Another Theo Epstein Morning Update: Is Today the Day?

Another morning, another set of things to discuss with respect to Boston Red Sox’s General Manager Theo Epstein. The Sawx and Cubs had been, by most accounts, targeting today for their respective announcements, so … like … what’s the deal? Is it going to happen?

  • Some still say maybe. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes this morning that a conclusion today is possible, if not likely, as “most deals get done once they reach the imposed deadline.”
  • Others say nah. Sean McAdam of CSNNE says sources tell him the two sides are too far apart to get a deal done by today. The Sun-Times hears the same. WEEI radio in Boston hears the same. I guess that means “most” pundits think the deal won’t get done today, but I’m once-bitten-twice-shy when it comes to declaring what “most” pundits think.
  • Cafardo goes on to discuss the possible compensation, focusing on the usual suspects (primarily, Trey McNutt), as well as Chris Carpenter. Carpenter would be an understandable request, given his MLB readiness and good stuff. Cafardo discusses Cubs prospects with the help of a “scout” source, but I’m not sure how informed that “scout” is. The “scout” says McNuttt’s fastball sits in the low to mid 90s, but says Carpenter “doesn’t throw as hard as McNutt.” Um, dude? Carpenter has been hitting triple digits consistently in the AFL. “Throwing hard” is, like, what he does.
  • Cafardo also cites a Cubs scout who says the Cubs recognize the lack of depth in their farm system, and are working hard to protect the good prospects they do have. And, in a hallmark of the Tom Ricketts era, the scout adds, “[the Cubs would] rather take their time and get this right, than make a quick decision on the compensation.” Yahtzee.
  • Kevin Goldstein said on WGN Radio last night that Carpenter is probably off the table, given his aforementioned AFL performance. I’d point out that Carpenter was all universe in the AFL last year, too, and that hardly translated to untouchable production this year. The Cubs would almost certainly prefer to give up Carpenter than McNutt.
  • Goldstein also wrote a piece yesterday contending that the Cubs should come in for criticism in the handling of the Theo Epstein pursuit. Goldstein argues that the Cubs have created huge expectations from the fans, and thereby placed themselves in an intractable position should the Epstein deal somehow fall through. I hope you don’t need me to explain why this is an utterly ridiculous argument, but, in case you do: the Cubs have said *nothing* about Theo Epstein. Indeed, all the Cubs have done is try to get the best of the best. That’s literally it. Somehow that makes them vulnerable to criticism? Come on, Kevin. That’s the kind of lazy rabble rousing we’d expect from certain local Chicago hacks.
  • The Boston Herald notes that, even after all of these talks, the deal is “highly unlikely” to fall through, even if the discussions extend into the World Series. The goal, however, is today. (Every time I post a link to the Boston Herald, I feel like I should warn you that clicking through will subject you to an incomprehensible EIGHT(!!!!!!) ads on a single page.)
  • Paul Sullivan says the same, but notes that the Cubs might have a greater sense of urgency, given the need to conduct a managerial search – something Sullivan says the Red Sox, who also need a new manager, are already working on, with President Larry Lucchino and soon-to-be GM Ben Cherington leading the way. (At least the Tribune has only … six ads on a single page.)
  • Don’t forget, the World Series does not begin until tomorrow evening. Even if nothing happens today, an early press conference tomorrow is still a possibility.
  • And, also don’t forget, if you start worrying that the deal will fall through: the Red Sox’s alternative here is to (1) pay Theo Epstein $7 million, (2) figure out some way to have him “work” for the Red Sox within the paramaters of his contract even though he doesn’t want to be there, (3) make every other executive in baseball leery of ever thinking of working with the Red Sox, (4) make one of the other large, powerful franchises in the game hate the Red Sox forever, and (5) explain to their fan base that they preferred doing items 1 through 4 rather than accept a couple prospects and let Theo be on his way.
  • Obstructed View preaches a similar sermon of sanity and serenity. And patience. Plenty of patience.
  • As usual, you’re encouraged to “like” Bleacher Nation on Facebook and/or follow it on Twitter – when hot news breaks, it’s usually in one or both of those places first before I can get a full post up here. There are also pithy bits that I throw up in those places that don’t ultimately make it here.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

59 responses to “Another Theo Epstein Morning Update: Is Today the Day?”

  1. Dick Tidrow's Aunt

    On could argue that the “pithy bits” make it here and the good stuff ends up on Facebook and Twitter…

  2. Fishin Phil

    1. Mom's A Cubs Fan


    2. CubFan Paul

      my favorite saying

  3. Katie

    They are mostly a bunch of hacks. The Red Sox are feeding the media what they want to be leaked and I doubt if much of it is true. They are acting (in the public eye) like some jilted bride left at the alter. Wah Wah! Actually, they are acting more like bullies who underestimated Tom Ricketts and thought he was desperate and would bend over and take it up the tailpipe. I applaud TR and the Cubs front office for the class they have shown. Walk away from the negotiations and watch how fast the deal gets done!

  4. Brian

    For as poor as the Goldstein article was (and it was a pile), he did make a valid point. This is about the Red Sox being compensated for their anger. They’re just trying to bully things now because they’re pissed about all that’s gone on there lately.
    They’re indirectly making Theo the scapegoat of it behind the scenes as well. No way they can deal with dysfunction in their front office next year after the recent clubhouse stuff, so you wait them out.
    The price goes way down after the series. If I’m Ricketts, I start leaking stuff to the press during the series that makes them look like the horses *sses that they’re being…

    1. JulioZuleta

      As much as I would love to have every slimy detail about the Red Sox leaked, I like what Tom is doing. Yeah, that might help in this battle, but I realllly am starting to believe that there is an organizational shift going on. He is trying to stay above the pettiness that has been dragging the Red Sox down, and has really done well for his own image and the Cubs over the last couple months. Keep it close to the vest, and send the Carpenter. Decent prospect, but 26 year old AAA relievers are a dime a dozen (I know they don’t all hit 100), but ask youself why he wasn’t a September call-up.

  5. CubsFanatic

    I don’t get what Boston is doing. I understand wanting to get some good prospects, but come on. Do they expect us to give what remains of our farm system for a GM? Carpenter, Vitters, and a little cash and call it compensation. If not, then let Theo destroy it from the inside and sign him next year.

    1. JulioZuleta

      I would throw up if we gave them Carpenter AND Vitters. Carpenter alone…fine, Vitters alone, no wayyyy. I have not followed his career this long to watch him leave without getting a player in return. I know Theo is arguably more important than any player could be…but still…

  6. die hard

    when do current Cubs seasons tickets holders have to commit for next year?…..cause this could be another driving factor as to urgency or not…

    1. Fishin Phil

      Good point.  I believe it is mid November.

    2. Mom's A Cubs Fan

      10% down on tickets mid November; balance in January

  7. Kyle

    I love Tom Ricketts’ patience so much. I would have caved by now. This is the first time in my life I didn’t think I could do a better job owning the Cubs than the actual owner.

  8. Pat

    Just to play devil’s advocate on a the points listed above:

    1) The Sox would owe a maximum (see point 2) of six million. 2.5 salary, 3.5 completion bonus.

    2) They do not have to figure out a way to have him “work” within the confines of the agreement even though he doesn’t want to be there (which is debatable). They have to give him duties within the confines of the contract. If his not wanting to be there gets in the way if him performing those duties in a manner beneficial to the Red Sox, he could be held in breach of the contract meaning the Sox would not owe the remainder of the 2012 salary, and certainly not the completion bonus. He would still be under control though, same as if he quits.

    3). Doubt it. Those jobs are rare, and Boston pays better than most.

    4). I doubt they care. That sounds like a threat a five year old would make – “I’m gonna hate you forever”

    5). I’d bet the fans prefer they hold out rather than accept crap in return.

    1. Wilbur

      Understand the devil’s advocate thing, but two thoughts keep coming to mind:

      1) People keep talking of the Sawx paying $7.0m of Henry’s money as if its no big thing. People with money didn’t make it letting the president of baseball “give it away” because he didn’t like someone.

      2) The Sawx are not going to spend $7.0m and get no prospects when they can save that money and get something. It’s all about leverage, and in part leverage goes to the side that just keeps talking and won’t give in. If so valued by the Cubs any near MLB ready prospect they see as something important to keep is worth the wait until Boston agrees to something acceptable to the Cubs.

      While the above is merely stating the obvious, the great point people are making here is the value of patience in a tough negotiation.

      All the other decisions on manager, staff and fan angst can also wait without dire outcomes.

      1. Internet Random

        I’m in agreement with most all of this.

  9. willis

    I’d rather Carpenter than McNutt. Carpenter is no guarantee to be awesome in the pen next year, and there’s already some hard throwers in there. Sure it would be nice to lose neither, but if it’s one or the other, I wouldn’t lose any sleep if it were Carpenter. McNutt has a chance, as early as this coming Spring, to be a back end rotation arm.

    Carpenter, some cash and a low-mid range prospect. Do it.

  10. Fishin Phil

    That’s not as bad as the crap I just finished reading.  I accidently clicked on Rosenbloom’s daily bucket o’ vomit.  Now I need a shower.

  11. Kansas Cubs Fan

    Im getting so sick of reading about these boston idiots, send them Carpenter and get the damn deal done TODAY!!!!!

    I will be tuned in for more updates!  Haha

  12. Internet Random

    (3) [M]ake every other executive in baseball leery of ever thinking of working with the Red Sox . . . .

    That’s the biggie in my opinion. The rest are valid concerns, but “3″ is the queen mother.

  13. John Durbin

    I would hate to see carpenter go just because he is a good high school friend of mine and having him on the Cubs has been awesome… but on the flip side of things it does make sense at the organizational level…. would be a sad day for me to see carp leave… but hey if he pitches in the bigs all next year out of the Sox pen big deal… as long as he doesnt see us in the world series in the next couple years and make our hitters look bad… either way we NEED to get this deal done for the organization so we can start getting the rest of the front office in place and start the off season…. If carp goes then he goes…. and if he does go to the Sox he will be reunited with another Bryan High School Alumni in 3B prospect Kolbrin Vitek….. still a hell of a kid and one of the hardest working kids you will ever meet in your life… just ask Ryne Sandberg!

  14. die hard

    glass half full theory…..delay cause teams are working on a mega deal involving exchange of 10 or more players….Theo deal already set but is contingent on mega deal happening…no mega deal, no Theo deal….so wonder who players could be?

    1. cccubfan

      Here you go….Soriano, Zambrano, Marmol and Carpenter are going to the Sawx for Crawford, Lackey, Matsuzaka and Theo….That a big enough deal for ya’……LOL….Matsuzaka flipped to LA Dodgers with Tyler Colvin for Matt Kemp…You think Tom would give me the job……LOL

  15. Hawkeye

    Wait a second…did die hard just start a post with “Glass half full theory”?   Put your hard hats on folks, the sun might fall out of the sky today.

    Love the optimism die hard.  Although all great things do need an antogonist, and once we are done hating on the Red Sox, we may need you to come back to your old self.

  16. die hard

    just downed my half full glass….mega deal not going to happen… Theo deal….

  17. Hawkeye

    Glad to see things are getting back to normal!

    Cookies anybody…

  18. Ian Afterbirth

    I think your pithy bits are quite sexy, Ace.

    1. Ian Afterbirth

      Tell you what – I’ll rectify my email confusion and you stop flaunting your pithy bits all over the internet.

  19. Lou

    According to Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston, Epstein may be allowed to take his head medical trainer and one other guy, someone from the business side of things integral to the renovation of Fenway. Does this mean the end of the line for Crane Kinney? Hope so. He also gives credence to Epstein as President with someone from the San Diego Padres as GM. My bets are Byrnes. Hoyer’s still got contract left. Don’t want more compensation issues.

  20. Toosh

    I hope the “head medical trainer” was at least smart enough to recommend that the Red Sox pitchers drink light beer and eat healthier chicken.

  21. Katie

    I heard Dick Tidrow brews his own beer.