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.
  • Dick Tidrow’s Aunt

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

  • Fishin Phil

    • Mom’s A Cubs Fan


    • CubFan Paul

      my favorite saying

  • 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!

  • 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…

    • 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.

      • Brett

        Carpenter’s projected role (late-inning reliever) is also one of the very few roles the Cubs do have some depth in their system. He’s a guy the Cubs could afford to lose.

        • Bails17

          Carpenter makes more sense than anything else I have heard.

          • JulioZuleta

            Yeah, I am absolutely ok with that. I’m good with an older (24+) reliever, or a young/ relatively high upside guy, excluding Ben Wells, and I’d prefer not Willengton Cruz. All of this talk of McNutt/Jackson/Szczur/Vitters/Lake stuff is crazy. Ha is where I would set the absolute ceiling, but I’d be much more comfortable with Carpenter.

            By the way, Brett, if we do happen to get Theo for a low-end prospect, you might not see a whole lot of me for a few days. I will devote my time almost completely to finding Red Sox fans and shoving the Castro/Garza talk, then the Jackson talk, then the McNutt talk into their faces, and say “Hey, at least Rebel Ridling has a cool name”

        • willis

          Exactly. Especially if they decide Cashner is going to be in the pen next season. Then there really isn’t a spot for Carpenter, unless Wood is not re-signed. If it can be done with Carpenter as the key figure, that makes sense and wouldn’t sting too badly.

  • 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.

    • 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…

  • 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…

    • Fishin Phil

      Good point.  I believe it is mid November.

    • Mom’s A Cubs Fan

      10% down on tickets mid November; balance in January

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • Brett

      1.) The number reported by numerous sources is over $7 million, suggesting his 2012 salary is $3.5 million (given that it’s an option, it wouldn’t surprise me). If you’ve got a document that shows $2.5 million for 2012, you’re the first, and I’d love to see it.

      2.) You just said the same thing I did, but somehow contended we disagreed.

      3.) The cream of the crop have options. And, when they’re looking for a tie-breaker among, for example, the Red Sox and Yankees, I assure you, they’ll remember this. Theo is being offered a promotion that he can’t get in Boston. That the Red Sox are unreasonably standing in his way is an affront to all of baseball, not just Theo.

      4.) Who is the five year old? You think MLB doesn’t want to protect its storied franchises and their relationships with each other? Give me a break.

      5.) Red Sox brass certainly has a lot of credibility and love in that city right now, eh? “They offered crap! We swear! It was totally worth continuing this shit mess and paying $7 million for the privilege!”

      • Pat

        The Cubs were offering him 3.5. He has been making 2.5 with Boston. If this year is different, I haven’t seen note of it anywhere. I’ve seen seven total thrown about on several blogs but it doesn’t jive with the original salary figures for Theo.

        On point two, our disagreement is that you contend that it’s the Red Sox burden to make things work with Theo if this falls through. It’s not. It’s on Theo to make it work or he doesn’t get paid and the Sox save that money and keep control.

        I’m not sure this makes a discernible difference between Sox management and Yankee management, which has had their own issues in the past.

        The Yankees and Sox hating each other hasn’t damaged the game, why would this? These guys rarely play and rarely deal with each other.

        Let face it. The Cubs screwed this up by not getting an idea on compensation prior to working a deal with Theo. Remember last year when Flrida wanted to talk to Guillen? The compensation was discussed before talks went any further. Mike Stanton? Um, no. End of talks and no one ended up looking stupid.

        • Boogens

          I understand your argument from a position of someone that supports a Red Sox viewpoint. Here’s another way to look at the same situation. Rickett’s clearly wanted Theo for the job and followed the standard protocol to ask for permission. The Red Sox front office dicked him around for several days before they would even grant permission to talk with him. At that point, no one really knew whether or not Theo was actually interested in the job or if it was just leverage to improve his lot with the Red Sox. When the Cubs were finally granted permission Ricketts had just seven days to talk to Theo, figure out if he was sincerely interested, sell him on the job and work out a possible deal. As the Red Sox organization is in crisis right now and it took so long just to get permission, Ricketts couldn’t risk wasting that seven day window by working out compensation upfront. So, while your position appears to be logical on the surface, given the actual situation and chain of events it clearly was more logical for Ricketts to go after his man, secure him and then worry about working out compensation with the spurned and emotional Red Sox front office at a later date. So they’re not screwing anything up. If anything, the Red Sox are the ones that screwed this up by acting like the whiny 5 year old you mentioned in an earlier post.

          • Pat

            I don’t actually support a Red Sox viewpoint. I do however think they could pull out without destroying the franchise. I agreed that Garza or Castro were too much, but once the Cubs were also able to pull Jackson and sczuzr off the board I think that’s about the limit of people you can realistically expect to protect if you want the deal to go through.

            • Boogens

              Fair enough. That makes sense in that context.

        • Jeff

          “On point two, our disagreement is that you contend that it’s the Red Sox burden to make things work with Theo if this falls through. It’s not. It’s on Theo to make it work or he doesn’t get paid and the Sox save that money and keep control.”


          I may be wrong, so we’ll have to let the lawyer figure it out.  If Theo is found in breach of contract, doesn’t that mean that the contract is over with?  Wouldn’t he just have to pay some of the money back and both parties would likely move on?  Couldn’t this be used as an underhanded way of freeing Epstein up, only for Ricketts to pay any fines or salary that the Red Sox want back?  I mean, they already replaced the guy, doesn’t that constitute breach of contract?

          • Brett

            No. If Theo breached, (warning, necessarily complicated sentence fragment to follow) he would be prohibited from performing the duties he was supposed to be performing for the Red Sox for any other team besides the Red Sox for the period of time he was supposed to be performing those duties with the Red Sox. In other words, if he breached, he couldn’t work for another team in 2012 (short of the Red Sox giving him permission to do so).

      • Lou

        Brett, disagree on points 4 and 5. MLB loves heated competition because it attracts viewers. So, no Selig doesn’t care about protecting relationships. Look at the Cardinals and their actions over the last two years. Anyone who challenges them gets bullied by LaRussa. Bad blood emerges between the Brewers and Reds and the Cardinals…nothing’s really done. You also underestimate the Red Sox fan base. Look at the commentary after news articles written in Boston and blogs and on radio stations. The popular opinion amongst the fans–maybe we don’t want Theo and this garbage but take Lackey’s contract if you want him Chicago. Sort of a concession–Theo’s been good for us and maybe we still want him. One thing that has been accurately talked about by Carfado and members of the Boston media (something which you haven’t reported) is the relationship between owner and GM. Henry doesn’t and still doesn’t want Epstein gone. Lucchino does. Lucchino been negotiating the deal. And Henry, as he stated on WEEI, could care less about the Cubs or their fans. Sounds to me like 7 million is a drop in the bucket. If the Sawx don’t get what they want, they’ll let Theo sit out a year. No loss.

        • Brett

          In no universe is the difference between, for example, Trey McNutt and Chris Carpenter worth $7 million, nor is it a drop in the bucket.

          • Lou

            Agree on the first point. On the second, when the 7 million dollar man’s spent $500 million on FAs with mixed results, which got the Red Sox to this place, 7 million is a drop in the bucket. Especially for an organization emerging with an image that’s “out for blood.”

            • Brett

              I guess we disagree on drops – $7 million out of a $200-$250 million operations’ budget is not a drop, particularly when championships are won at the margins.

              • Lou

                But is really about the money Brett? We could argue that take, but why? Isn’t really about the longstanding power struggle between Epstein and Lucchino? Or the strong bond between owner and GM? This isn’t about the context of the Cubs getting their man. It’s about the fracturing of the Sox organization, one which has been consuming that franchise since Epstein broke tenure from them in 2005. The current situation has more drama and history than I care to think. That’s why they don’t care if Theo sits. Lots of embittered and hurt feelings going on in Boston, with the backdrop of professional baseball in New England. A place that I witnessed personally where baseball isn’t the obsession of the summer, as it is in the Midwest. It’s a twenty-four, seven day a week, year long news cycle. And the crying shame is that Texas Rangers and their prodigal GM, Jon Daniels aren’t getting enough credit in all this Red Sox debacle crap. If Bud Selig cared as much about storied franchises, as you say, shouldn’t he care as much about up-in-coming franchises, like Texas. Yet, the World Series seems to be on the back page in the collective eyes of the sports world. Meanwhile, this crap’s taking center stage.

                • Brett

                  The money matters because it’s one of the biggest pieces of leverage the Cubs have. It’s not about any one thing.

                  • Lou

                    We agree to disagree. The difference is the gravity with which the media, the sports fans, and the collective see the respective franchises and the difference in the current competitiveness of the franchises (i.e, total rebuilding vs bad ending to 90 win season). Obviously, it’s not about any one thing.

        • hansman1982

          It is interesting to see the Sox fans’ reactions

          1. We think Theo is so great we are pissed that you don’t have a 21 year old Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez to send us


          2. Theo is garbage, look at all of his bad deals, the last 8 years have been thanks to the previous administration

          I have a feeling that Boston will wake up in 2-3 years with the same hangover that we had with Rothschild leaving this year.

          • Lou

            Yeah, it really is quickly becoming a love-hate relationship between the fans of the Sox and Theo Epstein. Most fans just seem downright confused about his value in Boston right about now.

        • Luke

          If there was even the slimmest chance that the deal could get done as easily as the Cubs assuming all of Lackey’s contract, it should have been done last week.

          One season pitching in the NL Central should do wonders for Lackey’s numbers. At that point, if the Cubs don’t want to keep him in their own rotation, they could probably eat part of his contract and move him for at least a couple mid-level prospects. With all the payroll coming off the books this winter and next and the low likelihood that the Cubs will be making the playoffs next season, that deal is very good for the Cubs. Even if the Cubs never are able to trade Lackey, the fact they would be gaining a formerly good starting pitcher in a season in which they are likely to be thin on starting pitching wouldn’t be such a bad deal. Yes, its a terrible contract, but I think Lackey+ Epstein might be worth Lackey’s contract. If the Cubs started selling “Lackey’s Beer-Battered Boston Fried Chicken” in their concession stands, they might make enough to offset his contract completely!

          I wish Boston’s front office would insist on that deal. Heck, I might throw in Chris Carpenter as a thank you gift.

          • Hawkeye

            Well said.   I would love to see a big name change hands on this deal as well.   It would get fans even more excited and get the ball rolling for what could be an interesting off season to say the least.

          • Lou

            One does have wonder how much off the field matters played in 2011 version of John Lackey.

    • 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.

      • Internet Random

        I’m in agreement with most all of this.

  • 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.

  • Brett

    Wow – Cafardo becoming quite the shill for the Red Sox:

    What’s been amusing are reports out of Chicago that Larry Lucchino has been difficult to deal with in this process. Difficult? The Cubs, realizing they have nothing, are trying to hold to that nothing.

    “It sounds like the process, from what I’ve heard second hand, has been quite frustrating on the Red Sox end,” said the GM.

    Do these guys not realize when they’re being fed intentional “leaks”? That quote comes, according to Cafardo, from “an American League GM.”

    • CubFan Paul

      cafardo lost all credibility after reading his ‘time to play hardball’ piece ..there’s no way those quotes came from a national league scout Or anyone who watched a Cubs game/Chris Carpenter pitch

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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?

    • 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

  • 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.

  • die hard

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

  • Hawkeye

    Glad to see things are getting back to normal!

    Cookies anybody…

  • Brett

    Jon Heyman (I know, I know) says the Cubs are now feeling out San Diego GM Jed Hoyer, who was an assistant under Theo in Boston, together with Josh Byrnes.

    Still waiting on Heyman’s full article, but I’m sure that, if the Cubs are talking to Hoyer, it would be to join the Cubs as “GM,” (with Theo being “President”). The Cubs’ job is more glamorous than the Padres’, but I can’t see a sitting GM in good standing taking a lower job in another organization.

    So, if true, what you’ve got right there is the Cubs starting to act on the “backup plan” I suggested on Saturday – namely, get a top notch “GM” in place, and then wait out the Red Sox.

    • King

      Is this the same Jon Heyman who consistently tweeted that Theo agreeing to a contract with the Cubs was very unlikely? His sources on this must be very well connected.

  • Ian Afterbirth

    I think your pithy bits are quite sexy, Ace.

    • Brett

      Nice. Did you see my comment about why your picture isn’t working, by the way? Your gravatar account is tied to a different email address than the one you’re using right now – thus, no picture.

    • Ian Afterbirth

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Katie

    I heard Dick Tidrow brews his own beer.