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With each passing minute, the odds that a surprise Theo Epstein announcement will come down before the start of the World Series (tonight) are growing infinitesimal. But that doesn’t mean it might not still happen this week.

  • Indeed, multiple sources today are confirming yesterday’s suggestions (did you catch that? things start as suggestions, and become confirmations, apparently) that the Cubs and Red Sox could introduce their new President and GM, respectively, on Friday’s World Series off-day. A possible hiccup to that plan, as I see it? MLB is still hoping to have its new labor agreement finalized this week for potential announcing on … Friday. I doubt Bud Selig would want to allow that kind of double-duty in the middle of the World Series.
  • But, such an announcement remains pending the Cubs and Red Sox finally putting a compensation agreement together for Epstein. To that end, Peter Gammons was on WEEI radio today to discuss those talks, and, in doing so, Gammons apparently anointed himself an expert on the Chicago Cubs’ farm system. Among Gammons’ pearls of wisdom: “everyone involved knows the Cubs are a bottom three farm system,” “Trey McNutt would be Red Sox prospect [number] 25,” and suggested the Cubs are acting like they don’t want to “give up the next Billy Williams.” Gammons has always been a Boston homer, but this goes beyond the pale. Couple this with his earlier comments that Wrigley Field is a “dump,” and I’m thinking he’s not engendering a whole lot of support in the Chicago area these days.
  • Jon Paul Morosi said a source told him the compensation talks were “progressing well” as of this morning. Whatever that means, I guess it’s … good?
  • You’ll note that, in the first bullet, I labeled Epstein as the Cubs’ prospective president. That is the prevailing opinion, though it remains important to note: the Cubs have plenty to gain in negotiations with the Red Sox by spreading word that they’re looking at Epstein only as a president-level employee, and are hard at work vetting potential GMs. It could still play out that Epstein is the “President of Baseball Operations and General Manager.”
  • But, as I said, that’s not the prevailing opinion. Multiple sources say the Cubs are focusing their “GM search” on the San Diego Padres, home to a handful of Epstein’s friends and former coworkers. Padres’ blogger Tom Krasovic thinks Jon Heyman’s report on the Cubs looking at Padres’ GM Jed Hoyer has legs. If Hoyer leaves for the Cubs, Krasovic thinks he’ll take scouting and development chief (and Theo Epstein’s best friend) Jason McLeod along with him, leaving Josh Byrnes to take over as GM of the Padres.
  • Speaking of Heyman (I know, I know), he says he’s heard further confirmation about the Cubs’ interest in Hoyer since his report yesterday. Bruce Levine says a couple sources confirmed the report to him, as well. My gut still says Byrnes is more likely than Hoyer (and I don’t want to rule out other possible GM candidates like Rick Hahn), but – just as the way things started with Epstein – the smoke is building.
  • Even the San Diego Union Tribune concedes that at least one Padres executive is “likely heading to the Cubs,” but it’s up in the air who of Hoyer-Byrnes-McLeod would be leaving. Padres’ CEO Jeff Moorad said he would generally prohibit his contracted employees from interviewing for lateral moves, but no one knows if he’d take that hardline stance with respect to Hoyer (GM to GM). With respect to Byrnes and McLeod, they would, presumably, be up for promotions with the Cubs.
  • For his part, Hoyer isn’t saying much: “I’m not going to comment on speculation,” said Hoyer. “We are concentrating on hiring a hitting coach. We had an interview Tuesday and Monday and are doing two more today.”
  • Sound like a familiar “denial”? Here was Epstein’s initial response to Cubs’ rumors, back on August 31: I try to avoid commenting on things that are so speculative. I know there are a couple of articles which have appeared but I’m completely focused on the Red Sox of 2011, first and foremost, and what potentially lies ahead for this club.” Smoke. I’m just saying. Smoke.
  • Fishin Phil

    I agree that Byrne is more likely than Hoyer.

    • cccubfan

      I don’t know. Moorad may want to promote his boy Byrnes and let Hoyer go.

      • Hawkeye

        I like which ever one we can get in less than 10 days/two prospects.

      • Fishin Phil

        I’m definitely OK with either one, but I still think Byrnes is more likely.  Two reasons:

        1) Hoyer’s contract status, lateral move, etc.

        2) Heyman is so rarely correct.

        :)

  • Spencer

    Nice LOST picture :)

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Had my opportunity, had to take it.

  • Spencer

    and wtf is wrong with peter gammons?

    • Fishin Phil

      Like most East Coasters, he is convinced that everything west of the Appalachians is uncivilized territory inhabited by heathens and subhumans.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        As a current east coaster who has lived in the midwest, on the west coast, in the south, and in the southeast… I have to you’re basically right.

        The west coasters were worse though. I’m not sure they believed that anything outside of the Pacific Time Zone was real. “Washington D.C.? What’s that? Is it like a suburb of San Diego or something?”

        • Cliffy

          I doubt most people would say Boston had a better draft than the Cubs.

          • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

            Baseball America did. Boston came in 5th, Cubs somewhere between 6 and 10… but probably closer to 6. Not much separates the two, though. Both clubs did very, very well.

      • Jason

        Well, until you get to California.

    • Alex

      The first sentence in Peter Gammons’ Wikipedia page is priceless:

      “professional jock rider of the Boston Red Sox.”

      He is also employed by the Fenway Sports Group (through NESN).

      so, no bias from Gammons on his Red Sox/Cubs opinions is there? Nah…

  • brian

    That damn smoke monster is building strength…

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Baseball America’s Jim Callis was asked about Gammons’ comments and said the Cubs’ system is more middle of the pack than bottom three, and McNutt would be a top 10 prospect in the Red Sox system. So, yeah.

    • Spencer

      Where’s Boston’s system ranked? I feel like it’s been kind of depleted the last few years.

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        17th before the season started. BA lists them as having a Top 5 draft, which will help. I’d say somewhere in the 9-14 range. Probably ahead of the Cubs, but just by a spot or two.

        By the way, it was only 17th because the San Diego trade gutted it. For the past five years it is nearly always in the top 10 somewhere.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Goldstein just said it’s also middle of the pack.

  • die hard

    the CBA could be one obstacle and owners approval could be another if any truth to rumors that this is more than just Theo being released from contract…

  • Cliffy

    Up yours Gammons these are BA rankings from March 2011

    1. Kansas City Royals 2.Tampa Bay Rays 3. Atlanta Braves 4. Toronto Blue Jays 5. New York Yankees 6. Cincinnati Reds 7. Cleveland Indians 8. San Diego Padres 9. Colorado Rockies 10. Philadelphia Phillies 11. Los Angeles Dodgers 12. Minnesota Twins 13. Washington Nationals 14. Texas Rangers 15. Los Angeles Angels 16. Chicago Cubs 17. Boston Red Sox 18. Seattle Mariners 19. Pittsburgh Pirates 20. New York Mets 21. Baltimore Orioles 22. Arizona Diamondbacks 23. San Francisco Giants 24. St. Louis Cardinals 25. Detroit Tigers 26. Houston Astros 27. Chicago White Sox 28. Oakland Athletics 29. Florida Marlins 30 Milwaukee Brewers

  • juliozuleta

    It’s nice to see ESPN becoming less of ax monopoly between online coverage and the new channels (mlb/nfl) because it is getting worse than ever….

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    The Pirates being #,19 kinda suprises me, And the Yankees are #6?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Pirates have had some terrible drafts in the past few years. Really, really terrible drafts. The Yankees tend to load up on the international free agent market, and there isn’t as much press coverage there.

  • brian

    If the Cubs went after Hoyer, what would the compensation be for him? What about Byrnes? I’m all for the “ultimate front office” but what would the end price be for all these pieces to fall in to place?

    • hansman1982

      the problem is that most people in the Cubs farm system don’t know how to take a walk so they arent going to fit in with the new org philosophy and will be moved soon anyway…get the best we can in the FO to rebuild this place – if we trade 4 prospects the odds are that maybe one will become a MLB regular and I would be SHOCKED if any became a perennial all-star…

      Get the best so we can start drafting and developing the perennial all-stars

      • brian

        I understand that, I’m just thinking that if the Boston receives a top prospect for Theo to get a promotion, wouldn’t the Padres see that and expect more for a lateral move? There won’t be a playoff caliber team for a few years on the field but do what are the odds that this blows up the farm for the next five?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Maybe. Keep in mind, these moves aren’t made in a vacuum – there are real people involved, with real relationships. It’s possible Hoyer has said to Moorad for years that he dreamed of reuniting with Theo or of working in a large market. Maybe Moorad only wants the best for his guys. Maybe Moorad is a good friend of Tom Ricketts’, and he wants to do him a professional courtesy, knowing that he could just promote Byrnes and be no worse for the wear.

          Don’t let the Red Sox experience jade you – they’re not all like that.

          • brian

            Thanks Brett, I was just thinking from a negotiation stand point that they could use the previous deal as leverage (really beginning to hate that term). I also just read that Moorad and Ricketts are close so seems like that could be more cordial than dealing with Lucchino and Henry.

  • cubsklm

    I have been saying for months Josh Brynes will be the new Cubs GM. I am going to count Hoyer and Brynes as the same person. An Epstein desciple.

    It was just my crystal ball was fogging up that day.

  • DWahl71

    Hey guys! New to bleacher nation comment boards… die hard cubbie fan, this all just sounds like business savy from a smart owner, Epstein trusts guys like brynes to run the cubs for a year if need be

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Welcome, DW. It certainly makes sense from that perspective, as well.

      • DWahl71

        Thanks brett, do you attend the convention every year?

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Not every year, though the tentative plan is to be there this year (just as an attendee, though, no table).

          • Sweetjamesjones

            Dude. You so need to get a table. Seriously. If we have to raise money so that you can get the damn table, then lets do it.

            Also, it would give me another excuse to go to the convention as well.

            • juliozuleta

              Just get their early and claim a booth at kitty o’sheas

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              I kind of think it would be more valuable to me (both personally and professionally) to just do it as a fan – then I can write it up in a more meaningful and relatable way. For anyone else going, we’ll have to meet up. And, for anyone in town, depending on the weather, we can grab some beers in the evening.

              • hardtop

                I have some expiring miles… I’m there. Friday or Saturday it both?

                • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                  I’ll be there all weekend.

              • Katie

                I’ve been meaning to go for years but it seems the weather has been shitty or life has intervened. I really wanted to go last year to see The tribute to Santo but I just couldn’t swing it. I’m strongly considering it this Jan. I’d love to meet up for some beers with everyone! Can we get BN tee shirts so we can identify each other?

          • DWahl71

            This may be the first year in a decade I wont be attending, and at 18 this might have been my last year to lie my way into the kids line haha

  • curt

    and moses did say as he came down from the mountain carrying the 10 commandments “let my theo go” and a couple more ppl too lol and proper rewards will be given to you(compensation)

  • Sweetjamesjones

    Can someone please explain to me when Peter Gammons was replaced with his “alternate earth” clone? I used to like hearing or reading about what he had to say.

    But now it seems like he has turned into a douchey-McDouche bag lately.

  • Mike

    Kaplan is saying he’s hearing significant progress has been made and a deal is very close. Not complete, but close is the word now. He refutes most of Gammons comments and has a lot to say about just how serious Ricketts is and that he has had other options all along. Apparently both sides now want the process speed up and Kaplan holds out hope they will be able to get Selig to let them announce during the World Series. Take the time to read his stuff on CSNChicago, most will be pleased.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Also, Morosi tweets that he hears talks between the Cubs and Padres is going much more smoothly than the talks between the Cubs and Red Sox have. Let’s see, the Cubs are the common element in both discussions, so, gee, I wonder what could be the problem in the Red Sox discussions?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Any names leaking out of the Padres discussions?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        None yet (been scoping out Padres blogs/message boards, too) – and if things don’t turn contentious (doesn’t look like they will), there might not be any leaks.

        • JulioZuleta

          Can you imagine being a Padres fan…how boring

          • Sweetjamesjones

            Well The Padres have actually been to a World Series in my lifetime. Sigh.

            • montellew

              No matter how many times I hear that crack, it never gets old….oh wait, yeah it does! Come up with something new.

        • Jason

          Seems like the cool thing to do is to start to bidding at Garza so maybe they’ll start with that too?

  • Vinestal

    @BizballMaury: On this debate surrounding Theo, Cubs, Red Sox… there will be a solution. Bud’s in the mix. Expect it soon

    Thought that was interesting, if Selig is involved maybe he can push a resolution.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Indeed – and, as I’ve said, I suspect he’ll be on the Cubs’ side.

      • http://www.weareworkers.com Skooter

        It’ll be a cold day in hell when Selig ever sides with the Cubs, man.

  • Mike

    And as the Padres talks have become more known and look to be more definite than they did even 24 hours ago, it’s an amazing coincidence that along with the media reports from player gut spilling, how Boston seems to have found a sense of urgency to getting this behind them. Of course the most interesting new tidbit was Kaplan and WEEI revelation that Ricketts had interviewed others in this ongoing discussion, very very astute. Ricketts as you have pointed out over time is turning out to be far more invested than most thought.

  • die hard

    Lackey to Padres?…. these rumors all day of a 3 way may be true!!

  • ShootTheGoat

    Man oh man…. I’d like to biff Gammons in the head. CANNOT tolerate him anymore!

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      There is a horrible, tasteless joke in there somewhere, but I’m sure as hell not going to make it. I’m not even going to point it out.

      Er… oops.

      • jh

        It’s thoughtless, tasteless comments like that that make my brain want to explode. (Gammons is the worst)

  • ShootTheGoat

    Any story that comes to light in regards to the BoSox and he acts like a total homer!!! At least when you write Brett, your unbiased in your reporting… I mean, I know our farm system isn’t great but it isn’t as bad as he is letting on…

    • JulioZuleta

      On his wikipedia it says he was born in 1945, is that possible? I literally thought he was 80+

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      As outlandish as Gammons can be, I have to give him this: I’d rather have Peter Gammons writing in Chicago even one day of Rosenbloom.

  • ACS

    Just got out of the game go N.L. Central.

    • JulioZuleta

      Are you sick? Did you root for the Packers in the Super Bowl because they’re in the NFC North? My three most hated sports franchises/fan bases are the 1. White Sox 2. Packers 3. Cardinals 4. Red Sox (due to recent developments

  • jfish1219

    For what it is worth David Kaplan tweeted
    ” I just spoke with two excellent sources on Epstein negotiations and it appears deal is basically done with announcement of agreement tmrw.”

    • King

      But if the announcement is tomorrow, I will be so distracted from the World Series!

  • brian

    Lance Berkman is officially the devil

  • ACS

    Peter said wrigley was a dump.

  • ACS

    I can see the real cc is still playind just ask Tim the scouting guru.

  • http://www.weareworkers.com Skooter

    In the interest of full disclosure, I have to say, it’s the little details that make me love this site so much. The smoke monster pic? Brilliant.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Skooter – those same little things are what make it fun for me.

  • ACS

    You all still on the Theo wagon.

  • CubFan Paul

    apparently Kaplan is the most ‘plugged in’ person reporting on the Theo deal. we hear “blah blah blah” all day about how a deal isnt close and Kap blows them all way ..good work by the kapman

  • curt

    until theo is at a press conference i dont belive any of it, not the pundits, media, the source, the reliable insider, not the starbucks cashier, not sullivan., not rodgers, not that dousche gammons, heyman. wittmeyer, i do believe the force is strong in the one they call brett lol the only one even close 2 being accurate.

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