, knowledge, hard work, honesty, loyalty and some luck….the old timers I have advocated share these traits….what made Yankees dynasty?…..was before computers wasn’t it?….the game of baseball has not changed since inception…give me a Walter Alston type who had the self confidence and toughness to sign one yr contracts for 20+ yrs….a current example is Gibson at AZ….Sandberg is another…why the Cubs avoid him must have something to do with his personal life as a Cub cause his on field success speaks volumes

    1. MichiganGoat

      Okay so you want a grizzly baseball man as the GM and coach who can someone convince players to sign single year contracts with us?  And all that rough-edged, old-school leadership will produce a dynasty?  Fine.  I fear you are wishing it was the the 1950 and ignoring how baseball is currently changing and has changed.

      1. Ron Swanson

        Sounds like he wants someone like myself. Common sense..common man.

    2. Joe Cartwright

      You can’t build a dynasty on 1 year deals. And what do mean by ‘sign one yr contracts for 20+ yrs’?

    3. jstraw

      I’m sold. Joe Morgan should be the next Cubs GM.

    4. bacboris

      Die hard, I usually don’t take the time to respond to your comments because I’m pretty sure It’ll just make both of us angry but what the hell are you talking about above? Is this an argument against new fangeled computers and the glory days of the yankees? Add in some comments about those damn night games and the travesty of any adjustments to Wrigley and you might just have yourself a day job at a local sports rag.

      Whether you have a dynasty has nothing to do with a GM’s gumption or how impressive your management were back in their playing days. All it comes down to is: a gameplan. A 5 to 10 year organizational plan incorporated all the way down to the minors which ensures that you have solid players with back up in the wings. This is not rocket science, but I sure as hell trust a computer (sabremetrics) to calculate OBP, RISP, and SLG than I do some ‘old-timers’ gut feeling about a guy. Almost any of these stats will help you to understand why some of those old teams were so good (in comparison to their competition). To truly believe otherwise is to ignore evidence and replace it with some kind of misplaced nostalgia.

  21. Illini

    Only compensation I would give Boston just to talk would be a tip. That underwear is on sale at Sears.

  22. JulioZuleta

    People should stop pointing out the bad signings Theo has made. Every GM has bad signings, everyone except Friedman, and that isonly because he has never had the resources neccessary to make bad signings.

  23. ty

    So it is o.k. for big money signings to be just adequate. Dissect his roster like I did this a.m and it is frightening. Between the contracts, injury prone players, and aged veterans Theo must be in crisis mode

  24. Matt

    In discussions with a co-worker, we believe we have worked a good deal. We will take on Theo and John Lackey and they can have Zambrano. No cash exchanged. They will have a big name and big contract for one year, but ultimately will save move and commitment time by getting rid of Lackey. We will pick up a much needed starting pitcher, that at worst will be a 4 or 5 guy, and at best, will return to his prior years production. Thoughts from the Peanut Gallery?

  25. Deez

    Brenly as GM, would be like Matt Millen w/ the Lions.
    Yeah, he knows what he talking about on TV but not in “Real life.”

    1. Jeff

      Matt Millen doesn’t know what he’s talking about whether he’s on tv or not.

  26. Dumpman

    I’m pretty sure die hard is just trolling. Brenly for GM? What?

    1. TWC

      Yeah, that’s kinda what I figured, too.  Either trolling or insane.  But more likely the former.

    2. Bric

      So I guess that would make him Die Hard with A Vengence.

      1. CubFan Paul

        i laughed..

  27. ricosanto

    I say NO, We do not need some primma donna , who already has won 2 WS, I still think Rick Hahn, He is the guy , like when Theo went to BOsox, he would be Super Motivated and hungry to break the curse for his hometime team. And of course he is bringing Ryno

    1. Jeff

      I think Rick Hahn is not a good choice. At least compared to Copolella with his Yankees and Braves connections and Cherington’s Boston pedigree. If Ricketts ends up going the assistant route, Hahn is probably not in the top 5 of guys I’d like to see get the job.

  28. pfk

    Bud Selig just made the Cubs give Andrew Cashner to the Red Sox for just THINKING about talking to Theo Epstein.

    1. MichiganGoat

      And then he blew up Alderaan and said Wrigley is next if they don’t obey the Galactic Empire.

  29. Wilbur

    Following is a quote I just picked out of the WSJ internet version …

    Sternberg said. “Well, we won. We won. We won. And we won. And it didn’t do it.” Sternberg also mentioned that the teams’ current model is “untenable” and that the “rubber will have to meet the road” at some point. “Michael Lewis and Hollywood made ‘Moneyball’ about the wrong team,” ESPN’s Jim Caple writes. “The franchise that has overcome every obstacle over the past decade is the Rays. Despite needing Groupon to stay within budget, they have reached the postseason three times, won the AL East title twice and played in a World Series the past four years. And yet only Oakland drew fewer fans this season (1.5 million).”

    Seems that with an owner angry at the fans for not showing up and what would appear to be even tighter budget restraints in the future the Rays GM may have some additional motive to move on regardless of his excellent personal relationship with the owner.

  30. die hard

    if have a chance go to 2003 article on baseball gm candidates of the future….http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/features/031209gmprospects.html….

    includes reference to our wonderkin Epstein…..all listed have had success, failure, or in between unless dropped out of baseball…..but common thread is that they are not from same cookie cutter pattern……to draw parameters of ideal gm and then decide only one meets description is a recipe for disaster….and by the way….Walt Alston never signed more than a one yr contract while managing Dodgers for 23 yrs….and he did ok…look it up…7 pennants in 23 yrs and a couple of world series championships….and he didnt have a computer or a cell phone…

    1. MichiganGoat

      And he walked up hill both ways to the sadium…

    2. MichiganGoat

      The personal computer and cell phone weren’t around when he was in baseball, I’m officially ignoring everything you write. You must really miss the 60′s, you know it’s nit coming back? Oh and people were fine before penicillin was invented, leaches worked just fine.