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.