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By now, you’ve heard the very big news-that-isn’t-quite-yet-news that Boston Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein is on the “brink” (or “cusp,” or “verge,” or “precipice,” if you prefer) of coming to the Chicago Cubs. Word broke last night, and a few hours of searching, reading, and tweeting later, here’s your rundown of where things stand:

  • Most sources (media and baseball) agree that the deal is not quite done, but has reached such an advanced stage that it could be announced at any time.
  • WEEI radio reports this morning, however, that it’s a “done deal.” The compensation piece is still being finalized, but they say the deal is done in principal. Epstein will get north of $15 million over five years, and his title will be something more than general manager. The deal, they say, will be announced this week.
  • Similarly, the Sun-Times reports that the Cubs have circulated a memo scheduling organizational meetings for the second week of November, which a source tells them the Cubs would not do unless the GM situation was settled, internally.
  • Red Sox President Larry Lucchino may as well have confirmed how close a deal was with his tepid denial: “We are not commenting on that type of issue unless and until there is a resolution. That has been a consistent policy and practice of the Red Sox for years.”
  • The sense you get from a variety of sources is that Epstein has been weighing the personal cost of leaving his hometown, where he’s happy and his family happy, in favor of the professional challenge (and monetary reward) of Chicago.
  • Depending on whom you ask, the last piece to work out (aside from the personal issues) is either the compensation going to the Red Sox, or the other executives coming to Chicago with Epstein. The Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham says it’s the latter, most other media types are saying it’s the former.
  • Virtually everyone agrees that no Major League players will be included in a deal for Epstein. At most, it will be prospects and cash.
  • The Red Sox are not going to let Epstein raid the front office on his way out the door.
  • Jon Heyman, whom I apparently only cite as reliable when he agrees with me, says he’s heard the compensation might only be financial. I reported that possibility via a source last week.
  • Multiple sources say the compensation piece is being negotiated not by Epstein, himself, but by Cubs’ interim GM Randy Bush and Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington. (Advantage Red Sox.)
  • The Cubs have continued the process with other prospective GM candidates in case the Epstein deal falls through. The Sun-Times lists Andrew Friedman, Rick Hahn, and Dan Evans, specifically.
  • If Theo takes the job, Gordon Edes says Ryne Sandberg becomes the favorite to get the managerial gig. Epstein has, apparently, been a Sandberg fan for a while, and tried to hire him to manage the Red Sox’s AAA affiliate last year.
  • Because it’s the Cubs, and they’ve broken our hearts so many times, I’d recommend stealing your heart for another couple days until the press conference actually happens. Yes, things look very, very good right now. But we’ve been burned before.
  • Fishin Phil

    I think I just wet myself. :o

  • Cliffy

    Boy I thought the cubs were screwed up. Read the boston newspaper story about the plauers eating fried chicken and drinking beer during the game in the clubhouse.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, this is pretty crazy listening to the Boston radio. I’m not saying it makes me nervous to get Theo (since this was all under his watch) … but, wow. Kind of a shit show.

      • Sam

        I think the blame for that clusterfuck falls on Terry Francona’s lap. I mean unless Theo was in the clubhouse when it was going down there is nothing he really couod have done about it. And its very likely that he didn’t even know about it. I have a hard time believing that he knew about it, and didn’t do anything to stop his players from drinking beer and eating fried chicken during games. But thats just like my opinion man.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I don’t totally disagree. It just makes me uneasy, that’s all. The “boss” is supposed to know these things.

          • Lou

            I’m more concerned about his FA signings—maybe he shouldn’t have invested money in guys like Lackey and Crawford in the first place.

        • JulioZuleta

          Yeah, you think he’d be aware of it, but how often is he in the dugout or the clubhouse during games? I would think almost never.

      • chris margetis

        Didn’t that 2004 Sawks team drink Jack Daniels before the ALCS games after they were down 3-0 and continue it thru the WS?

    • hansman1982

      meh, thats just the media making a story out of nothing…had they gone to the post-season they would have been hailed as a loose bunch of guys just hanging out

  • Roland

    Brett have been reading your blog for months and really enjoy it you do a great job. Now I can only say thank god this is over so I can get some sleep for a couple of weeks till free agency starts. He will be a great hire. If Theo is hired all hail Tom Ricketts.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Roland – but, since we’re Cubs fans, and used to heartbreak, I’d wait for the actual press conference to get that sleep. Too many bad memories…

  • Sam

    I feel like a small child on christmas

    • Joe Cartwright

      Stay away from die hard.

  • philoe beddoe

    If this doesn’t happen now…it will rank right up there with the ’69 Cubs, the ’03 Team, Maddux leaving, and the blown 2-0 lead in ’84…

    I bet Chairman Reinsdorf is calling Emperor Selig trying to block this move…but I say Selig says no…it’s good for the game….like when Shooter McGavin tries to get Happy kicked off the PGA tour and Doug(PGA president) says no….

     

    • EQ76

      “I eat pieces of sh!t like you for breakfast!”

      “You eat pieces of sh!t for breakfast?”

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    I just updated the list with a couple additional items. The big one, which I meant to include originally, is that Gordon Edes says Epstein taking the job will make Ryne Sandberg the favorite for manager.

    • Fishin Phil

      I think it is time.  Bold Changes Baby!

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        epstein bold changes

  • Internet Random

    As always, excellent coverage, Bert.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I guess CJ Wilson will not be getting the GM job after all.

      • Internet Random

        That comedic genius needs to comment more.

      • Edwin

        I bet he sucks at moneyball stuff anyways.

  • johnnyqb

    Great post Brett. You are correct to advise caution. The bottom line is the deal is not done, regardless of what various sources are claiming. It sounds like nobody knows, except the principals.

  • jstraw

    So, stipulating this announcement dropping….anyone still have doubts about Ricketts being all in? No way does Theo take the job if it comes with a smaller payroll than Boston’s. Money coming off the books is going back on the books.

    And IF Theo’s involvement in the renovation of Fenway was relevent, what does that say about Crane Kenney’s future? I think he’s done too. I think Ricketts is very politely cleaning house. We’ve learned a lot about his management style over the last two years.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Everything you’ve said makes sense.

      Given the tumult in Boston, however, I can see scenarios where Epstein would come, even with the understanding that payroll will drop to $100ish million. I don’t think that will happen, though.

      As for Kenney, the only thing he’s still got going for him are the connections he presumably has with the city/state.

    • Fishin Phil

      Even if this deal falls apart at the last minute, Ricketts has really impressed me since the Allstar break with his ability to get things done behind the scenes.  It makes me feel much better about the future of the franchise.

    • JulioZuleta

      If you think of the increased buzz (revenue) that would be caused by a Epstein/Sandberg pairing, it isn’t hard to imagine a nice little bump in the payroll in a year or two. Maybe approach 150-155 mil?

  • Vinestal

    While they may say that compensation is being handled by Randy Bush you can be sure that Epstein is in the loop, he’s not gonna allow us to get robed blind.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I trust that Tom Ricketts is involved, as well – and I think he knows his stuff.

  • Waveland Ave

    Buster just said he thinks Brett Jackson is going to Red Sox

    • Fishin Phil

      Sure hope Buster was wrong.  Are you sure he didn’t Say Tony Campana?

      • JulioZuleta

        Was it on Mike and Mike? I can’t see how that would even be possible but if it is, it would drastically shift my opinion of the deal. I won’t believe it til I see it though.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          It sounds to me like Olney is just repeating what he’s heard from other media sources, namely: the Cubs will have to send a prospect or two, and Brett Jackson is the Cubs’ top prospect. I’m not terribly worried, yet. Some folks are saying the compensation might just be money – seems like a far leap from just cash to top prospect.

          • JulioZuleta

            Yeah, I’m hoping that since the title change is involved that it kinda throws the compensation out the window.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Buster had been wrong many times I remember him emphatically stating that the Cubs were getting Brian Roberts and Jake Peavy when those deals were all the rumor buzz. Being ESPN’s baseball guy he has to make bold predictions, and we all know how much journalistic integrity ESPN requires.

  • Todd

    Regardless of the Epstein rumors coming true, I think everything Ricketts has done from the amateur draft moving forward has shown his commitment to winning. I don’t think that the potential hiring of Epstein means that there will be money thrown around just to increase the payroll but when, and if, this new organizational structure develops a team that appears one or two pieces away from a serious title run; I feel confident the resources will be there to get the elite free agent.

    Great coverage Brett. I’ve been following your website since I finally broke down and created a twitter account a few weeks ago.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Agree completely, Todd.

      (And thanks.)

    • jstraw

      I don’t think money will be thrown around but I don’t think Ricketts will ask Epstein to succeed with fewer resources than upon which the successes that have made him attractive, have been built.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That is probably correct; and it’s definitely correct with respect to non-MLB-payroll resources.

  • Curt

    My question Brett is are the cubs hiring a gm or the man who hires the gm or is Theo going to wear both hats but either way it seems like the cubs are finally going in the right direction

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I highly doubt there will be a “GM” brought in under Epstein. Best bet is that he’s titled, “President of Baseball Operations and General Manager.”

      • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

        To have a GM, you just eliminate the assistant GM and it costs you a few extra dollars.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Curt I saw a plethora of twitter buzz surrounding the possibility of Theo being hired as president and acting GM but Theo will be searching and hiring a full time GM (last night someone mentioned Eric Byrnes).  I can actually see that as a great thing and would be excited if Theo becomes GM, he hires HIS GM, and Sandburg as Manager.  Exciting news, but I’m not getting overly excited until the news is official.

  • cubs4life

    I know at this point everything is strictly speculation, and i have heard a lot of names flying around, but has there been any word from a good source about what type of compensation the cubs will have to give up prospect wise? a top 25? top 10? or a pair of lower prospects? I might be asking just a little too soon and they are not that far in the deal, but im just curious what the deal could cost us.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      My guess is compensation ranges from as little as nothing, to just cash, to just a middling prospect or two, to cash and a middling prospect or two, to a good prospect (top 10 in the system, but not the tip top), to a good prospect and cash.

      That’s the continuum it will fall on, I expect.

      • hansman1982

        you forgot, 1 overhyped prospect, 1 really good prospect, a couple good but expendable prospects and the Jupiter of Bench All-Stars

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    So, if I do some deducing …

    Levine says the Cubs have reached out to MLB to discuss the compensation they’d be giving to the Red Sox.

    Various rumors say the Cubs won’t have to give compensation if Theo gets a “promotion.”

    It’s not a stretch to conclude that the Cubs are trying to give Theo a promotion title (President of Baseball Ops?), and the Red Sox still want compensation. So the Cubs have reached out to MLB to help settle things.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      And that would support the rumors that he will be President and would be hiring his hand selected GM.  It might mean Randy Bush will continue to act as GM but Theo will be the actual GM until he hires someone (and that could last through 2012).

      • hansman1982

        my guess would be that the new “GM” would actually be more like an Assistant GM and getting all the crappy day-to-day duties

  • Edwin

    Even if the Cubs had to give up Brett Jackson, does that really matter? Getting a GM in place who can set up a winning system long-term is way more important than one prospect, even a top prospect like Jackson. Jackson is very good, but he’s not exactly a can’t miss future all-star for years to come player.

    With a good GM like Theo, the Cubs should be able to build up their farm system, make better signings, trade more effectively, and in a few years they’ll have a new Jackson. A better Jackson. Or they can just sign Jackson back when he becomes a free agent with all of their Ryne Sandberg money.

    • EQ76

      Knowing the Cubs’ luck, Jackson will end up being a Hall of Famer if he’s dealt.  that’s just how it seems to go with us.

      • Internet Random

        I don’t want to see Jackson go, but I could easily live with that if Epstein is also a Hall of Famer for getting both the Sawx and the Cubs World Series titles.

  • Ron Swanson

    I was on the fence about Sandberg last year but I’m ready to see him put in the dugout. I think the year away in another organization only helped him and keeping him away from this year’s disaster was good too. He reeks of leadership and seems to be well respected by more people than just folks like me that grew up with a 23 on my back.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    So, the question is … when do I put up today’s bullets post? Don’t want to look as though I don’t recognize that there are slightly more important things going on…

    • Toosh

      I’d continue putting up your bullets post as you usually do. You can always update it or post something new as it happens.

  • Mike

    weei is reporting Theo Epstein has agreed to terms on a deal in excess of 15M with the Chicago Cubs and it is official.

  • http://bleachernation.com ricosanto

    The player comp could be Vitters.He opened some eyes in the fall league with 2 Hrs in the first game. I am estatic that he loves Ryno.I am pretty sure Ryno will be the manager,Dont be surprised if Rick Hahn is the Gm under Theo as President of Baseball Operations.

  • Sam

    Theo will most likely be named GM and President
    of Baseball Operations. It is still a promotion, AND if I rember correctly ricketts said that he wants the new GM to answer directly to him.

  • Mike

    Here’s the exact quote picked out:

    WEEI’s John Dennis reported Wednesday morning that Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has agreed with the Cubs on a five-year deal worth more than $15 million.

    From a brief one paragraph story.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I mean, thank you, but, like, you do see that that’s the second bullet on this post, right?

  • LouCub

    being that WEEI, is their flagship station, i’d has more cred than some dickhead like Jon Heyman or Tim Kurkjian!!! It’d be like WGN confirming it

  • hansman1982

    …nevermind…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Again, appreciated – but that’s based on the same WEEI report discussed in this post ( … three hours ago :) ).

      (I’m being such a douche today…)

  • NL_Cubs

    I’m cautiously optimistic that that the ‘O’ factor is coming to Clark and Addison. As the levers are being pulled and buttons pushed behind the scenes to get this deal done, it very well could turn into a recipe for success. An owner who is demonstrating a desire to win by his early actions as owner and the prospect of…Theo and Ryno,and Winning, Oh my.

    I am anxious to hear the reports coming out of Chicago and Boston over the coming hours.

  • Mike

    Sorry I didn’t know where you got that, it popped up briefly as a definitive report on MLB Trade rumors, I was focused on the deal being done verbiage and compensation discussion when this popped up. And when I reread your first bullet I see you were getting the same thing. MLB Trade rumors is usually pretty accurate in their rumors, but didn’t make the connection. You are great, shame on me for not reading more closely.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It’s all good, Mike. I just wanted to make sure you’d seen the bullet. And you’re right – MLBTR is now as solid as any other site when it comes to getting this stuff right, and getting it fast.

      • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

        Well ESPN’s SportsCenter just reported…. sooooo obviously it now confirmed.

        Brett I think you should contact ESPN and say you re-reported the news before they did.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      Don’t take Brett too serious, every since he shed the “Ace” name and now replaced Duffman with an image of himself his ego is at an all time high.  Its our job to keep him in check ;) I kid, I kid.

      Just remember that BN is the place for short yet informative post.  And this list of bullets was a little on the long side of short.

      • hansman1982

        I like to think of it as the short side of long

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Ah a good thing to say to the ladies, huh… sorry Brett’s douchness contagious ;)

  • NL_Cubs

    Theo coming to Cubs just announced on ESPN. Final details to be worked out by end of this week.

    • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

      damn you beat me by a minute… I will slink away to obscurity again.

      • NL_Cubs

        It’s all good MG. Not a contest, just happened to be in the room while watching ESPN. So now the speculation that Theo brings Ryno begins soon?

        • Internet Random

          It is a contest, and you totally kicked his ass.

          • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

            I’m a loser, time to open another bottle of Founder’s Candian Breakfast Stout and forget how small a person I am and how my fat little fingers couldn’t out type a fellow poster.

            Is it too late to throw out a Ladder Match Cage Fight to regain my dignity?

  • cubsklm

    THIS IS FOCKING “WICKED AWESOME”

  • LouCub

    THEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Mr Ricketts is the man!!!! Get me a press confrence please!!!

  • Matt

    I find myself humming the melody to “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!”

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