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.
  • hcs

    I wonder if a package built around Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, and Mark Prior would be enough to get it done…

    • johnbres2

      might want to add a veteran bat like Rick Monday to make it an offer they can’t refuse.

      • hcs

        How about a tandem of Randy and Todd Hundley?

  • Robbo

    Be patient and willing to walk away if necessary Tommy boy. I hope you have a Plan B ready even if that plan is hiring a GM with an interim tag for one season until Theo is officially free to move on.

  • Dan0mite

    I have a sinking feeling that this deal will fall apart and no Theo. What happens then? Do the Cubs wait and hope that Theo is still interested and available at the end of 2012? What if another team steps in after the Cubs bow out? The Angels and Orioles are still on the GM hunt.

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    This is beginning to sound more and more like a personal vendetta. The cubs have been reasonable by all accounts. They’re not leaking things like the Red Sox are. If it is a vendetta there may be no choice but to hire someone else. The Red Sox may not care how they look. They are probably arguing a contract is a contract. But they’ve already appointed a new GM so that argument doesn’t hold water. If there’s no movement within a week, my guess is that Ricketts will turn elsewhere and let Boston stew in their own juice. The one who will be getting the shaft thanks to Boston will be Theo and that’s beginning to look like exactly what Boston wants.

  • Mike

    The Red Sox are playing games. Kaplan several days ago hit the key point. It’s not nearly as complicated as it appears. Epstein wants out, Boston wants him out but sincerely wants to punish the Cubs and Epstein. I like the young man and think is one of several good fits. But here’s the key, while you risk losing him, there are 3 potential as good fits and maybe better. Billy Beane, Freidman and lesser knowns all of which come more easily. There’s also the tactic mentioned by Kaplan of saying he’s your’s for year and will getting him then and you can pay freight in the meantime. If say the Cubs focus on someone else, in the long run fans will be fine. And bluntly not letting Boston roll him, is a good thing in the long run for Tom Ricketts.

    At some point it becomes time to put your last best offer on the table and move beyond it, or in the end everyone loses respect for you. Boston is making this more difficult that it needs to be and the time is quickly approaching when Ricketts will have to call their bluff and let the commissioner pick up the pieces. Maybe Epstein isn’t meant to be. And if Ricketts puts the ball in their court by being willing to move on two things will happen. Either he will find a better guy even than Epstein who may not be meant to be for us, or even more likely, in an extreme turnaround the Boston Red Sox will stop the insanity and let Theo go. But in any dealings, when one party decides to act as an insane child, the only solution at some point becomes one of calling their bluff. For the Cubs, time is of the essence, you have people a all levels hung up here. Boston doesn’t feel any such constraint because simply put they are only trying to destroy Theo and are moving forward knowing he’s done, and believing ultimately the Chicago Cubs will pay his bill and give them toys to boot. Once Ricketts proves to them a businessman who while wanting Theo is not in love and married with the idea he has to have him at all cost, this gains quick clarity. The sooner Boston gets that the better.

    Sometimes the best hire you ever made was the one you almost made. Any of you have done the hiring thing understand that. Whether the key time is now, tomorrow, Weds or next week, that point either is or will be upon us. And if Tom Ricketts calls their bluff, I think there’s no way he loses. Either he gets his man, or honestly Theo was the best hire in the long run he didn’t make. But I don’t believe it’s reasonable to any party to allow Larry the Weasel and the Red Sox to drag this out. Like Brett though, as a fan, I don’t care, but strictly from a management view and what’s good for this organization, in the long run I think Ricketts would be helping himself as Kaplan pointed out to call their bluff

    • johnbres2

      MIke–awesome post. You are right on. It is beginning to take on the appearance of a vendetta against Theo. The problem is the Red Sox are jerking around the Rickettses as well. They don’t seem to care about negative fallout for their organization. The egos are too big to be reasonable.

    • HotRuta

      Things could get even trickier …

      Most executive-level contracts have provisions that define both the responsibilities and the authority that comes with the position. It is conceivable that Boston now has two contracts that promise the same thing to both Epstein and Cherington. That would be fun to sort out; if they were worried about being a laughingstock before …

      And, now that they have made it clear that they are going to be jerks about it, how interested are other teams going to be about the train wreck that would be pursuing Epstein? Have there been reports of a waiting line wrapped around Fenway Park?

      Boston may have ensured that the Cubs are the ONLY viable suitors for Epstein this year — or, even worse for them, managed to breach their contract with Epstein. One would hope that TR would put Theo in touch with the best contract lawyers money can buy — and hang tough on compensation: no more than a couple of mid-range prospects (although I’d give them Baker in a second!).

      Sometimes you DO need to be ready to walk away. Given how TR has conducted this pursuit, I have a feeling he doesn’t need advice from anybody on how to close this deal — although he probably wouldn’t mind knowing that fans wouldn’t hold him responsible for refusing to be mugged by the aforementioned jerks.

  • CubFan Paul

    i love that pic..

  • Vinestal

    danomite: Theo would have to agree to go to any other team that would be interested, it’s doubtful that anyone would offer a PBO position and Theo isn’t going to go somewhere else just because Boston decided to be A-holes and ask for the moon.

  • Mike

    One more note. As there are a lot of excellent synopsis on compensation across sports levels, almost in every case, those deals involved lateral moves and occurred where the team hiring contacted the person under contract prior to gaining permission. Keep in mind neither of those things apply here. First Theo, wasn’t contacted until the Cubs gained permission to discuss this and therefore there is no tampering leverage. Second, this clearly not a lateral move and Henry has already acknowledged that. So while these synopsis are interesting, they are from analogous to the current situation.

  • Joe Cartwright

    “Sources can be unreliable, and every single rumor you read must be regarded suspiciously. That includes rumors that come from me.”

    Yes, but your short and informative posts always come with your opinion(which generally include something that happens in a week, see the 6th bullet) and a warning on what to expect(see any bullet). It’s one of the reasons I come to this site.

    • Brett

      Thanks, Joe. You are too kind.

      • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

        Brett, Thanks for keeping us up to date on this circus. You bring concrete info on what facts are available. I don’t think Ricketts needs to worry about the fans being behind him whatever way he decides to go.

        • Brett

          Thanks, Cheryl. I do what I can.

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Mike, A very good summation. I think Boston is so angry at Theo that Ricketts will have no choice but to move on. Your analysis that they simply want to destroy Theo, unfortunately, may be right on target. Ricketts has proved himself and if he chooses to go elsewhere I think people will lineup to work for him because of the way he’s handled this.

  • MrCubs73

    This is just a personal belief, but I believe John Henry is still trying to keep Theo is Boston. If anyone listen to him on 98.5, he said they tried everything he could to keep Theo in Boston, you just don’t always get what you want. So if everything possible includes, making certain they do not come to a compensation agreement. At that point, the person who does not get everything they want is Theo. Mayb if you go back to when Theo left for a few months a few years ago, Henry believes if Theo stays in the fold longer he will change his mind or feel pressure to stay. Peer pressure can change what people do whether they are 5 or 55. I have not seen this thought put out there, but after listening to WEEI most of the day and listen to all the Chaos coming from the Red Sox organization, absolutely nothing would surprise me.

  • Alex

    Hold strong TR!!

    If I were Theo, I’d tell the Cubs negotiators to hold on to all the prospects. I’ll see you after my 2012 vacation.

    Wait Till Next Year!!

  • Ari Gold

    I used to like the Red Sox way back when, because they competed against the Yankees. Now I hope the Yankees kick their ass all over the field for the rest of time. The Red Sox are now my most hated organization in sports. Totally classless.

  • Nomar’s Left Glove

    I’m getting very tired of the Red Sox. They are total douche nozzles.

    • MrCubs73

      Make me questions whether Ricketts should reevaluate the front office model he wants to copy. Maybe Boston is not the right model. If the Theo gets done, we might be hearing story’s about the cubs starting pitcher drinking beer and eating chicken in the Cubs clubhouse during games next.

      • Lou

        Thought that all along. Theo might be stupendous with player development. The money he’s invested in FA is well….Hendrysque. Might be wise to move on if the two sides can’t reach an agreement by next week as others have said. I still would like Thad Levine or Mark Shapiro.

  • cubsklm

    HELP WANTED: Security guards needed, short term assignment. June 15, 16, 17th 2012.
    You will be assigned to protect the Red Sox for this weekend series at Wrigley Field should the Red Sox continue to be A-Holes about letting Theo come to the Cubs.

    Spoiled fruit, rotten vegetables, and rocks will be supplied

    Send resume to

  • Ron

    I posted this exact scenario two days ago about the Red Sox asking for Garza and the Cubs walking away. Didn’t think it could really happen but hold TR, screw those bastards and don’t give them a thing.

  • MichiganGoat

    Tomorrow announce Josh Byrnes as GM and show Boston that we want Theo as president, give them a realistic package, and tell them take it or leave it. Theo will be here in 2012 or 2013 and we can build a front office team while he sits in Boston. We have the leverage throw it done Timmy.

    • Brett

      A week ago, that plan would have seemed unspeakably outlandish. Now, not so crazy.

    • Lou

      Just hope we don’t do what David Kaplan says Arizona’s done with Byrnes…pay him 5 years to go AWAY.

  • die hard

    I tried to warn Mr. Ricketts….This circus was headed to town the minute he thought he could white wash the Red Sox….he will need many shovels to clean up the elephant cookies left behind no matter when the circus leaves town….send in the clowns

    • Brett

      Did die hard just cookie his own comment?

      • MichiganGoat

        The circle is complete

  • die hard

    how many times have I said walk away?….Let Boston keep him…he will be available Oct 2012 or not….we will survive….and nobody can cookie like this guy….

    • MichiganGoat

      Okay we broke die hard…

      • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

        Cookies win!

  • ACS

    Hahn, Evans front office Kim NG pbo The Prince and The King in Wrigley court

  • mike

    Move on, talk to Friedman!

  • die hard

    Ode to Mr. Ricketts

    To be a GM is what I aspire
    Once a Cub always a Cub
    Retiring at Wrigley is my desire
    Of Sand and Fog is my current club
    But please call me anytime if you tire
    Of the Theo circus flub dub.


    • bacboris

      If my heart bursts
      It will be with fury
      For every idiot that lives
      Inflicting the death on us all

      We name them under our breath
      Call them all the wasted words
      Under the sun and
      Still they breathe

      And if my footsteps cover
      The trace of harm in others
      May they call my number
      And give me my due

      • Brett

        You really never know what’s going to happen on BN…

  • ACS

    Maybe T.R. Should have bought the Red Sox. They were for sale then a brewing company could have bought the Cubs from the Tribune company. You know the Tribune made bank on the cubs being the doormat.

  • ACS

    The Tribune won alright they bought the cubs low and sold high sameway old man Ricketts made his money amd dont worry he has to win or his investment goes belly up.

  • die hard

    so the Trib shorted the Cubs?…Mr. Ricketts of all people would understand how that works….youd think he would have seen this coming….disappointed again

  • ACS

    Theo was handed a team on the cusp of the ws im not saying he didnt have his stamp on it but nothing jim hendry could not have done in same situation if he was in the weaker American league you have to know nothing tops the National League Central.

  • ACS

    You know its going to comeout right after the cubs get there man that Theo watched the walk through what will they dub that mcspy gate is taken maybe it will be Theowatching.

    • hansman1982

      ACS what you’ve just said … is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • Brett

        “Okay. A simple ‘wrong’ would’ve done just fine.”

  • curt

    is andrew friedman still available, this is a circus with to many clowns to count, john henry is the ringmaster or is tom ricketts and larry lucchino is the angry bearded lady, even if this circus comes to a happy ending for cubs fans which i hope it will, the damage is done i think everyone looks like spoiled brats with real peoples lives at stake, its gone past the point of getting old, either settle this now or tell the sawx 2 stick this whole mess up their collective behinds and move on already. yes theo would be great here but at what price doesent anyone have any integrity, quit dealing with these spoiled brats, if they wanted theo so bad they would have extended him id give them a couple solid prospects and tell them take it or leave it i double dog dare them to leave it

    • Brett

      Kevin Goldstein (why he’d be in a position to know, when no one else is, I don’t know) says the Cubs talked to Friedman, and he said he would not leave Tampa. Again, I don’t know why Goldstein would know that and no one else knows it.

  • Rooster

    Red Sox Nation-up in arms, screaming at each other, owner running down to the radio station (what owner in their right mind has talk radio on 24/7 and then runs down to the station like he’s a Lord), drinking beer in the locker room, scape-goat Terry (felt bad for him), now embarrassed that Theo’s all but gone.  Take your Nation and shove it.  Take Casey Coleman and love it!  Take Soriano and love it!  Take Big Z and have him be your bartendar!

    Take Mike Quade and that will serve as compensation.  I’d tell Theo to earn his 2012 salary from Boston and then hello in 2013.  The Cubs can manage one more season.  This compensation stuff for a GM is ridiculous.  The media talks as though our farm system is junk.  They talked about Jackson as a 2nd tier outfielder…wake up.  I’m tired of the Red Sox Organization and all their screwups.  Meltdown City.  WALK BOSTON!

  • Cubsklm

    I just saw Beckett, Lackey, & Lester at the Popeye’s in Waukegan. They said not to worry, this will all be resolved shortly. Then they broke the place up when they were told Popeye’s does sell beer.

    • Brett