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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.

But.

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.

  • Jason

    I’ll echo the general sentiments on here and say that I also don’t want Sczcur to be part of the deal. We shouldn’t have to give him up as compensation. Flaherty or J Jackson would be acceptable. Flaherty didn’t show a lot in his short stint as a 25 yr old in AAA although he’s historically struggled when advancing a level.

  • Ced landrum

    Lake was signed out of the Dominican so he wouldn’t have been slotted

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      No wonder I couldn’t remember. My bust, and thanks, Ced.

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    Moving Junior Lake would help clear out the middle infield logjam that is darn near system wide in the Cubs organization. With Logan Watkins right behind him and the strong season Marwin Gonzalez had, losing Lake wouldn’t be too bad. He’d have to be added to the roster and protected in the Rule 5 draft anyway. The downside is that Lake would have been one of the Cubs best trading chips going into the winter. Letting him go could make deals this off season a little tougher to complete.

    He’s still pretty raw, though. I’d think the Red Sox, given their horrific finish, would be looking for someone who could help them in the more immediate future. Flaherty fits that description, along with the aforementioned Gonzalez.

    • JulioZuleta

      Gonzalez is a non-prospect. After the season he had last year, I’d hate to give up Lake. I’d give Flaherty for free though.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        I thought the same thing on Gonzalez until he made it to Iowa at the age of 22 and had some success there. He’s no Future Hall of Famer by any means, but at this stage I’d not be surprised if he emerges as another Ryan Theriot / Darwin Barney type player… especially considering he’s a switch hitter.

        He does need a good season at Triple A to prove 2011 wasn’t a fluke.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          I agree, but keep in mind, he was pretty awful offensively in a half-year at AAA (the PCL was a hitter’s paradise, and he had a mere .701 OPS, which was some 100 points below average for the league).

  • die hard

    if compensation is to be meaningful, we need to give up salary…..

  • cedarpip

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say there isn’t a prospect in our system that can match the value Theo Epstein would bring to the Cubs. The Cubs would get the better of any of those deals. One minor leaguer? For Theo Epstein? Really? A no-brainer.

    • JulioZuleta

      100% agree, but that doesn’t mean you should pay more than you have to.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        This is where I land, as well.

    • hardtop

      Well, to be fair, its one minor leaguer and 20 million dollars… And whatever the cost of his staff is… I expect byrnes to get a healthy pay check as well. It’s a big investment for a baseball team for someone who doesn’t actually play baseball. I’m not saying to back off the deal but it will be hard to build a team as a GM when you loose your best prospects.

      • Nomar’s Left Glove

        I would totally agree with your statement, except I think that in the past the Cubs have paid too little for the head decision maker in the organization. I think by going after top brass and paying them appropriately is very non-Cub like thinking. I applaud it. Cub like thinking has sunk this club into a century long draught. This is business thinking. I love it.

    • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

      Agreed.

  • Rooster

    Make the announcement…upstage the WS.  Cubbie Nation and Theo!

  • die hard

    Justin Bour, minor league power hitting first baseman would be fair compensation to Boston who could eventually replace big Papi…

    • Jeff

      Die hard, that, actually, makes sense.  This is bizarro world.  Did Dick Tidrow give you that idea?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Well, I mean, except that nobody believes Bour will ever been remotely as productive on the big league level as Ortiz (if he makes it there at all, which most doubt he will).

        • Jeff

          Nobody thought Ortiz was going to hit like he did until he went to Boston.  I think Rebel Ridling might fit the mold better anyway.  What I was commenting on was that I thought Die Hard was actually thinking reasonably about the deal, which is pretty uncommon.  I was sure he was going to say that the Cubs should draw the line with John Gaub or Marcus Mateo, otherwise, it should be Tidrow time.

          • Dick Tidrow

            If they would give me 30 days with Gaub and Mateo, I could straighten them out.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            Roger that. I think a little more than that is reasonable, but certainly less than McNutt or Szczur.

  • http://None TScott

    I feel the Cubs have the momentum in this deal because there is no way Theo can just turn around and GM the Red Sox after how much attention the media is putting on it. I really hope they do not include Sczcur in this deal I think he has a bright future. i would say flaherty is fair and Jackson would be fair but pushing it a little.

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  • Mike

    I only have one question……how much of a budget limit will they give Theo once he arrives? He didn’t have much of one in Boston I don’t think.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I think he’ll be given a wide ranging budget. He’s not going to spend just to spend, but if value exists and he need another couple million, he’ll get it.

      • Toosh

        “spend just to spend” was Hendry’s philosophy.

        • JulioZuleta

          To be fair, he had very little to do with the Soriano signing. He was instructed by previous leadership to make a splash.

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