Theo Epstein reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with the Chicago Cubs one week ago. Since then, we’ve been taken on a roller coaster regarding what compensation the Cubs will pay to Epstein’s current team, the Boston Red Sox.
As of yesterday and this morning, most sources agreed that a deal would be reached – if it hadn’t been already – before the Wednesday start of the World Series, a semi-imposed deadline, courtesy of Bud Selig and Major League Baseball. Some said the Red Sox were being unreasonable, others said talks were progressing normally. But virtually everyone agreed: it would get done.
Now, most agree that the deal will still get done, but it might not be announced until after the World Series. Sigh. Bullets…
- If you ask five people what the Red Sox are demanding for Theo Epstein, you’ll get five different answers. I’ve heard independently that they’re asking a lot, but will ultimately settle for a reasonable set of prospects. Patrick Mooney says the Red Sox “are believed” to want Cubs’ top pitching prospect, Trey McNutt. Dave Kaplan says the Red Sox’s demands have gone from “ridiculous” to “unbelievable.” And then there’s this…
- Bruce Levine reports that the Red Sox’s initial request was none other than Matt Garza. The Cubs, of-freaking-course, refused. One thing that makes me a little nervous about a report like that: leaks on the Cubs’ side of things have been excruciatingly difficult to find, throughout the GM search process. Thus, it’s not inconceivable that the only things that leak on the Cubs’ side are things the Cubs want to leak. If true, why would the Cubs want to leak the Red Sox’s ridiculous demands? Could it be to set up a defense down the road in case the Epstein deal never comes to fruition? “We were willing to be reasonable, but look at what the Red Sox asked for. Matt Garza. We refused, and they wouldn’t budge. It wasn’t our fault.” And, of course, it wouldn’t be the Cubs’ fault – but, as I said, it makes me nervous.
- Something else I’ve heard that you’re not going to like? While MLB is involved in the compensation discussions, they may not necessarily be pushing to get a deal done as we’ve all hoped. Instead, there may be things about the deal – either Epstein’s with the Cubs, or the Cubs’ with the Red Sox – that MLB, and MLB owners, don’t like. I wish I knew more, but that’s all I’ve got.
- Remember, not but two days ago, many sources said the real fight was not about the compensation for Theo, but about the staffers he’d be taking with him. And now talks might stall for another week or more because of the compensation? The lesson here? Sources can be unreliable, and every single rumor you read must be regarded suspiciously. That includes rumors that come from me.
- For what it’s worth, both Dave Kaplan and Nick Cafardo believe a deal will eventually get done, even if it takes another couple weeks (do you have the stomach for that? I’m popping Tums like ribbon candy (I’m also, apparently, 100 years old – ribbon candy?)). Kaplan says he hears the Cubs are willing to dig in and wait until the Red Sox’s demands become more reasonable.
- Kaplan also tweeted that the deal would get done eventually because there is “no chance” the Red Sox are willing to pay Epstein $7 million (his 2012 salary plus his “conclusion” bonus, which the Cubs are willing to pick up if Epstein comes over now) to be a lame duck next year. Kaplan suggested the Cubs could set up a front office with all the necessary parts, besides Theo, in order to wait out the Red Sox. Sound familiar?
- I remain hopeful a deal will get done before Wednesday, but I’m no longer confident that that hope is grounded in the facts. That’s not because the facts are now definitely different than they were just yesterday, but instead, it’s because my ability to trust the “facts” we’re all reading and hearing is becoming diluted.