As is always the case with rumors, this comes with the necessary rumor mongering caveats. This comes from a source I trust – one who is in a position to know these things – and is his best estimation of how things are shaking out. I know how anonymous sources are regarded, of course, so I would encourage you to raise a suspicious eye as you find it necessary.


A non-Cubs front office source tells me that, in addition to the Boston Globe’s report that compensation talks between the Red Sox and Cubs were proceeding in a “civil” and “business-like” manner, the talks actually advanced considerably late yesterday. Indeed, they advanced to the point where things look good for an early week announcement, before the Wednesday start of the World Series. The source doesn’t have a perfect read on what the compensation will be (few do), but the names he’s been hearing are Matt Szczur, Jay Jackson, and Ryan Flaherty. The source cautions that it’s not likely the Cubs would send all three, and he’s not sure whether that would mean additional employees would be coming over from the Red Sox.

Moreover, it looks like Josh Byrnes, currently the VP of Baseball Operations with the Padres, will be joining Epstein in the Cubs’ front office. We’ve heard rumors to that effect for a few days now, but this source says it’s going to happen. “It looks like everything is going to fall into place,” were his exact words.

If accurate, Epstein and Byrnes would be the foundations of a truly impressive front office, one markedly different from the Cubs’ brass over the last 10+ years. Oh, and I would do a happy dance.

Either way, and as I’ve said since the beginning of these discussions, it remains highly unlikely that the compensation issue will derail Epstein coming to the Cubs. Instead, the compensation issue has likely been an overblown flash point for the Boston media to flap its collective gums.

But if the drama served as a vehicle by which the Cubs were able to pull in someone like Byrnes to join Epstein? Sign me up for drama.

  • ramin

    I would rather keep szczur than flaherty, but if all 3 go I would b okay with it cause the cubs have very good lower minor prospects

  • ry

    absolutely awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Joe

    First, wanted to say thanks for keeping up such an amazing site. After depending on or espn for a long time, I feel kinda spoiled with this site. Hope szczur isn’t included, but Epstein and Byrnes sound pretty amazing going forward. Can’t wait til this is a done deal.

  • jeff

    Keep szczcur and flaherty. Send jackson and a 1b/of type like ridling. If we are going after pujols/fielder then we don’t need a guy like ridling anymore. Flaherty is a valuable commodity being left handed and playing multiple positions.

  • RoughRiider

    NOOOOOOO !!!! to sending Szczur. It’s very rare that you get talent and character in a prospect. I like Flaherty and Jackson but wouldn’t be too upset to see them go.

  • JP

    Matt Sczur would sting but…. nothing is free. Zeke Devoss looks like he could be in line for a promotion to high A ball sooner than expected. On that note he should give some pointers to the big league club on how to take a walk.

  • jeff

    And is byrnes under contract w/ anyone?

  • die hard

    lets see if Theo the Messiah can work magic….give us Crawford for Soriano

    • MichiganGoat

      Free Cookies can be found at any other site

      • Joe Cartwright

        Where’d TWC go?

        • MichiganGoat

          He’s got a Occupy TWC going on in his backyard… He’s been posting pics on Twitter

  • Pretzel Tim

    Szczur must stay…….Jay Jackson, Flaherty and Jeff Baker…….and then never speak to the Red Sox again

  • Brett

    As to the prospect piece, I want to re-emphasize: these are just names floating around. I suspect there will be a low-level, sleeper-type included, so I’m not sure these are THE guys.

    Personally, I would also be surprised if the Cubs gave up Szczur.

  • Vinestal

    Losing Szczur would suck, the guy has a ton of potential, the other 2 names I can do without. Thanks for the update as always Brett its good to hear some positive news.

  • Vinestal

    Byrnes is working for the Padres right now, Im not sure his contract status.

  • auggie1955

    Losing Szczur would hurt. I kind of expected this to be wrapped just before the World Series since Selig doesn’t allow anything to be going on while the WS is being played.

  • Jeff

    If it’s Flaherty and Jackson, I’d do the happy dance.  I like Szczur, but there are other center fielders in the system, and he’s got a Corey Patterson/Felix Pie feel about him, so it would be acceptable to me if he had to go.  I still think it’s ridiculous that they are asking for so much in exchange for a guy leaving for a promotion.  I hope that they get the wrath of Selig for this one, though Henry is Selig’s hand picked owner for the Red Sox, so I doubt anything comes of it.

  • Luke

    Flaherty and Jackson would be steep, but fair. Szczur is too high. Some minor league analysts have Szczur higher rated than Brett Jackson, and it is tough to argue against that thinking. Jackson looks like he will be a good, everyday outfielder for a long time. Szczur ceiling could well be higher than that.

    Flaherty leaving the system would mean (1) LeMahieu is in the driver seat at third base and (2) DeWitt is probably safe as the defensively versatile lefty bat off the bench. Unless Flaherty or DeWitt got the everyday job at second or third (or maybe in left) it was hard to see how both of those guys would work on the same bench. Flaherty has more power and DeWitt probably plays better defense, but other than that they are pretty similar.

    I still think Boston should be targeting Rebel Ridling. That guys bat could do very well in Fenway.

  • CubsFanatic

    I wouldn’t give up Matt Szczur. And I really hate the idea of giving up another pitching prospect period unless they are ganna go hard at it in FA and get some great ones.

  • funkster

    I’d prefer Szczur not go, but I’m not going to lose any sleep if he’s part of the deal. Though I have a feeling if he does end up part of the deal there will be people out there complaining about it for the next year and a half. That in itself makes me hope he’s not part of it. A front office with Epstein AND Byrnes is an exciting prospect.

  • Alex

    I’m not too thrilled about Szczur going. If he does, the Cubs shouldn’t send any more prospects as part of the deal.

    Flaherty and Jackson going is much more palatable.

  • funkster

    Ace, have you heard anything about Bill James? My guess is he’s not going to be allowed to come with…which sucks. Would love to have him.

    • Brett

      Nothing. I’m not sure he’d want to leave Boston – he’s got a pretty cushy, limited, specialized role, IIRC. Kind of like Maddux had.

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Even if we lost all three, I’d be okay with it. There are other players in the pipeline so it wouldn’t be too bad. The important thing is to get the front office in place that can deal with Aram, Soriano, and other major league issues. After the world series I would expect several moves on Theo’s part.

  • funkster

    I get that people are high Szczur, but prospects are never a guarantee to pan out. What we have the opportunity to do right now is completely modernize and change the culture of this team. What are a few prospects when you have a chance to turn the Cubs into consistent playoff contenders?

  • T Wags

    I think Jay Jackson and Evan Crawford would be fair at totally reasonable. Flaherty and Szczur are gonna be huge players in turning this team around. It would sting to lose either of them

  • Jim

    One thing about Szczur is that the Cubs paid a lot of money to him to give up football and continuing at Villanova – that in itself should say something about how highly regarded he is. Yes, prospects are never a guarantee but that is no reason to give up on your high upside guys.

  • bacboris

    At least a few sites (Neal at Cubsonline) and a couple of guys at cubsstats, threw out that it appears likely its Jay Jackson and Junior Lake for Theo to come over with 2 staff. If that’s the deal, I don’t think anyone could complain.

    I’m sure we’d also be throwing in some money but that’s a small price to pay to be done with a trade conversation involving the AL East. Maybe with MacFail out of Baltimore, there will be one team in that division that’s not an absolute nightmare to deal with it.

    • Brett

      That would be great – but are they just guessing? I saw Neil’s comment “Jay Jackson and a midlevel shortstop like Junior Lake.” It would be unfortunately to lose Lake, but yeah, no one would complain.

  • Windy City Misfit

    Nooo… I have a Matt Szczur signed baseball already. First baseball I had signed over in Peoria. Maybe I can have Theo sign the other side I guess. 😛

    Dinky lil kid anyway.

  • LouCub

    Jay Jackson and Junior Lake woulld be fine by me, lets get it done NOW!!!!

  • Miguel Ramirez

    I wonder how much money the cubs have invested in Szczur, Jackson and Lake? I would think Szczur’s signing bonus was worth more than Jackson’s, Lake’s and Flaherty’s combined.

    btw I got the avitar to work!

    • Brett

      Szczur cost the Cubs a cool $1.5 million. I don’t recall Flaherty being a hugely overslot guy, but he was a supplemental first rounder, so he probably got somewhere between $500k and $1 million. Lake was an overslot kid – I want to say he got something in the range of $400k, but I’m straining to remember.

  • Sayueri

    Oh, Come on. I’m ready to start drinking and dancing already. I want an announcement asap. Epstein and Byrnes FTW!

    • CasualCubsFan

      My guess is deal done tomorrow and announced on Tuesday. Jay Jackson and Junior Lake (or similar) going for theo and the two guys he wants come with, boom goes the dynamite we have an average front office…

  • 1908Blues

    Flaherty is from here in Portland, ME. Played ball 2 blocks away. The Sea Dogs and Portland would go crazy if that happened. Assuming he starts in AA. Wonder if the Sox are targeting him to try to get some positive, no matter how limited it would be, PR out of this.

  • http://Bleachernation Bric

    I’m all about sending Samardjia, not Szczur. The Cubs are only allowed one spellchecking nightmare of a last name at a time and Ceasar is way too cool of a last name when it’s pronounced. Samardjia’s just a nightmare no matter which way you look at him.