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.)

  • Cliffy

    “@miCubs: UNCONFIRMED SOURCE: #RedSox compensation from #Cubs for Epstein could be Minor League RHP Jay Jackson, according to miCubs’ @TuxedoTom”

    • Brett

      Thanks, Cliffy.

    • Luke

      That would make a lot of sense. Jackson is a good enough of a pitching prospect that his loss would hurt the Cubs, who are thin on starting pitching in the very upper minors. He’s not one of the top prospects, though, so the Cubs would likely be able to part with him. I believe he is eligible to be claimed in the Rule 5 draft if not protected on the 40 man roster, so it isn’t impossible that the Cubs would have lost him before the end of the year anyway.

      Jackson has been passed over a couple of times when the Cubs were promoting pitchers to the majors. He might welcome a change of organization. He still projects as a back of the rotation starter, possibly a number three guy in the right situation. He may wind up starting his career in the bullpen though.

  • Vinestal

    They would have had to add him to the 40 man roster here soon if they wanted to keep him I believe. Speaking of Jay Jackson that is.

  • Curt

    I realize it’s not my money but theo should have 3 things to do right away 1)hire a good manager 2) get zambrano out of town 3) if he’s a miracle worker get soriano out of here too addition by subtraction. Just a wish list

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Sources say Ryno to manage Cubs! Quade the cluessless is out!!!
    Cub fans rejoice… I feel bad about all the negatives I said about Ricketts..
    This truly makes Cubs fans feel alot better…

  • roland

    Do not forget signing Fielder and Pujols(3rd base) and trading for King Felix. If he is going to pull off miracles like trading soriano. He better be able to do those things also.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    A source with knowledge of the talks told ESPN’s Karl Ravech Tuesday that the compensation would involve prospects and/or cash, but no major league players would be part of the deal, following traditional precedent…..the reason why Ian asking is because it was known to the Cubs that the Red Sox wanted Starlin Castro and Money! So if we give up some prospects I am ok with that… Plus Theo knows what he has in the Red Sox organization as far as prospects go…I keep hearing it’s going to Ryne Sandburg instead of Francona as Mngr

    • hansman1982

      I think the Starlin Castro/Garza talk was just mindless dribble from the Boston media

  • Ian Afterbirth

    Ah crap – now I gotta get a satellite dish.
    Do you have any idea what this improvement in the FO is going to cost ME????

  • Cliffy

    OzzieGuillen we in Jerena in Sevilla yesterday awesome place dont worry im coming back to chicago soon. some suprise for you guys

    Is he hinting about a trade for Zambrano?

    • Brett

      Hmm. You can never tell with Ozzie (like, literally – you can never tell). But that’s kind of interesting.

  • juliozuleta

    Ahhh sevilla, greatest city in the world

  • philoe beddoe

    Maybe I am late to the party on this one, and I respect Peter Gammons(like I respect all of my elders) but I read something that said he thought Brett Jackson was going to be the prospect….not bloody likely!

    Jay Jackson sounds about right…and that might be too much considering the deal is DONE and the Red Sox really have no leverage….




    • Toosh

      Put it in the Commissioner’s hands. Never mind, bad idea.

  • die hard

    so its a done deal…..well if so then condolences to us fans…cause putting future of team in hands of someone who let his team piss away the playoffs this year….Id say Boston was praying for someone to take them off the hook of the last year of Theo’s contract….if they were so enamored with him then why not a 3 yr extension at the All-Star break?…point is, we are now getting someone else’s problem child but we wont know what the problems are until too late…..been following the Cubs for over 1/2 century and have not been this pissed off since Lou Brock was traded…by a GM whom all thought was a genius….we couldve done better…too bad

    • Dave

      One month cancels out 2 World Series?

    • MichiganGoat

      And us fans get to continue to read your poorly written and punctuated messages. Yeah us!

    • TWC

      Wait, why didn’t Boston give him 3 year extension?  I thought you said that anything over 1 year was foolishness.

      Anyway, you claim to not have been this pissed off in ages, but I think more than a few of us remember your storming outta here in a fit over the Series She-View… you were livid!  I can;t believe some of those names you called Ace.  I think there were some gratuitous insults in MG’s direction, too.  It was messy.

      • MichiganGoat

        I recall the term “p*ssy pandering” I think maybe die hard has been recast

    • Ben

      Die Hard every time i see one of your comments, i simply skip over it because life is too short to be wasting time reading pure stupidity.

  • http://Bleachernation Ramy16

    Jay Jackson … I hope so… Brett Jackson NO!!! Please No… Marlon Byrd might get his bags and start packing… I know Theo Loves Kevin Youkilis… He could be in a Cubs uniform if Aramis decides to leave? Boston I heard is willing to make a deal to get rid of him… So let’s see?

  • hansman1982

    Speaking of poorly written, you should never begin a sentence with “and”.

    I guess there have to be some people who are never happy…hell I don’t even know if they would be happy with a Cubs WS – nothing to bitch about then.

    • Dave

      And your point is?

    • MichiganGoat

      But there is a strong agreement among writers that starting a conjunction is perfectly acceptable and actually can make writing clearer and more compact.“and”-and-“but”/

      • Dave

        Well that was a short and informative article.

        • MichiganGoat

          Tip of my drunken hat to you sir, that should become the official BN compliment

          • Joe Cartwright

            Writing coherently while drunk, that should be an officially BN skill.

            • MichiganGoat

              We all have our talents.

            • JulioZuleta

              That’s actually the second thing I have listed under “Special Talents” on my resume. Only very lucky individuals find out what the first thing is.

            • Brett

              I like to think I’ve led folks in that direction.

    • Brett

      Actually, that’s no longer considered grammatical canon. It’s a matter of style, and, you’ll note that this site frequently begins sentences with conjunctions, done so for effect.

  • Montelle

    “been following the Cubs for over 1/2 century and have not been this pissed off since Lou Brock was traded” – Really? Let’s go through a list of things that piss me off over the last few years…..1. Soriano $136 Million contract to watch him do his pretty hop whine that he can’t bat unless it’s leadoff! – and don’t get me started on how he’d not run to first cause he thought he had home runs….turning potential triples into singles! 2.Milton Flippin Bradley! 3. Zambrano’s 90 million dollars worth of temper tantrums! Remember 07 and 08 getting swept back to back in the NLDS??? That wasn’t no better to watch in my eyes. Remember 03 and how some of us are still blaming bartman because we couldn’t win Game 7 after what happened in game 6???

    Fact is – we have a chance with Theo! 2 World Series Wins….Not bad for a kid his age at his first baseball job. So they collapsed this season……Given his record of accomplishment, Boston has gone a lot further than we have. I’m willing as a “Die hard” fan to at least give him his shot to end our “Curse” too.

    ‘Nuff Said.

  • philoe beddoe




    • Joe Cartwright

      Didn’t that happen a while ago? Or something similar? Oh, that’s right he said it to the media because he didn’t know who to talk to…. Well, obviously he reads BN because now he knows who to talk to!

    • Hogie


      That is my favorite comment of the day. Well done sir.

  • Mike

    Wow to the Cubs landing Theo. Reading the article from 2009 discussing Theo’s strategy, I’m going to make a guess Pujols will be out as a free agent acquisition, which is a good thing. First priority is dumping Z and Soriano.

    I know the Cubs need pitching but I’d take the contrarion approach for 2012. I’d explore the option of getting Fielder for 6 years/22 million as he is only 27. CJ Wilson scares me as this is only his second decent year and he’s never been considered an ace. I don’t know if he could handle the pressure of a big contract in a big market and don’t know if he would be a good long term investment. With good starting pitching looked at as a premium, why not see what Garza would get in return. If you good get two close to major league ready SPs for him like Banuelos and Betances from New York I’d take a look. The offseason before 2013 is the big free agent year for the Cubs. You have Kemp(27), Either(29), and Hamilton(30) as Free Agent options. I think Either or Hamilton could be moved to 1B if the Cubs can’t get Fielder. You a lot of good SP that could become available with Cain, Greinke and Hamels the front line names but A Sanchez, J Sanchez, Danks and Marcum good secondary options. If the Cubs held back their money for the likes of making a run at Cain and Hamels and then were able to fill in spots 3-5 with a Wells internal development from the likes of McNutt, Cashner or pitchers picked up in Garza trade. Signing a bunch of big name free agents in 2013 will be difficult, but if Fielder is the only big 2012 acquisition they’ll have roughly $70-80 million to allocate to two SP and a power hitting OF and some fill in pieces if the budget remains unchanged from this year. This is also including the Cubs eating $12-$13 million for Sorianco in 2013 and 2014.

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Rather than Fielder, I’d try to put money toward pitching.

    • JulioZuleta

      It’s very possible that Prince will go to the AL and DH like his father. Two guys named Fielder and neither of them a fielder? Irony

  • LouCub

    Did anyone else here listen to that little troll Tim Kurkjian today on ESPN??? He was going on about how the Cubs system was good till they traded everyone to Tampa for Garza and now he called them “middle of the pack”..he went on to say how behind the Cubs organization is..really assmunch??? That loser is gonna eat crow when they’re competing in 2013

    • Joe Cartwright

      Nobody actually gives a shit about what people from ESPN say. They’re all really biased. But, yeah lots of people will eat crow when the cubs are competing.

  • Cliffy

    WEEI this morning is saying there is trouble with the compensation issue. They say have not yet talked about compensation, that will be today.

  • Cliffy

    WEEI also saying that Cubs are not likely to bring others with him. They say the real negotions will be today, Boston will be taking hard line stance and want something of value. They reviewed what the Marlins gave up for Ozzie as an example. Nobody spoke of the fact Marlins likely tampered talking with Ozzie and that the compensation was kind of a payoff not to bring that issue to light.

    • Brett

      I didn’t hear it this morning, but they probably also talked about the two prospects as “top ten” prospects – which they were, before the season. But they both had put together disappointing years.

    • RoughRiider

      I’ve been surprised that a tampering charge hasn’t been brought up with Ozzie talking with Zambrano about playing for the Marlins even though the Cubs would gladly send Zambrano packing.

  • Cliffy

    I hope the cubs just a rollover. It isn’t like the cubs don’t have any leverage. Would the red sox really like to have Theo as a lame duck general manager. At end of the year he could bring all the people that he wanted With him to chicago for 2013.

    • Ron

      I agree and think the cubs should take a stand. There is no way the cubs should give up that much for him. I sure hope TR has a backup plan because this seems too good to be true. Also it is interesting watching the reaction of Boston fans, first, after the collapse they were trying to run him out of town, now that it looks like he is leaving, probably partly because of them, they are asking for the moon.

  • Mike

    Boston is window dressing. Peter Abraham has a lot of excellent coverage at the Globe and while they can ask for whatever they want, I don’t buy the WEEI report. It’s the Red Sox organ. He’s going to get some trash thrown as Bostob tries to cast themselves in the best light. The truth always less complicated the rumors. Ricketts offered Theo a more direct chain of command, a fresh challenge and a community longing for him. Boston offered Warner and Lucchino looking over one shoulder and likely Cherrington to a lesser degree possibly over the other. Lots of spilt milk here.

    Boston gave permission. So if it goes to the Commissioner, he’s not going to want to set the precedent of big compensation and players for a GM getting a promotion. Won’t happen. That’s not to say, some of you won’t be upset if they give someone up, but I firmly believe Boston is trying to milk talent and dollars in order to avoid a drain of the front office and if the Cubs do give up more than say Jay Jackson which is too much in this situation given all the facts, then the Cubs will be taking front office people. People continue to fall into the trap equating this to Ozzie. The Marlins tampered, that makes all the difference. Uncle Bud isn’t going to want to set the precedent of breaking the bank for the owners club on this, so if Boston goes overboard, and is ridiculous, it will blow up on them. This is saber rattling on theTeam station to appease their fan base. And if the Cubs take it the commissioner, they can claim they tried.

  • 1CubFanInPA

    Everything that I’m seeing, hearing and reading indicates that Tom Ricketts has a solid vision and plan and has this team pointing in the right direction now. Time will tell if the hiring of Epstein was the right decision, but even if it is proven wrong down the road nobody could fault Ricketts for taking the time and making this hiring. He and his siblings have shown since taking over ownership of the club that they are truly vested in turning this franchise into a sustainable winner. It truly is the dawn of a whole new era for the Cubs and the fans. I’ve got a tingling feeling running up and down my leg over all that has transpired lately. And I’m not ashamed to admit that I think I’m developing a ‘man crush’ on both Ricketts and Epstein right now (LOL).

  • Cliffy

    Well stated Mike, lets see what kind of poker player Rickets is. I think we know if Jim He dry were negotiating this somehow we would get raped on compensation. Time is on our side not theirs.

  • Cliffy

    Also isn’t it interesting the Chicago print media is nowhere on this story. All the info has come out of Boston. Blogs like this have provided far more information. Tom Share now on WEEI saying same thing cubs will not roll over for big compensation.