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.
  • die hard

    Honest…I did not put Curt up to that rant…..but sure sounds familiar….way to go Curt!!!!

  • die hard

    other owners fear the precedent of raiding their front office….and the sanctity of contract means nothing?….if he breaks contract to join Cubs, this is akin to Curt Flood case….but a GM has inside knowledge of operations….and what about a non-compete or non disclosure or other confidentiality clauses?….Boston could be under pressure from other owners to let him stay or pay him to stay away for a year…Gentlemens agreement among owners not worth paper its written on…wheres Bud in all this?….or doesnt want to deal with it until after Series?….can other owners file suit to stop Theo from leaving?…to be continued…gnite

  • http://TheoWaiting Cheryl

    Die Hard, you bring up issues that haven’t been brought up before. Before it was an issue of Theo being given permission to talk to the cubs but your point about non-disclosure, etc. and the other clubs being afraid of a raid on their offices may be a valid point. Brett, what about this?

  • Jim B (@rightjb)

    Great coverage. So glad to get BleacherNation by RSS feed now.

    Cubs have all the cards here. So what if MLB makes them wait until after WS? What are RSox going to do – NOT get rid of Epstein? Their owner already said he was as much as gone.

    Cubs would like to get him going but I’m sure they have a bottom line. All Cubs have to do is wait a few weeks – say, “Never mind” and walk away. BOS will also have to have new GM in lace Francona gone too – they can’t wait forever.

    I’m not worried. Epstein’s a Cub.

    • Brett

      Thanks, Jim.

      • oswego chris

        Boston Herald…sorry Brett…

        • Brett

          You’re fired.

  • Mike

    That goes both ways. No one has to let them walk as in the sense, it you want my guy, unless I’ve burn’t the house down, you can always pay me more and extend me. When Detroit wanted our Latin Guy, we renegotiated him at the worst time for us and upped the years. So while the other owners are adversely impacted by the money here, it also, when you dig in works the other way too. If Boston, who with all due respect, made this whole damn mess with their incredibly cumbersome structure and owner who is more absentee that we have ever known until now, wanted him, he no doubt could have been convinced to stay and likely would have. Do I believe he wants out because of their difficulties, boredom and the challenge of the Cubs? Absolutely to some extent on all of them. I believe also, he wants to be closer in organization to ownership and more entrepreneurial in the sense no Warner and Larry the weasel.

    That’s really a big one, Boston has personalized this and is trying to punish both Theo and the Cubs, while also taking advantage of the Cubs making assumptions of how desperate the organization is. Either of those is not important, what is, bluntly is they could easily have matched the promotion and money, but have no desire, it’s all venom that needs to be called. And the second issue here is when these changes occur, no organization over a period of years is going to be able to fill all of these positions continually internally and without hiring from without, and I assume most of the business people understand if you artificially restrain abilities to hire someone like Boston who is being promoted, like Boston is doing, they will also be adversely impacted from no pool to dig them out of their mess. So the sword does cut both ways, and Boston would have an argument, were they willing to meet the price and promotion, but of course they aren’t and the real issue here, is the owner is out of touch and apparently is more than willing to allow Larry Lucchino to openly punish both the Cubs and Theo out of personal spite, because he sees some nominal gain.

    But I firmly believe if the Cubs informed the Red Sox it’s obvious this is personal and they don’t have time to play Larry’s game and are moving on, within 1 hour there would be a resolution. Both sides know where an agreement can be reached, but Lucchino is trying to blackmail everyone involved. I believe if the bluff is called, not only will Henry get off his butt, but most of the owners will raise their estimation of Cub ownership. None of us really are in this and it’s no insult to the city of chicago or media. It is a rude, nasty and disrespectful shot at Theo Epstein and Tom Ricketts.

    • Brett

      Interesting thoughts, Mike. Ultimately, though, I’m not sure we know the Red Sox would act rationally if threatened, for example, with a one hour walk time.

  • LouCub

    Mike well put!!! I’ll be the first to tell you that compensation should be given but this guy Lucchino is out for blood to clean the shit that’s all over his face…Selig needs to step in tell him ENOUGH!!!!! I keep hearing about what the Chisox got for Ozzie, but no one talks about the tampering committed by the Marlins..The Cubs did this all on the up and up, and have given Theo a raise and considerably more authority than he’d ever get in Boston..If they wanted Theo, they NEVER would have givebn the Cubs permission to talk to him PERIOD!!! Theo will be a Cub but this senseless delay is costing the Cubs dearly in regards to building their front office in Theo’s image and getting Theo’s guys in the dugout and minors as well..It is clearly a vendetta on Lucchino’s part and it needs to be mediated fairly..If Lucchino gets his way, no one will ever be able to leave an organization without entering into a world war over compensation..It’s a horrible precedent and Budrick Selig better , pardon the pun..”Nip It iIn The Bud”!!!

  • Mike

    The Boston Globe is doing a great job of laying out the current situation. Boston is cesspool and bluntly, if they don’t want to be reasonable and want to punish Theo Epstein more so than the Cubs, who Henry says he doesn’t “care” about, there’s nothing to do about that. I think a fair assessment, given that Boston is running a PR war and already beginning to spin out of control with the latest allegations of trash in the club house and then just moments ago players trying to argue with people who buy ink by the barrel, this is just going to get worse for Boston. And let’s be clear, they won’t give up Theo without a pound of flesh, without trashing him, and unless they are given no choice. Further there is no guarantee, he’s the right guy. Do I want him, like Tom Ricketts yes, but I acknowledge as is obvious, they are going to try to severely damage his reputation on the way out and there’s absolutely no guarantee he’s not burnt out and to some extent damaged goods.

    There’s more than one person and one way to skin this cat. If Ricketts wants Theo at all costs then you have to pay, but I wouldn’t. In my mind why get the student when you can much more easily get the teacher in the case of Beane, or even go a different route and get a guy like Gillick. And here’s the key I’m all in with Kaplan, worst case scenario you tell them it’s obvious there’s too large a gulf and there current media situation with problems in their clubhouse and management team have made you rethink you’re position and you’re withdrawing all offers and have no interest currently in any of their personnel and watch how fast this gets wrapped up. Given the new Globe stories, I believe Henry may have a change of heart anyway to change the subject and find a resolution prior to the world series is probably 50/50. I think if there’s ever going to be a deal, given Henry and Boston are going to want to change the subject from how dysfunctional they are to Theo leaving, Cherington being hired and new manager instead of the elaborate con game Larry the weasel has been running to fleece the Cubs. In fact they went too far, at some point, if Theo was enabling the Boston fiasco or burnout why would we want him? That’s the danger of the BS game Boston has played. Like Kaplan I think we have all the leverage and the way you play with barbicans unfortunately is to show them you are more barbaric than they are. Call their bluff and we’ll see if this is ever getting done, it will get done sooner than later. I think later is not necessary and the longer it goes, the less i would give them.

  • Fishin Phil


    What do you think the odds are that Selig grants special permission for an announcement on the off day Friday if an agreement were reached Wednesday or Thursday?

    • Brett

      Depends on how insistent the Cubs are on the need to get the word announced. If they feel like Epstein can work behind the scenes for a week, then MLB will probably tell the Cubs to just wait.

      I know Bud is worried about the “overshadowing effect,” but it seems to me it would be the opposite. The Cubs’ biggest rival is in the World Series – I can see the story lines now. It would make even MORE people interested in the World Series.

      So, yeah – I don’t know. Maybe?

  • Oswego Chris

    Boston Globe saying this morning that the deal falling through is “highly unlikely”…they claim it has simply gone Garza, then Brett Jackson, and now McNutt….if this was the case…here is how I hope Ricketts answered

    1. (Garza)  Are you out of your F$%ing mind?

    2. (Jackson)  No. Really. I will ask again, are you out of your F$%ING mind?

    3. (McNutt)   F$%K no! Call us when you get down to a guy our fans have never heard of, or you can pay him his 7 mil to sit out a year.

    • Brett

      Which article? I see Cafardo’s article this morning, but that’s it – and it doesn’t really seem to be the one you’re talking about.

  • ACS

    Insane do yourselves a favor and check last savior of the Cubs 1987 & 1991 ws champion gm Andy Mcphail just notice 2 ws in 4 years dont think we didnt get excited then.

    • juliozuleta

      I know what you’re saying, but Epstein will bring other top guys with him. He also brings a cockiness and type of attitude with him that can really change the culture that I don’t think was there with macphail

  • ACS

    Hey I of all hope your right but iam cautious to drool over some hot shot from out of town guy.

  • ACS

    As far as people drinking beer and eating fried chicken dont have a problem with that its better then having needles in the locker room.

  • ACS

    Something else do the cubs have a curt schilling, pedro martinez, manny rammy, papi ortiz, johnny damon just to name a few.

    • JulioZuleta

      ever heard of Randy Wells, Ryan Dempster, Alfonso Soriano, Bryan Lahair and Tyler Colvin? I

  • ACS

    Yeah part of the circus I watched all summer. Hey those boys are missing something roids.

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