Theo Epstein Afternoon Update: The Jed Hoyer Rumors Are Getting Louder

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.

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

100 responses to “Theo Epstein Afternoon Update: The Jed Hoyer Rumors Are Getting Louder”

  1. ACS

    You all think Theo walks on water. He had at least one known steroid user and a allstar pitching staff. I guess if you have to cheat to win you better cheat.

    1. jfish1219

      So who would you rather see run the baseball operations for the cubs?

  2. ACS

    Some one from chicago that wants the ws as bad as we do.

    1. jfish1219

      such as…..

  3. ACS

    Bill Murray

    1. jfish1219

      So first your suggestion was Mike North form 670 (Who you so aptly called Peter North) and also is a giant White Sox homer. Now it is Bill Murray…Either you are one of the Dumbest meatballs alive or a giant troll… I am not quite sure which one is worse

  4. ACS

    It dont matter give us a fireman to put out this blaze.

  5. ACS

    If known steroid users are going to be let to stay in the game then brig back the all time hits leader in Pete Rose.

  6. Shawn

    When did Peter Gammons quit his job at MLB Network and become Director of Media Relations for the Boston Red Sox?

    1. Artief

      1975.

  7. ACS

    Hey you know north is the way you want to go.

  8. ACS

    Peter is a jagbag

  9. Lou

    Saw this from Tim Sullivan of SignonSanDiego: The Padres would be entitled to expect compensation for Hoyer, but it’s doubtful they would demand it. Moorad is friendly with Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, and arranged for him to meet with both Hoyer and Byrnes on the last day of the regular season. So it’s beginning to make complete sense now.

  10. Mike

    I’m certain Brett will have all this tomorrow. I’ve always liked Dave Kaplan and used to listen him to him and on a occasion or two would have good discussions with him on WGN. He’s pretty connected, very bright, and does his homework,

    Anyway in his latest tweet early am 20th to his earlier story, he says a deal is basically done and word will leak tomorrow throughout the day and announcement will come Friday with a PC. He says he doesn’t know what the compensation is, but it isn’t Jackson or a major league player.

    I know many will be upset, but Boston sources seem to be focusing on Trey McNutt. I have zero issue if it is McNutt other than Boston is pond scum. But honestly he’s not a can’t miss prospect, he’s not got incredible movement on his fastball although it’s a plus, and as with all curve ball pitchers, the elbow and shoulder can go at anytime. We don’t have the shoulder medical studies, so I’ll leave at this, McNutt is a good prospect and we all would prefer not have to give him in this, but sometimes you have to end this nonsense and he’s not greater value than Theo. And most importunely he’s not Greg Maddux, Kerry Wood, or Mark Pryor. Only Maddux really turned out to be a hall of famer. While Wood had a plus 100 mph fastball and devastating curve, Pryor had high 90′s and wipe out curve. They both had something this kid could have too, arm trouble. Maddux to the contrary had more normal stuff, but great movement, great control, incredible competitor and changed speeds constantly.

    1. CubFan Paul

      ..& all that said, McNutt is our best pitching prospect/almost major league ready and because of that he’s not going to Boston ..only sloppy journalism includes the likes of McNutt and brett jackson

  11. Mike

    If Dave Kaplan is right, by the end of business today the details will all leak. I don’t take issue with anything you said, and clearly Brett Jackson won’t be part of the deal. On McNutt, I understand people are falling in love with him and covet all of the prospects we have. But let’s remember the reason we are looking at Theo and Hoyer is not because we have a great top tier farm system and great anything bluntly. Once this falls into place, if Ricketts is correct everything changes. If we trade a guy that projects as middle of the rotation pitcher for Theo, assuming both turn out to be what is promised, we still got a good deal. In the end, if Theo who is less of project, were not projecting him as anything, he is does what Ricketts is buying, we stole him even if we have to ultimately pay say McNutt and Vitters.

    On the other had, both those players are projected, they simply aren’t. Garza is, we aren’t projecting and we know about his arm, we know he can change speeds and we know exactly what he is. Vitters doesn’t have position. So the only thing I would caution is not to fall in love with a given prospect who we are projecting. The closest thing I have seen in the Cubs organization to a can’t miss prospect, putting aside upside and some debate about that, is clearly Brett Jackson. After that you’re moving to A ball and the low minors. Suzcar may be another good prospect, but he’s still at a low level and he’s 22. So in the end, I like everyone else hope it’s cash, but we have to be realistic, they are likely going to get a player or two who are prospects and we aren’t going to like that we had to give them up right now. Just remember where we started, where we want to end up, and that we are really talking about what is up against what might be and what projects.

    In other words, maybe a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush?

    1. Fishin Phil

      Good points Mike.

      We have to remember to think long term.  I certainly don’t want to see McNutt or Vitters go, I would much rather send them Campana, Mateo and about $49.95.  But if the deal leads to a WS 4 years down the road, who amongst us would not make the trade?

    2. CubFan Paul

      ummm, and after all that said, McNutt is our best pitching prospect/almost major league ready and because of that he’s not going to Boston..

      1. Lou

        Here we go again!

  12. MichiganGoat

    What, its 8:23 ET and no new BN post? What is happening to my morning? Am I in Hell? I think I am! I just read that the Cardinals are in the WS and have won game one! I’m stuck between no new news on Theo and Cardinals one step closer. How will I survive!

    1. Fishin Phil

      Think pleasant thoughts…. Theo, Jed, Ryno.  You’ll make it my bearded friend.

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