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Sticking with the “everyone thinks” theme of the day…

  • Virtually all pundits – and yours truly – are in agreement that the ongoing Theo Epstein compensation talks between the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox will do nothing to derail the rock star Sawx GM from coming to the Cubs. Indeed, as I noted yesterday, those talks are nearly at a close, if they aren’t closed already.
  • The only salvo in last night’s Cardinals win? It ended the NLCS short of a Game Seven, opening up today and tomorrow for an Epstein announcement. As for how it will go down, you can expect to see either or both of the Cubs and Red Sox announce a press conference for later that day (whatever day it is), at which the team will introduce its new GM and/or President. When that press conference is announced, you can finally be free to set your squeals to “Bieber.”
  • As for those compensation talks, while they may be nearing a close, we still don’t have a great read on just what the Cubs will be giving up. I mentioned yesterday that a source is hearing names like Matt Szczur, Jay Jackson, and Ryan Flaherty (and, I was, of course, remiss in not pointing out that the Cubs would be far less happy to lose Szczur than the latter two), but it remains likely that the final name(s) (assuming the Cubs don’t fully get their way, and give up just cash) will include some lower-level, high-upside kids most of us are not intimately familiar with.
  • Tom Tango (known ’round the ‘net as Tangotiger), who has always been a forward thinker in the evolving world of baseball statistic and operations, offers an interesting approach to valuing Theo Epstein in trade. He likens the expected $18 million deal Epstein will sign with the Cubs to those of recently-signed MLB’ers, and concludes that Epstein’s annual value to a team is about $3.6 million. Because that’s comparable to a decent middle reliever’s salary on the open market, the question is: what would you give up for Matt Guerrier? Answer that, and you’ll have your Epstein compensation. It seems tricky to equate front office dollars with on-field dollars because of the vagaries of scarcity, MLB contracts, etc., but, as I said, it’s interesting.
  • The Boston Herald suggests that Epstein could be given the title of President, only, which would allow for more “promotions” for the guys he wants to take with him from Boston. The article adds that Epstein is considering Padres’ Assistant GM Jason McLeod, in addition to Padres’ VP of Baseball Operations Josh Byrnes, for positions in the Cubs’ front office. McLeod ran the Red Sox’s draft with Epstein before heading to San Diego, and could be in line to be the Cubs’ GM (as could Byrnes) if Epstein is “just” the President. The titles, as I mentioned on Saturday, are something of an academic discussion – what matters is which guys are in the Cubs’ front office, and who’s the boss (Epstein, and then Tom Ricketts).
  • In that same Herald article, there is this interesting point: “One resolution could be Epstein will not be allowed to take anyone [with him to Chicago from Boston], but that seems unlikely. Word would come out, eventually, about the personnel Epstein wanted to take and if that person was denied the chance to join Epstein and advance his or her career, hard feelings would naturally ensue. A promotion with the Red Sox could soothe hurt feelings, but if word spreads among Red Sox personnel that the owners denied employees’ career-advancement opportunities, it could hurt the Red Sox’ chances of signing front-office employees to new deals when current ones expire.” Did someone just say “leverage”?
  • As for whom Epstein might bring over – three names are mentioned: VP of Baseball Operations Brian O’Halloran, head trainer Mike Reimold, and Special Assistant Dave Finley. I know nothing about these men other than their titles, so I won’t embarrass myself speaking about them. Instead, I’ll just say: if Theo wants them, I want them.
  • Paul Sullivan discusses five other non-player trades, including Pat Riley, Bill Belichick, former Cubs’ executive Andy MacPhail (whom the Cubs acquired from the Twins back in 1994 for a top twenty-ish prospect, Hector Trinidad). Think Belichick would take a special assistant’s gig in the Cubs’ front office?
  • Paul Sullivan also writes that Epstein’s arrival in Chicago will usher in a slightly more statistically-and-sabermetrically-inclined era in the Cubs’ front office, which is only slightly less obvious than…
  • Gordon Wittenmyer writes that some Red Sox fans will miss Theo Epstein and some will not. Pulitzer!
  • Wittenmyer also takes the opportunity to dump on the incoming executive. “And this fifth-place team has miles more ground to make up than Epstein’s first-year Red Sox did, especially if he uses the $50 million coming off the books to make the kind of swing-and-whiff signings — right-hander John Lackey (five years, $82.5 million) and outfielder Carl Crawford (seven years, $142 million) — that plagued him in recent years in Boston.” Hey, prospective sources in the new front office: talk to me, not Wittenmyer. Kthxbye.
  • Bruce Levine has a good piece of advice for Epstein: “[S]tay away from putting a timetable on winning. Cubs fans have heard about 5-year, 10-year plans, since Dallas Green took over the team in 1981. This has been a common statement by every top baseball executive, that we’re going to win the World Series. That would be the wrong message to the Cubs fan base. The right thing to say is, ‘We’re going to be a playoff-caliber team every year, and if we don’t make the playoffs, that season is a failure.’” Agreed, completely. That’s the message I want to hear.
  • Phil Rogers expects many members of the Cubs’ current front office to remain once Epstein takes over. Some institutional memory preservation is important, so I do hope some guys stay on (though, beyond Tim Wilken and Oneri Fleita, who are both staying, how many more are necessary?). Rogers suggests that one of the first orders of business for Theo should be a flight out to Las Vegas to meet with Greg Maddux, who was a special assistant under Jim Hendry. Maddux still isn’t looking for a full-time gig, but if he wants to continue on as a roving smart guy, fine by me.
  • Unbelievable. Will Carroll, whom I like quite a bit, this weekend tweeted, “[S]omeone just pitched the idea of sending Crawford with Theo. Intriguing idea. Salary relief instead of players?” Crawford, who just finished a miserable 2011 campaign, is owed about $122 million over the next six years, so, when Carroll tweets something like that, people start going nuts. The only problem? Carroll prefaced the tweet with “This is NOT happening, but….” Come on, people – it’s 140 characters, max. Read them all.
  • Sam

  • Mom’s A Cubs Fan

    After the Theo announcement I just want to hear,” And the NEW Cubs manager is………..”

    • cccubfan

      You got that right…….

  • Hawkeye

    If Theo is able to take any front office with him, when will those names be released?   Will they be announced during the press conference?   Do we have to go through a negotiation process with their contracts as well?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The answers are probably “it depends.” They could be negotiating those things right now, and then they would be a part of the announcement. Or, even if they are negotiated right now, the Cubs might instead to reveal those names by way of press release – which could come at any time later in the offseason. It could also be that some of these guys have expiring contracts, and we’ll have to wait until their current deal ends (some team’s contract year doesn’t end until December).

  • Mark P

    Brett, Nice work. You have me on the edge of my seat! Cheers!

  • johnbres2

    I hope it works out, as this will be the first great Cubs news during playoffs that we have had in our lifetimes.

  • miggy80

    I am I the only one who wants this to hurry up so we move on to the obessive new coach watch?

  • Rancelot

    Just read this at Rotoworld:

    According to CSNChicago.com’s Patrick Mooney, the Red Sox are believed to want Cubs pitching prospect Trey McNutt as compensation for general manager Theo Epstein.

    • jfish1219

      That seems fair lets just get this done so we can fire the all mighty q-ball

      • Bails17

        No…it’s not fair.  Keep McNutt and tel them to stick it!!

         

        • JulioZuleta

          The Red Sox should be getting a very low level prospect and nothing else. The guy is getting a promotion, if they want that much compensation for him, give him an extension and keep him for yourself. I would rather drag this thing out after the world series and call their bluff than include any names like McNutt, B.Jackson, Lake, Szczur, Vitters. If they asked for McNutt, I’d counter with the rights to Bobby Scales plus his airfare back to the states.

      • bacboris

        I agree, our only pitching prospect in the high minors who might take the step forward to the show. Definitely “fair” and we should just cave. Man sometimes I wonder if our hack writers ‘sources’ are just Boston hack writers and the leaky sieve that is the Red Sox ‘brain’ trust. Or it could just be Die Hard, who knows?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      McNutt’s name has come up – like all the others – as a matter of speculation.

      • kansas cubs fan

        The red sox owe us Epstien for hitting Byrd in the face last year, atleast deduct it from our cost!

  • oswego chris

    couldn’t agree more with the Levine comments…yes, the 100+ streak is amazing, but everyone needs to step back from that a bit…when the glorious White Sox won in 2005 that was their 3rd title ever(we have two)…the Tigers have one title since the 40′s….the Giants have only a couple….point being, it’s hard to win a World Series…(unless you are the Yankess)…

    so the goal should be to be solid organization, consistent…that statement right there should make me a finalist for the Gordon Whittenmeyer Captain Obvious award

    • hansman1982

      Theo being successful to me is just building a competant organization that contends year in and year out – hopefully in 7 years we can be where the Red Sox are now where we are pissed that we don’t make the playoffs yet still have 90 wins – if he can build that here I hope they kept their sculptor’s number handy we are going to need one more statue…or maybe we can just dress Soriano up as Theo…HAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • Kyle

      Nailed it.

      The obsession will be over “When will the Cubs win the World Series?”

      Obviously, that’s what we all want to see, but Epstein’s job is to produce a consistently contending team and trust that it will eventually turn into a World Series.

      It’s awful luck that none of our six postseason appearances in the last 66 years have resulted in even a pennant.

      But it’s really awful team management that we’ve only had six postseason appearances in the last 66 years.

      When we put together a run like the Cardinals have (and with smart management combined with our financial resources, we will) and make the playoffs 8 years out of 12, the luck will even out. We’ll have some years like the 2009 or 2001 Cardinals, who crashed out of the playoffs quickly. We may have some years like the 2004 Cardinals, who won the pennant as 100-win monsters, but got swept in the World Series. But we’ll probably also have at least one year like the 2006 Cardinals, where the breaks go our way for a postseason.

      We’ve just got to start getting ourselves there repeatedly and let it work itself out.

      • Wilbur

        You nailed it …

  • ACS

    It wouldnt suprise me I saw this team let maddux go after a cy young at least on the bright side we have know idea how good mcnutt is

  • Katie

    I think Mc Nutt would be costly. However, like with any prospect (what up Bobby Hill?) you have to weigh what is known–Theo is proven vs what is speculation–prospects futures. Go for the gusto now and let’s get a game plan together.

    Ryno or Francona?

  • http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=14080749 steve

    i know its not going to happen, but ill take carl crawford. then release soriano. crawford is more money but im assuming IF it did happen the red sox would eat some of his salary.

    • JulioZuleta

      Interesting thought…How about Crawford for Soriano straight up. Shaves 3 years of salary commitment off of the Sox payroll. I think I would do it.

      • Hawkeye

        Interesting idea.   Hard to think about starting over with the long commitment.  We are almost done with Sori.  Do we really want to restart the clock on the hopes that Crawford just had a bad year?

        • JulioZuleta

          There’s no way he can be that bad again….I don’t think.

          • Hawkeye

            Thats the tough part of the conversation.   Why was he so bad this year?  Still going to be a in a big market with pressue in Chi-town.   At least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel with Soriano.

            Boston might be smart to kick the tires on the idea.   It would be a smart PR move as nobody in Boston likes the Crawford deal.   They would also get a decent DH in Soriano with big Poppi potentially leaving for greener pastures.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Pass – all you’re doing is kicking the “Soriano pain” down the road by three years. Crawford isn’t going to be much better in three years (if he’s better at all) than Soriano is now. And he’ll cost more. For me, just get the pain off the books, and sin no more.

        • JulioZuleta

          I honestly cannot believe he still has 3 years left…It seems like he has been on the team for 15 years.

        • Hawkeye

          Thanks for stopping by and kicking some sense into us.

          • Wilbur

            Agree with the analysis of Sori and Crawford as long term dubious assets, but really at this point for the Cubs Sori is just an overpriced piece of inventory. He’s a sunk cost, I think he will never be “off the books” until his contract is up,

            Keep him for his current value 25+ HRs and 80 RBI’s until he starts blocking someone who could do it better. If that point comes before you have a better alternative you release him or you pay someone to take him off your hands and maybe get a couple of million in salvage value.

            Currently there is no one asking for his services and he’s certainly not blocking anyone so you have a highly overpaid average left fielder. He’s certainly not a distraction in the clubhouse, so to me for 2012 he’s a non-issue.

  • ACS

    Ryno and while we are at prince at first and the king at third. If your going to go for it T.R. Go all out.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Dave Kaplan tweet:

    “Hmm. Excellent source just told me that he thinks that the deal for Theo won’t get done by tomorrow. We’ll see.”

    Not a whole lot there, and I remain optimistic. But, full disclosure and all that.

  • Fishin Phil

    Sure hope Kap’s source is wrong. I’m getting tired of this. Just want it announced and move on to sacking Quade.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s what the Sawx want you to say…

      • JulioZuleta

        Part of me thinks the longer this holds out, the better deal we’ll get. Now eventually we’ll have to balance that with what we are missing out on (managerial interviews, etc) as a result of not having a real GM in place. But I don’t think we have reached that point yet, so I’m in no hurry.

  • curt

    after its all said and done go cubs ,go theo,and go hawks baby kicked the wildcats butts all in all not a bad weekend, great job as always brett, only real bad thing bad about the weekend was the cardinals, think my wife has something 2 do with it, she passed away last september and was a die hard cardinals fan, no ones perfect go rangers

    • Hawkeye

      Hey Katie,

      Got another fellow Hawkeyes fan on the site.   Any others out there? We may need to request to Brett that he opens a secondary room on the website for Hawkeye chatting?

      • Katie

        Haha! It might be pretty lonely!

      • Rancelot

        Because I don’t think it is possible to derail this thread any further than it already has, I shall proclaim my allegiance to my beloved Hawkeyes as well. Alum living in Chicago…I have very fond memories, those that I can still remember, of my time in Iowa City!

        • Katie

          Yes, I have contributed mightily to the derailment. Good to see another Hawkeye fan aboard!

        • TWC

          My old band payed a mediocre gig at the Union Bar in Iowa City in March of 2001.  I remember that place being absolute hell for load-in/-out of gear and cruddy FOH sound due to the weird angles of the place.  Naturally, I have hated the Hawkeyes ever since.

          Well, not really, I guess … that bar still around?  It still suck?

          • Hawkeye

            TWC, I do believe that the Union Bar still exists to this day.   And I am pretty sure that know money has been put into it since 2001, therefore, I would say that it has maintained its relative suckiness.

      • miggy80

        How about them Hawkeyes! I lovvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvve it!

        • Hawkeye

          I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a Cubs game and seen a U of I hat or shirt.   We Hawkeyes are thick over in Cub country.

          • Katie

            How true! The Hawks were all I had to look forward to after the Cubs made it clear they weren’t gonna do jack shit clear back in late May or early June.

            • Hawkeye

              Pretty sad that your hopes for sports success were on a weak Hawks team.   Cubs are turning things around though, and the Hawkeye basketball seems to be turning over a new leaf as well.  

              We had better stop all this Hawk Talk as to not upset those uniterested.  We are sorry Brett that we have abused your site for purposes unintended by yourself.   Now, back to the talk of Cookies and Dick Tidrow.

              • Jeff

                We only call one team the “Hawks” around here, buddy, and they wear a big Indian head on their sweaters.

            • TWC

              Jeepers, Katie!  Watch the language!  I mean, you’re new and all, but still.  Show some respect, damnit all anyway.

              • Katie

                My sincere apologies. Please accept my best sugar cookies as my apology.

          • Jeff

            My mother and a lot of her family are from Iowa, so I lived in Des Moines and Newton for a few years.  I went to every I-Cubs game I could, since there isn’t much baseball to be seen out there.  The drive down the interstate is boring, but it’s a straight shot to Chicago, and there aren’t really any other teams in the area to root for, so it doesn’t surprise me that there are a lot of Cubs fans in Iowa.

            • Katie

              Yep, I try to go to as many of the Iowa Cubs games as I can to scope out the future. I’ve seen Jay Jackson pitch several times and…meh. I wasn’t impressed. I was at a game in August when La Hair launched one over the Cub Club in left. It was a thing of beauty. I’ve met his wife and Tyler Colvin’s wife. I’ve gotten a bunch of autographs including Ryno and Samardzija at games. That’s the great thing about I Cubs games…they are laid back and everyone is friendly. Lots of great baseball fans here too. Easy to get autographs. I’ve also seen Prior, Woody and D Lee play. It’s a great venue.

              • Hawkeye

                We are getting pretty close to home now.  Yours truly lives in the Metro as well.

                • hansman1982

                  that makes 3 of us…gonna have to plan an ICubs get together next summer.

                • miggy80

                  Yes include me in the I-cubs get together! On another note Hawkeye fans are all over I saw a lady with a Hawkeye shirt on in Guatemala City on friday, said she lives in Lincoln now, barf.

      • Mike

        Another Hawkeye here too!

  • Lou

    Apparently part of the additional compensation, according to Matt Spiegel of 670 the Score, is an out-clause bonus that the Cubs have agreed to pay of $3.5 million. That’s on top of the contract they choose to give Theo.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      As an FYI, that’s been known for a while.

  • Vinestal

    Have you guys seen these reports coming out that Boston asked for Garza at first? http://espn.go.com/chicago/mlb/story/_/id/7116210/boston-red-sox-initially-wanted-matt-garza-chicago-cubs-theo-epstein

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Think of it this way, the more Boston holds this up the worse they look. Meanwhile, pass the cookies and milk.

  • Vinestal

    http://www.csnchicago.com/blog/cubs-talk/post/-?blockID=578868&feedID=661

    Apparently Cubs are content to wait Boston out and watch them squirm.

    • JulioZuleta

      Wouldn’t want it any other way. Well played, Mr. Ricketts. On a side note, I hope they keep a spot open for Randy Bush, hell of a situation to be in…basically being a part of the negotiation to get the guy to fill the job you weren’t worthy of holding.

      • Toosh

        He’s done an unbelievable job since taking over for Hendry. Kudos.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Vine. I’ll be writing up both that and the Garza ridiculousness this evening.

      • bacboris

        Brett, please make sure to include in your write-up whatever drug Boston’s owner is on to ask for Garza. I mean if someone on this site can come up with a baked good with that wonder drug as the secret ingredient we could all be famous.

        I can already see the product jingle “Don’t think you’re good enough for a supermodel?” “Want to walk up to a fortune 500 CEO and demand his company?” Take one bite of delusions of Henry [TM pending] and finally have the confidence to get what you deserve.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Delicious.

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