A rundown of what I’ve gleaned from reading, tweeting, watching, and radio listening since this morning. (Ed. note: few links are included, as many of the bullets are surmised from multiple sources, or were on TV/radio. You’ll forgive the slight breach in etiquette given the circumstances.)
- Everyone and their brother has seized on this morning’s WEEI report, and is reporting that Theo Epstein to the Chicago Cubs is a “done deal.” If it falls through at this point, it would be on the order of “Dewey Defeats Truman.” Probably worse.
- The original report had the deal at five years, and something over $15 million. Buster Olney has reported that the deal is actually for a total nearing $20 million, because there’s a $3.5 million bonus Epstein was to collect from the Red Sox, which will now be covered by the Cubs.
- I’m reading more reports – particularly those out of Boston – that the biggest holdup has been about which Boston employees Epstein could take with him to Chicago.
- Compensation to the Red Sox remains undetermined. There are rumors that, if Epstein is indeed promoted to a President-level position, the Cubs will not owe the Red Sox any compensation. It seems to me that such a thing can’t be a “rule” (Epstein is under contract; if the Cubs want to “take” him, the Red Sox can ask for compensation), but is instead a courtesy. I find it interesting that Bruce Levine reported that the Cubs have reached out to MLB to review the compensation piece. Could it be that the Cubs don’t want to have to give up much, considering Epstein is being promoted, and are thus asking for help from MLB?
- Relatedly, or unrelatedly, Olney says MLB has been monitoring the entire process very closely, primarily out of concern that Epstein’s pay would amp up the executive compensation market. (Think of it this way: many believe executive compensation is one of the last remaining exploitable inefficiencies. So, with MLB always concerned about competitive balance, they don’t want a big market team to pay an absurd amount for its executives, lest the little guys can’t keep up.)
- Thing is, at this point, the Cubs and Epstein have all the leverage in the compensation discussions. It would be very, very, very hard for Epstein to return to Boston now.
- My guess on Epstein’s title? Something like President of Baseball Operations and General Manager. If the “President” word is too dicey, it could be “Director.” Peter Abraham (Boston Globe) was just on SportsCenter speculating that Epstein would just be “President,” and would have to hire a general manager. I doubt that will ultimately be the case, but it’s interesting.
- Dave Kaplan has a solid write-up on the Epstein-Ricketts connection, and where we go from here. It will almost certainly get its own, full post, but I thought I’d pass it on now if you’d like to read.
- Various media keep mentioning the idea that bringing Epstein on board will help force the city to open its tax coiffeurs and help with the Wrigley Field renovation. I suppose I understand the narrative appeal of that argument (Cubs are on upswing, have good leadership, seems like a better investment, etc.), but I’m not sure I agree. I think the money was going to be there anyway. I am, however, intrigued by the idea that Epstein was instrumental in the actual renovation of Fenway Park, and in the ways to use that renovation to open up new revenue streams. More money for the Cubs means a better product on the field in the long run.
- The way-too-early next discussion? Who’s the manager? It isn’t going to be Mike Quade. Gordon Edes says it won’t be Terry Francona, either, but might be Ryne Sandberg. However, in initial conversations Epstein had with other Cubs’ officials about the manager job, sources say Sandberg’s name did not come up.
- For an early read on Epstein’s various philosophies, check out this 2009 piece. I’m not sure I could like this guy more.
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