Quantcast

Despite the lofty numbers being bandied about, Theo Epstein isn’t coming to Chicago for the money.

Epstein’s current salary with the Boston Red Sox is believed to be in the $3 million range, so, setting aside the “transfer bonus” he’s receiving, his move to Chicago doesn’t actually increase his take-home pay by an appreciable amount (although it extends him four additional years of security, I’m thinking he wouldn’t have had trouble finding that from any number of teams).

So, if it isn’t the money, why is Epstein jumping ship from his hometown team to come to the war zone that is the Chicago Cubs’ front office? Dave Kaplan says, aside from the professional challenge, it’s primarily because of team Chairman and Owner, Tom Ricketts.

Sources tell us that Ricketts laid out his plan to Epstein and offered him near total authority on baseball decisions with no one to answer to other than the Ricketts family themselves. Epstein has no interest in running the business side of the organization and Ricketts organizational structure is set up to separate both the baseball and the business sides leaving Epstein to concentrate on fixing an organization that needs a new philosophy and must change the culture in the major league clubhouse.

Ricketts outlined his plan to build through the farm system while also spending wisely on the acquisition of veteran stars who can make an immediate impact on the Cubs. In fact, sources tell us that Ricketts is not opposed to spending big money on a star player, but for him to sign a mega contract the player must fit long-term with the organization. The acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez by the Red Sox is the type of player and commitment that Ricketts is willing to take on with the Cubs. He looks at Gonzalez as a star player, in the prime of his career and a player who is solid both offensively and defensively in addition to being a person of impeccable character. When opportunities like that come along he wants his Cubs to be in a position to make a move for a superstar. It was that willingness to spend when it makes sense in addition to the increased power and salary that will come with his contract that sold Epstein on Ricketts vision for the organization.

Taken together, Kaplan says, Epstein was “blown away” by Ricketts and his plans for the Cubs.

I think too few recognize and appreciate the long view Ricketts has taken to ownership of a scuffling franchise like the Cubs. From the improved Spring Training facilities, to the renovations at and around Wrigley Field, to the upcoming Dominican academy, to the spending on international and draft prospects, to the long-term plan for television revenues, Ricketts has demonstrated that he sees steady, long-range success for the Cubs’ organization as the model that will take it to the promised land. It’s easy to see why Epstein would be attracted to that.

And, given that philosophy, it’s easy to see why Ricketts would be likewise attracted to Epstein.

I’m not too proud – or too afraid of the obvious jokes – to say that I’m crazy attracted to both of them right now.

(Reminder: get the latest on the Cubs’ offseason moves – including a certain upcoming managerial search – by “liking” Bleacher Nation on Facebook and following it on Twitter.)

  • Josh

    Theo brings one thing to this organization that we’ve been lacking…World Series Attitude!
    He knows what it takes, it takes an attitude overhaul. Ditch the lovable losers montra and attitude and get with the World Series Attitude. THEN this team, our team, will hoist the World Series trophy!
    Go Cubs Go!

  • Matt

    Again, where do you get these pictures.  I can’t tell if that is Theo as portrayed in some 1980′s teen movie or Theo Epstein trying to look like the late Steve Jobs???

  • hansman1982

    Its ok Brett, I have a serious man-crush on the Cubs FO right now…amazing that in 3 months we went from a joke to top tier…WHATS UP NOW RICKETTS HATERZ

  • BlueCatuli

    Total bromance!

  • johnnyqb

    A good case has been presented today for RIcketts as the wise owner with the long-term view. He also, according to the Kaplan article, is a guy who wants to make his own decisions, not based on pre-conceptions or the attitiudes of others (e.g. media, fans). Both of these should be really good traits in an owner. As the Ricketts era gets going, we are seeing a major ripening of fruit in this Epstein coup. Hopefully, the good mojo we are feeling will continue into the managerial search.

  • Todd

    I replied to your tweet earlier saying that I was more excited about the Nomar trade than the possibility of landing Epstein as G.M. but I’m definitely waffling now and here’s my reasoning: When the Cubs acquired Nomar it was exciting because the team was coming off the strong playoff push from ’03 and Nomar seemed the perfect fit to help get us over the hump. The Epstein hire is much needed jolt in the franchise.

    As you pointed out, we can really see Ricketts’ organizational vision unfolding now and the future looks very bright, indeed. I just hope that the majority of Cubs fans understand that the Ricketts/Epstein plan does not mean throw enormous amounts of money at the Cubs’ problems. From what I’ve read, it more than likely means doing this thing right and because of that, I’m more excited than ever about the possibilities of the Cubs organization.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Indeed. Fans will need to remain patient, because 2012 – even if done perfectly – is likely to be another crappy year on the ML level.

      • Toosh

        With the Cubs’ revenues and payroll, winning the NL Central every season and the World Series at least once in Epstein’s first 5 years are not unreasonable expectations.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Nope, not unreasonable (starting in 2013, at least).

  • Bails17

    What is good about this match is that they are both going to be very “process” oriented in their day to day activities as well as how the organization is run as a whole.  You have a much better chance of winning it all if you start from the ground up and build.  Then…when all or most of the pieces are in place…you are able to make a few moves here and there that will put you in the best position possible to make a run at the damn thing not just for one year…but for multiple years.  That is exactly why Theo was and is the perfect person for this job.  I just spooged myself!!!!

    Let’s all raise our glasses in the air for a HUGE move in the right direction for the Cubs baby!!  I will most definitely drink to that!!!!

    • Fishin Phil

      Amen Brother!  When I get home, I’m gonna pour a big old tumbler of Scotch and toast our new front office!

      • Bails17

        It’s gonna be beer for me!  And several of them tonight!!!  Go Cubs!!

      • JulioZuleta

        Water for me please. It is the first day of my life that thinking about the front office hasn’t made me need a drink. I am 23, but the emotional wear and tear of being a Cub fan makes me feel in my late 40s.

        • Fishin Phil

          Imagine how old us folks that are actually in their late 40s feel.  I look just like my avatar!

          • Wilbur

            I look like your avatar …

  • Cubbies4Life

    It is SO nice to feel good about the Cubbies’ future! That optimism has been sorely lacking for several (many?) years. I’m going to remind myself not to get pissy if/when some of my favorite players are asked to move on. Not even Tom Ricketts can please all of the fans all of the time. But – we are off to a great and exciting start! GO CUBS!!!!

  • John

    I remember being excited about the Nomar trade, but since I was working at Wrigley in 2008, I was actually more excited when the Cubs traded for Rich Harden. But Theo trumps all.

  • Jim

    Brett I’m fairly sure you were the first one to get on the Ricketts’ bandwagon. Looks like ol Theo is the newest member…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m a fast judge of character.

      That’s why I’ve never liked you…

      • Jim

        Man, I sure hope that’s a quote from something.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          No, but it was a total joke.

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

            Such a turdy douche today aren’t you, I think you need to take a good shower… To get the sand out

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Once this begins it will be interesting to see what happens between now and December. Probably the first move will be to hire a manager. Then, comes the shedding of veterans. Ramirez and Byrd may be the first to go; then Soriano. Pena is a question mark. I hope that Fielder isn’t pursued and that LaHair is given a chance to make it at first. He could be the inbetween person until one of the first basemen steps in.

    • Todd

      It should definitely be an interesting winter but I wouldn’t expect a total dump of all veteran players.

  • hardtop

    tom’s mancrush on theo must be epic… 20 mil over 5 years is a deal Cashman couldn’t even put together. im really excited, but im also worried, we’ll see…. we have a long way to go still, cubfans: the gm/pres. is one part of a big puzzle with lots of missing pieces.

    • hansman1982

      its actually 15 over 5 and the Cubs are paying his $3.5 million “exit fee” that Boston was going to pay him rather than send a prospect.

      • hardtop

        yeah, i’ve read both. 18.5 and close to 20 million. 1.5 million doesn’t really change the fact that its shit tons of money and that doesn’t include the compensation due to Boston… pretty spendy deal. Im not saying its bad deal, just spendy. if i had ricketts money i probably would spend it similarly.

  • SweetJamesJones

    “I’m not too proud – or too afraid of the obvious jokes – to say that I’m crazy attracted to both of them right now.”

     

    Getting gay with Ricketts and Epstein…

    …not that there is anything wrong with that. (Seinfeld)

    • hardtop

      …dork sandwich…

  • jstraw

    What, no utterly priceless die hard post yet?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Eh, there were a couple of “Red Sox should send the Cubs a top prospect just to take Epstein” type joints earlier. Some may have been lost in the shuffle – which is a shame.

    • JulioZuleta

      He was here earlier, I wonder what CubFan Paul does on a day like this, a day where negativity is almost impossible to create.

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

      I did call die hard the Grinch that Stole this Christmas couple of post below

  • EQ76

    there’s no reason not to win if you can wisely spend with a payroll of $130 mil or more each year.   I expect them to do whatever they can to make this team a perennial winner.. Bash Boston all you want about collapse or years they missed the playoffs under Epstein, they still won 90 games last year and never were under or near to being under .500 under his GM-ing.

    • Wilbur

      They not only won 90, they did in the AL East.

      Consistently field teams with that much talent in the NL Central and you’ll make the lottery every year. From that point it’s play up to your skill level and pray for a little good luck for you or bad luck for the other guy.

  • Serio
  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Brett what did we have to give up to get Theo?

    • TWC

      Aramis Ramirez!

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Ha. No final decision has been made, Ramy. Probably cash, maybe a prospect or two.

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

        We are the same mind

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

      Didn’t you hear, ARam is now a Red Sox…

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

    So I’m eating sushi for lunch… A Boston Roll, seemed fitting

    • TWC

      Sushi?  In Michigan?  Like, lake perch sashimi?  Come on.  You really just rolled up some Uncle Ben’s rice in a fallen oak leaf, dindn’tcha?

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

        So you’ve had Michigan Sushi have ya, its aboot as goot as it gets eh

        • Laura

          Take off! :)

  • die hard

    did Rahm demand that Mr. Ricketts target Theo because Rahm and Theo are friends and can work better together on financial issues?…if true then Theo may not have been Mr. Ricketts’ first choice….if true, then this is a powder keg

    • TWC

      Dude, if you’re gonna troll around here, you’re gonna need to make at least a little sense, mkay?

      • Fishin Phil

        Did someone say troll??

         

  • DRock

    I have tears in my eyes as I read about this beautiful story…at least we have something to get excited about in October for once!

  • Lee Elias

    You’re still a bunch of jobless f***s!!!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Haha.

  • Matt

    Assuming that we are going to be welcoming Theo to Wrigleyville, what is the time table for a new manager?  Let’s assume that the Theo issue is wrapped up by the end of the week, how long until we should expect a manager to be announced?  I would assume that this will need to be taken care of before the market opens up to move players.   I would imagine we would have troubles luring people to a team that doesn’t know how the dugout leader will be.

    Speaking of manager, has there been any reports of people talking to Ryno, or is everything we read about him just rumor mongering?

    • Jason

      If Epstein truly is targeting Ryno, I’d say it could happen pretty quickly. If he’s still not sure, then I don’t have an answer but I’d guess that it will be more than a few weeks.

  • Vinestal

    George Ofman cited several sources “close to the situation” saying Sandberg is not on Theo’s short list. This was via twitter earlier today. This just confirms Theo’s brilliance.

  • cdc

    i sure hope Theo is targeting Ryno! i mean seriously what does he have to do to get the cubs job…mike sciosia, robin ventura, donnie ballgame, ozzie, bruce bochy, joe girardi, francona, etc…the list goes on and on of former players who have had success in the dugout. And to me Ryno seems like a no nonsense kind of guy that this franchise needs at the helm daily.
    Clearly the boston writer is well informed when talking about Theo trying to hire sandberg last year to manage pawtucket as a possible long term replacement for francona. I also have liked what i’ve heard from Brenly lately and would have no problem embracing him as new manager either. Francona…cool with that too. Outside of those three and Girardi, who could else could it possibly be?

    • Toosh

      DeMarlo Hale.

      • Matt

        Are we going to be able to lull him away from the Red Sox opening?

        • Toosh

          Cherington’s been looking at candidates since Francona quit. Hale’s not at the top of Boston’s list.

    • BlueCatuli

      Dave Martinez. Don’t be shocked if it’s him. I’m sure Theo (Since he is one of us now I feel I can refer to him by his first name) was considering him for the Red Sox vacancy. I’ve never been so excited about a team that was going to be awful next season.

      Brett, I to share your bromance.

  • Matt

    I like Ryno, for subjective and objective reasons.   He is of course, a sentimental favorite of many Cubs fans.   But being in Des Moines, I have also seen first hand what he can do for a team.   Couple that with he performance and turn around of the program he managed last year, and one would think that he has the skills.  He would definately have the respect of the players as they take the field and see his name on the flag in the bleachers.   I think Theo could buy himself alot of leverage and patience from theCub nation by bringing in Ryno.   Maybe this is why we need Theo so badly…he will take the subjective memories out of the situation and take the manager with the best statistical advantage.

  • TSB

    Usually a new GM will bring in his buddies from his former organization, for better or worse; thus looks bad for Ryno.

    • CasualCubsFan (hansman1982)

      I HIGHLY doubt that Epstein brings in Francona and/or Francona wants to come in to Chicago

  • Nomar’s Left Glove

    I only bring this up because it’s kind of funny, but how do you think Hendry feels right about now? It’s kind of like finding out that you ex-girlfriend is dating Brad Pitt or something.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I hated it when it happened to me.

      • Nomar’s Left Glove

        Word, homes

    • Toosh

      He can fall back on the fact that he’s the nicest guy anyone’s ever met and also the greatest judge of baseball talent the world has ever seen.

      • Nomar’s Left Glove

        You know, I like to keep a totally inacurate and absurdly optimistic opinion of myself. Because of that, when my girlfriend left me for Brad Pitt I knew that I should have wasted my time on woman with such low self-esteem as to waste her time with Brad.

        • Nomar’s Left Glove

          Shouldn’t

  • Vinestal

    people really do not know what they would be getting with Sandberg as manager. Think Dusty Baker here guys. most Cub fans want him because they think of the type of player he was, which is great and all but as a manager he’s brutal. he’s a huge proponent of “small ball”. hunting with his middle of the order hitters, hit and runs in bad situations. “aggressive base running” which lead to wasted base runners. He’s an ok minor league manager but would make a poor major league one. Teaching fundamentals to young players is probably where he belongs. I don’t think Theo really considered him a major league choice, writers just made that stretch because it makes for an entertaining article now.

  • Vinestal

    Not sure how bunting became hunting but it won’t let me edit.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      (If you’re registered and signed in, you can edit.)

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Unconfirmed rumor floating around – again, UNconfirmed RUMOR – that the compensation is Jay Jackson and cash. This is from a guy who’s pretty tapped into the Cubs’ minor league system, so he might be in a position to know.

    Obviously this would be fine, though it would kind of suck to lose Jackson, given the lack of starting pitching depth on the Cubs. Jackson had a considerably down year, but many still like his future.

    • Toosh

      I wouldn’t give them anyone above the AA level or younger than 23.

    • Jason

      Eh – I’m not going to miss a fly ball pitcher who doesn’t strike anyone out.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        He struck out tons of guys until 2010 – then fell off a cliff at AAA.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          To be fair, he got a late start this season due to (if memory serves) elbow tendinitis. After a rough beginning to the year he turned in several good starts late in the season. His August line in particular ( 2.87 ERA, .268 OBA, 3.00 GO/AO in 6 starts) still shows plenty of promise. He needs a good 2012 though, no question about that.

          • Jason

            Re-checked his splits and it does look like he fared better in the 2nd half. GB rate much better and 2.5 K/BB but still only 6.6 K/9 as a 23 year old in AAA. We’re not talking about a TOR arm here. Maybe a #4 or #5 – then again, as Brett said, it’s not like we have a plethora of big leagues arms anywhere right now.

            But to get what we got for him, I’d trade him 100 times over

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              To add to the discussion, IIRC, his second half ERA, though high, would have been top 5/10 in the PCL. But, the dramatic strikeout drop-off the last two years is a big concern – obviously strikeouts are not “necessary,” but the drop-off suggests his “stuff” faded against better competition.

              • Jason

                Who looks at ERA? :)

                Looked at some quick comps on fangraphs from 2009-2011. If he can carry his last 3 months of 2011 forward, he seems to compare most favorably to Niemann, Lackey and Cueto over that time. FIPs ranged from 4.05 – 4.30. Certainly serviceable numbers.

Bleacher Nation Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Bleacher Nation is a private media site, and it is not affiliated in any way with Major League Baseball or the Chicago Cubs. Neither MLB nor the Chicago Cubs have endorsed, supported, directed, or participated in the creation of the content at this site, or in the creation of the site itself. It's just a media site that happens to cover the Chicago Cubs.

Bleacher Nation is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Google+