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The World Series begins this evening, and, if the Cubs and Red Sox aren’t able to complete their Theo Epstein negotiations soon, we won’t be hearing an announcement until Friday, at the earliest (the first off-day during the Series) – and even then, only if Bud Selig permits the teams to make an announcement during the World Series. The beat goes on…

  • The most prominent rumor/news late yesterday/overnight involves the role Epstein will take in the Cubs’ front office, and whom he will be bringing into that front office with him. First, the role. It’s been assumed from thing one that Epstein would not be coming in titled as merely the “General Manager.” The best guess had him becoming the “President of Baseball Operations and General Manager,” but it was always a possibility that Epstein would just be the “President of Baseball Operations,” which would allow him to bring in a top up-and-comer to serve under him as General Manager.
  • Multiple reports suggest that’s just what will happen. First, from Ken Rosenthal, who says Epstein is already looking for a general manager. Gordon Edes hears the same, saying “there is credence to reports that Epstein would become president and hire a general manager rather than hold dual titles.”
  • As far as that GM goes, both Rosenthal and Edes list the Padres’ duo of Jed Hoyer and Josh Byrnes (plus Jason McLeod), with whom Epstein worked in Boston, who were discussed here yesterday. As noted, Hoyer is under contract through 2013 with the Padres, so, if the Cubs wanted him, they’d have another compensation issue on their hands. Separately, you’ve gotta figure Rick Hahn’s name will be popping up soon.
  • For those saying Hoyer, the current Padres’ GM, would never consider a lateral move to San Diego, or that the Padres would demand a ton of compensation for him, San Diego writer Tom Krasovic disagrees. “I doubt Padres [CEO Jeff] Moorad would hold up [the] Cubs if they wanted Hoyer and it led to Byrnes becoming SD’s GM. Byrnes is like a son to Moorad.” It sounds like an early read – and, again, anything could happen – but it looks like Epstein would like one of Hoyer or Byrnes to become his GM, with the other staying on in San Diego and serving as the GM there.
  • San Diego writer Dan Hayes doesn’t put much stock into the reports that Epstein is already working on assembling his front office, however, and quotes the ever-present “source close to Theo”, who says, “Theo wouldn’t even tell person/people he would want to bring over until he is officially a Cub.” Because Epstein remains in the employ of the Boston Red Sox, of course he could not yet be talking to front office candidates. Officially. But could he be talking to Cubs? Could the Cubs be talking to other candidates? There are many ways these things could be going down – let’s not be naive.
  • This “President” business raises a question that I can’t answer: if Epstein is to be the President of Baseball Operations, only – a clear promotion not available to him in Boston – why would the Cubs offer much of anything in the way of compensation? It’s true that the Red Sox don’t have to let Epstein go just because the Cubs are offering a promotion, although it is a historical courtesy to do so. Once again, the Andy MacPhail example is instructive – when the Cubs persuaded MacPhail to join the organization as President in 1994, MacPhail was under contract as the general manager of the Twins. The Cubs still gave up compensation, though it was just one prospect, a kid who was ranked around 10th to 15th in the system at the time (Hector Trinidad). If the Cubs are insisting on giving up no more than a player of that caliber, then it’s fine with me if they stick to their guns.
  • From MLB’s perspective, I’m starting to get a picture why they’re not pushing this thing through. Consider this: the Commissioner’s office under Bud Selig has, perhaps beyond any other issue, focused on competitive balance. If MLB permits the Cubs to give the Red Sox massive compensation to give Epstein a promotion, what kind of precedent does that set for the future movement of up-and-coming executives? I can tell you want MLB is worried about: they’re worried the big boys will hire up all of the young talent, lock them into long-term deals, and then hoard them when smaller-market clubs are looking to hire those up-and-comers for higher level positions. The big boys would point to deals like the Cubs-Epstein trade to say, “I don’t care if you’re offering my PR intern a job as an assistant GM – he’s under contract, and if you want him, you’re going to have to give me a top five prospect.”
  • So where do things stand today, as we approach the World Series tonight? It doesn’t look like an announcement will happen today. I hear vague rumors about Epstein being in Chicago and about substantial progress in compensation talks last night, but nothing solid enough to pass onto you.
  • From Red Sox beat writer John Tomase: “Epstein is gone. Whether the Sox get Chicago’s No. 2 prospect or No. 6 prospect, enough with the stalemating, inaction and obstructionism. Let Epstein be on his way, but more importantly, let Cherington get started. He’s got a long offseason in front of him.” Yeah, man. What he said.
  • As for the compensation negotiation, Gordon Wittenmyer says it remains the only thing holding up the announcement of Epstein to the Cubs. Wittenmyer says Brett Jackson and Matt Szczur are off the table, but Trey McNutt and Josh Vitters might not be. Wittenmyer also hears that cash compensation might be back on the table, which would suggest the Cubs’ efforts to hold out could be working.
  • Gordon Edes also hears that the compensation piece is all that’s left to decide, with the two teams having agreed on what Red Sox personnel Epstein can bring with him to the Cubs. At present, Epstein may be permitted to bring only one member of the Red Sox front office with him, and the name Edes is hearing is Jonathan Gilula, “who would not come from the baseball side but is the executive vice president of business affairs. Gilula, who has been in MLB for 14 seasons and with the Red Sox for nine, played a major role in the renovations, remodeling and expansion of Fenway Park, and with the Cubs looking to do the same with Wrigley Field, Epstein might invite Gilula to join him in Chicago.” Hmm. Whither Crane Kenney?
  • Chicago columnists are out in force saying stupid things. Steve Rosenbloom – who just last week said hiring Epstein was a mistake (you know, after saying previously that Tom Ricketts would never man up and hire someone like Epstein) – says Ricketts needs to get the deal done or else his legacy will be ruined. You’ll note I’m not linking to the article – it’s terrible, ridiculous, hypocritical, poorly written, and everything you’ve come to expect from Rosenbloom. Don’t bother.
  • David Haugh isn’t much better, dropping the Epstein-is-worth-anyone-on-the-Cubs-not-named-Castro, so-just-get-the-deal-done argument. I guess Mr. Haugh always pays sticker price when buying a car. Who cares if the Cubs lose Brett Jackson or Trey McNutt, Haugh says. Who cares if the Cubs lose Matt Garza even. After all, the Cubs lost 91 games last year – why do they need Matt Garza? The volume of stupid in such a short thought is really impressive. It’s like squeezing 50 cans’ worth of shaving cream into one balloon. Ok, I’ll deign to answer the question: even if Garza isn’t going to help the Cubs become a contender in the near term, he has IMMENSE trade value. Giving him up just to give him up would be like trading two first round picks for Carson Palmer. If you don’t want Garza anymore, fine – but trade him for a boatload of prospects.
  • Fishin Phil

    As I mentioned yesterday, I accidently clicked on Rosenbloom’s blog.  How that man draws a paycheck is beyond me.

    • Lou

      And he’s doing double duty disservice to all us by co-hosting on a Saturday morning sportstalk radio station. Yikes! Then again, you have to wonder about the validity of some arguments of David Haugh–another dufus I get to watch on tv.

  • Mike

    Great stuff and I agree, the Boston media, unlike some the ignorance coming out of some, not all the Chicago writers, seems to be gaining more of a sense the worm has turned and Boston may want out of this as quickly as possible. I can see a quick resolution that could be helped by the by daily Boston player vomit. I think Varitek is up today, they struggle to get out of their own way, and they too have a hell of a lot of work to do, hiring a Manger, developing a strategy to clean up their first plan to get all this behind them and then how blow up their roster. Who knows as goofy as they have approached this maybe the whole compensation thing turns out less than any thought. While I can see them getting this all done today as they basically call it done and move on, at least it now appears certain that by Friday this circus comes to a good conclusion and that didn’t look as certain 24 hours ago.

  • Sam

    “I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours.”- Hunter S. Thompson

    • Katie

      Amen! And anyone who quotes HST is cool with me!

      • CubFan Paul

        agreed

  • Wilbur

    I always knew patience was not part of the sports columnist’s world. Apparently logic and clear thought are also frequently missing.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    I know there is a ton of info in this post, but don’t sleep on that seventh bullet about MLB’s position. Obviously it’s my own synthesis, and it’s tacky to pat yourself on the back, but I have a strong feeling there’s some “there there.” When viewing the entire compensation fight through that lens, it’s easy to see why things are such a struggle, and why the Red Sox would be painted as “unreasonable.”

    • hansman1982

      well then I shall pat you on the back…I think that is spot on and it could be that FO personelle are the current market inefficiency – in 5-10 years it may be exactly how you describe it with the big markets having FO staffs of double what they are today and salaries much higher that present and some salaries topping $15 mil

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      I think you hit the nail on the head with regard to the MLB perspective. I’ve been saying the same thing. The biggest danger here is not what players go to the Red Sox, but the precedent the Red Sox are trying to set.

      That said, if this deal does go through, then the Cubs need to get out there and sign every front office type with a bright future to a ten year deal and announce that bidding will begin at a Top 100 prospect, do I hear a Top 80?

      I’d be curious to know what contact the league has had with both sides. John Henry does not appear to be the point of obstruction. I sort of wonder of Bud Selig has been on the phone to Mr. Henry saying “What on earth are you guys doing?” and on the phone to Mr. Ricketts saying “Stick to your guns; what Boston is asking for will never be approved by my office anyway.” I don’t think the league could outright tell Boston to be reasonable, but Bud Selig could let the Red Sox owners know that this ain’t cool. And it occurs to me that if that had happened, the situation would look roughly identical to what it looks like now.

  • EQ76

    wow.. Haugh and Rosenbloom may be 2 of the most idiotic & nonsensical wiriters out there.. my word.

    • auggie1955

      Then throw in Rogers and Sullivan and the Trib’s Sports Dept really has very little to offer.

  • Mike

    And just for the sake of argument, it very well could be this ends in a hurry for say McNutt, Vitters and cash. Watch how some of these fickle writers especially one turns on a dime and criticizes Ricketts for overpaying.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      McNutt + Vitters + cash would still be too much.

      McNutt OR Vitters + Mid level prospect would be closer, but I don’t think McNutt is on the table.

      Carpenter OR Vitters + Mid level prospect is more like it. Carpenter+Flaherty, perhaps. Or Vitters+J. Jackson?

      • willis

        Carpenter+Flaherty+cash would be absolutely fine. Or a Cabrera/Jay Jackson starter. We don’t know if McNutt can be a solid MLB starter, but he has the potential to be a very, very good one. I would hate giving that up.

        And color me stupid, but I’m a Vitters believer. If it’s either or, I’d be ok with it based on the return of Epstein. But both would be too much.

  • ShootTheGoat

    Brett, Do you think Ricketts will actually give up McNutt or Vitters knowing that if all else fails we can get him next year?

    IMO, Why not keep your better prospects and stand steadfast knowing we can get him next year..I mean, we are going nowhere (probably) next year anyways, right?

    • Hawkeye

      Alot can happen in one year.   I think we should do what we can (within reason) to lock him up now.  Theo has been wishy washy in the past with the whole short term retirement thing in 2005.   I just don’t want to leave anything to chance.

      • ShootTheGoat

        Good point.  I just don’t want to trade Vitters since I think it finally clicked for him this year. (except for the whole taking-a-walk thing) I think if we could get a Byrnes for GM, he could be setting it up for Theo for next year IF the Sawx demands are too High..

        • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

          Hey man like why all the goat hate brother

          • ShootTheGoat

            No hate for you, MG….Just all the “Cursed” Goats..

        • Kyle

          Vitters still needs to develop power, plate discipline *and* defense in order to be a viable major league starter. Or at the very least, two of the three. I still like him as an intriguing prospect, but he’s a lottery ticket and not a near-ready guy like McNutt. I’d have no problem sending him to Boston.

    • CubsFanatic

      Like Hawkeye said, a lot can happen in one year. And not just one the major league level. Prospect scouting, signings, draft focus, ect can all be changed. (Probably for the better) I’d say Carpenter and half his remaining contract should be enough. But its Boston. I think that speaks for itself.

  • CubsFanatic

    I wonder if by some miracle, that if Epstein does become President of Baseball Operations, and he does look for a GM, could we possibly still get Freidman? What a dream come true that would be for me.

    • Bails17

      Highly unlikely!  In fact…I would say there is almost zero chance.

    • Hawkeye

      Looking past the Epstein move, does anybody else ready to work with San Deigo who has already come and said that they won’t be tools and stand in the way of either guy moving on from their organization.

  • Mike

    On the Vitters thing, there’s probably not a lot of doubt they would part with him, while McNutt might be a top 50ish prospect, he’s 22, he’s not a can’t miss or elite prospect and while I’m sure we like to keep him, at some level it takes two tango. Its easier to look at this more simplistically, if the object of your desire is to get a potential guy to build an elite tradition long term, what would you pay. Hendry though Garza was type of player and was willing to pay 5 prospects. I think while its arguable Garza and Epstein can create that argument and certainly one maybe 2 prospects of this type isn’t as excessive in that light.

    The other thing is both have holes. And in the case of McNutt he’s a pitcher and has a strong curveball, so shoulders and elbows are a huge risk. He was also not lights out at AA so we don’t know. Not can’t miss, not sure things, not necessarily complete, so while we might not like, either or both could go, and I certainly wouldn’t think any less of Ricketts if he believes in Theo is worth that much. Should they is an entirely different subject though. To promote someone, and when you factor Brett’s argument along with typical courtesy afforded in Baseball and that this isn’t done in other sports absent tampering is an entirely different answer and no.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Ignore McNutt’s season numbers for 2011. He dealt with some nasty blisters early, and then got in a bad collision that bruised some ribs and was not himself when he first came back from that. His last few starts were about what we would expect, but that is about all we can take away from McNutt’s season. His arm is fine, and he still projects as a front of the rotation starter / closer. He’ll start next season back in Tennessee, but should finish up in Iowa or Chicago.

  • NL_Cubs

    Brett, Very good recap of “Everything Epstein” currently rumored or otherwise in the underworld of Cubs Nation. Well done.

    As for David Haugh, he comes across time and time again as an under-informed wannabe “sports authority” who is about as dumb as a box of rocks. His “logic” is beyond humorous. Haugh regularly attempts to participate in Chicago sports team discussions and I’m continually amazed at how lame his contribution is.

  • Mike

    I understand your points. Do you really want to wait until 2013. A lot of things can happen in a year and mind rust to, things change and I’d bet Tom Ricketts isn’t looking forward to a month wait let alone 1 year. But its undoubtedly a high price but so is a year wait. Bringing it to a head is no easy thing. If the commissioner is ……….. then it makes it worse. So it’s going to be a risk either way, I think though remember the word projects. Projecting in baseball is even more of a russian roulette game than in football, where projecting draft picks has a pretty low success rate. And it’s far worse in baseball. Anyone here can rattle off 20 projected Cubs stars that really have never lived up to it and then we can point to some who have actually made it to the bigs who I don’t think any of us would blink if we sent them. No I wouldn’t send Jackson, but after that, there are plenty any two to end this and remove the risks on the Theo side I would’t struggle with.

  • Hawkeye

    Do we need to think about how many of these players are going to even make it under the new regime.   With Vitters having no walks and a lower OBP , is he going to get much playing time anyways?

    • EQ76

      Low OBP & no walks.. ha!  that sounds like most Cub players the past 20 years!  haha..

  • Dan0mite

    “if Epstein is to be the President of Baseball Operations, only – a clear promotion not available to him in Boston – why would the Cubs offer much of anything in the way of compensation?”

    This has been my thought since the Byrnes talk started. Perhaps this is the true reason for the stalemate. Ricketts knows that this is a promotion and that the Sox will look real bad when/if this comes out. So he is simply waiting them out.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    I’m told Buster Olney’s blog this morning has a tidbit about the Cubs and Epstein, but, as I am an “outsider,” I do not have the requisite “insider-ness” to read it.

    • Dan0mite

      Couldn’t you become an “Insider” and write it off (correct phrase?) your taxes as a business expense?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Maybe – but “writing it off” doesn’t mean it’s free; it just gives me a little tax deduction. Probably still not worth it given how infrequently there is anything “fresh” I actually want to read on it.

  • ari gold

    Here’s the post from Olney, Brett

    This is Day 7 or Day 8 — I can’t remember which — of the Boston-Cubs hostage crisis, with Theo Epstein’s future stuffed in a closet someplace. The Red Sox and Cubs need to find common ground, writes David Haugh.

    The Cubs have options if the Theo talks collapse, writes Phil Rogers.
    The perception that the Cubs are losing valuable time right now is laughable. We’re still about four weeks from the start of the GM meetings, and does anybody really think that Epstein is not already mentally preparing for the changes he wants to implement with Chicago? He’ll hit the ground running.

    Jed Hoyer could be targeted as Epstein’s No. 2 in Chicago, writes Dan Hayes. Here’s how it would make sense for Hoyer to leave the GM job of the Padres and become Epstein’s lieutenant: If Hoyer believes that the Padres are going to have difficulty progressing, and that his job would be on the line in the next year or two, this would be the ideal time to leave. Hoyer could go to Chicago, be in a better position for success with the Cubs than he is in San Diego because of the team’s resources, and then bounce to another GM job in a few years.

    Josh Byrnes, who is the No. 2 man in the Padres’ front office, worked for San Diego owner Jeff Moorad in Arizona, so there would be an easy transition there.

  • Mike

    I just read the Rosenbloom column, I have to admit I liked my Larry the weasel, but his Kim-Jong Henry line is pretty clever and has some accuracy, And I almost wet my pants laughing so hard. While his conclusions are all wrong, put together his Kim-Jong Henry and Larry the weasel and you have something.

  • Hawkeye

    Thank you ari gold for the inside information.

    Thank you Buster Olney for nothing new at all.   Not really considered insider information when all you do is regurgitate what others have already written.

  • jim

    its really a “nothing” news day. looks like we will now wait another week. patience does not come easy

  • CubFan Paul

    “ranked around 10th to 15th”

    who are the 10-15 2011 Cubs Prospects?

    im tired of the sloppy journalism mentioning mcnutt and b.jackson

    • JulioZuleta

      Depends who you ask. The Cubs system is a hard one to judge right now because our greatest wealth of prospects lies in the lower levels, and guys that far away are hard to rate/project. From 10-15 you’re probably talking about a guy like Ryan Flaherty or Marwin Gonzalez(he is lower in my book, yet inexplicably high on some people’s lists). Another issue that complicates things is that a lot of our high value guys came out of this years draft, so they can’t be dealt until next August.

      It’d be nice if we could pawn Hayden Simpson off on them under the guise of “a 2010 first round pick”

      • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

        I haven’t done my list yet, but names in the running for 10-15 could include:

        Rafael Dolis
        Alberto Cabrera
        Logan Watkins
        Welington Castillo
        Hayden Simpson (only this low because he lost his fastball this season; I still like this guy)
        Gioskar Amaya
        Aaron Kurcz
        Ben Wells
        and more, including some names from the 2011 draft who cannot be moved yet.

        I think Flaherty is more in the 20s, and Gonzalez outside the Top 30 altogether (though I still think he projects as a major league backup).

        • JulioZuleta

          Watkins and Simpson sounds fair to me…I want to hold on to Wells and Kurcz. Castillo is also expendable since we have Clevenger, although neither of them are stellar by any means. I’d like to keep Dolis too…I prefer him to Carpenter at this point.

          • CubFan Paul

            Carpenter has a 99mph fastball & a 92mph slider…

            • JulioZuleta

              And Dolis has a 101 mph fastball, 91 mph slider, and a change that is getting better and better. He also is 3 years younger, and just started pitching 4 years ago, AND one season since then was wiped out by Tommy John. Therefore, he has probably 7-9 less years of pitching experience then Chris Carpenter does. Also, Carpenter had a juvenile twitter tantrum after not being called up in September…but yeah, Paul, Chris Carpenter does have a 99 mph fastball and a 92 mph slider…

              • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

                I really wish the Cubs had kept Dolis as a starter. He’ll get to the majors faster in the bullpen, but I’d love to see him taking the ball every fifth day.

                • JulioZuleta

                  Yeah, hopefully Theo will change some of these guys back. I don’t get why we do this to every arm we get. The McNutt-bullpen whispers even are starting up. The value of a #3 type SP is so much higher than a good bullpen arm its ridiculous. We always get the same old thing “this guys throws 99…how would you like to see that in the 9th inning of a game?” Well, if they throw that hard, that should mean they can dial it back to 95-96 with ease and make it last for 6-7 innings. Very frustrating.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Fair list – I assume you have Marco Hernandez in the top 10? What about fringy pitchers like Raley/Rusin/Beeler/Struck/Jokisch/Loosen/Reed, etc.? A lot of those guys are really hard to rank. Mediocre production, but often at a young age for their level.

          This exercise has me reminded how much young talent the Cubs’ farm system has. Thin at the top, to be sure – but deeeeeeeep.

          • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

            That’s the depth that causes me problems when ranking. Hernandez I left off the above list simply because I wasn’t trying to list everyone. I actually Amaya better than Hernandez, but I won’t bother to defend that yet… it is way too early in their careers. I like Candelario better than either, but his numbers are so frighteningly good I try to avoid talking about him to hold down the hype.

            Of the pitchers you listed, I would rank them (today)
            Jokisch, Rusin, Struck, Beeler, Raley, Loosen, Reed. But any of them could emerge as back of the rotation starters or bullpen guys. Rusin could be the Cubs fifth starter coming out of spring training.

            It is tough to keep track of the Cubs depth. Wilken’s drafts may have been thin on star power when he had a tight budget, but he found major league caliber talent with a very high number of his picks. If the Cubs keep giving him $10 million+ to play with each year, this organization will be the best in baseball in three years.

      • CubFan Paul

        ..hayden simpson was tom ricketts first pick as owner ..ya know, when he sat back with a closed pocket book. wilkens & fleita had to over value a low round pick for the 1st ..unforgiveable in my book because the Farm would be a hell of lot better

        let the excuses begin

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Even if you’re right about how that played out, couldn’t you then argue that Ricketts recognized his mistake, and learned from it this year?

          • CubFan Paul

            definitely but Im quite sure he knew what he was doing in 2010 especially with Fleita & Wilkens in the room ..he went cheap on 2010 (the draft and big league team) & 2011 (the big league team, not the draft) so lets hope in 2012 & 2013 theres another $10-20million each year in the draft budget

            ..im no longer worried about the Big league payroll because it took care of itself with expiring contracts (the reason why Ricketts went cheap/waited to make a splash/spend)

        • JulioZuleta

          Ok, Paul. Will you at least give him credit for drafting a first round talent in the 14th round this year? I think this year’s draft makes up for last year’s for the most part.

          • CubFan Paul

            this years draft was great but the whole Year One (or whatever the marketing slogan was) still stings ..talk to me in 2014

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          Completely disagree on Simpson. Simply put, we don’t know yet what the Cubs have in Simpson. He was listed at 170lbs officially, but when I saw him pitch in Peoria he was no more than 145, and that is being generous. When the Cubs drafted him his fastball was in the low to mid 90s with movement. In Peoria, it was in the mid 80s at best. Basically, he lost his out pitch in his first season as a professional and still posted respectable K/BB and GO/AO ratios. He completely wore out halfway through the season… but then he lost a ton of weight over the winter and never got it back.

          Let’s see how he does next year when he is back at full strength and has his entire arsenal to work with before we write him off. The upside is still a guy with four pitches rated Average-Plus to Plus that he can throw for strikes, two rated as high as Plus-Plus, and very good command. I still see his ceiling as a #2 or #3 starter in the majors.

          • JulioZuleta

            I hope you’re right, but he was a 22 year old getting ROCKED in Rookie Ball. I know there were obvious health concerns, but you have to wonder if maybe he wasn’t realllly that sick. Why would the Cubs keep putting him out their to hurt his confidence if he really was 30 pounds lighter than his already-skinny frame. This year is absolutely make or break for him.

            • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

              I think the Cubs put him out there to force him to learn to pitch without his fastball.

              Onerei Fleita made some comments to someone at some point in the season… and I will try to find the link, but no promises… that one of the hardest things for most prospects to learn was how to get guys out without using their fastball. Basically, Fleita was taking advantage of Simpson’s weight loss to get him to learn now how to pitch without his fastball. We’ll see if that lesson pays off. 2012 will be make or break.

              And there is no doubt about his weight. I was only 13 rows up behind the Chiefs dugout when I saw him pitch, and it was startling how thin he was in the shoulders and chest, especially compared to the footage of him tossing in Wrigley when he visited the stadium after the draft. But even so, that curve was wicked. Only two batters made solid contact off him, everything else was ground balls or soft flies. Of course one of those two that was hit well flew a good 450 feet or so…

          • hardtop

            all i can say is the knowledge on this site is unparalleled and impresses me everyday. Brett thanks to you for somehow creating a place where nearly all contributions align with your own insightful and informative (yet somehow short) reports. the amount of crappy comment-ors is disproportionately low on BN… thanks to you and the rest of the community to keeping it that way.

            my only criticism: just because the season is over, and there are no more series previews, doesn’t mean that this place should be totally devoid of hot women! figure out a way to work it in. a half naked hottie a day keeps die hard away..

            • Fishin Phil

              “my only criticism: just because the season is over, and there are no more series previews, doesn’t mean that this place should be totally devoid of hot women! figure out a way to work it in.”

              Best idea of the day!

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              Ha. Thanks, HT.

            • http://www.michigangoat.blogspot.com MichiganGoat

              It has been a nice day so far full of short but informative post and comments that are intelligent and well thought out. I cant wait till all this Theo drama is done and we can start to have some real excitement and conversations about what the Cubs will be doing in the off season. Right now it’s like we’re all sitting on the runway waiting to take off but the ashole captain keeps telling us it will just be a few minutes (in a thick douchy Boston accent).

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                Perfect analogy.

                “Why ahh we still on the fahhking tahhmac?”

            • Katie

              Um, hellllllooooo! There’s plenty of us here!

              • TWC

                Uh, you’re a “half-naked hottie”?

                Tell us more.

  • Cliffy

    Gammons thinks deal will be finalized today announced friday. Was on WEEI just now.

    • JulioZuleta

      He venture any guesses as far as prospects?

  • Cliffy

    He said Cubs farm system is bottom 3 in baseball. A 10th rated cub would be 25th in Red Sox system. He mentioned McNutt in passing.

    • JulioZuleta

      Bottom 3??? Wow, I usually like Gammons, but he’s pretty far off on that one I’d say. Without knowing a ton about every farm system, I tend to think we are at least in the top 20, maybe top half. A year from now we will be knocking on the door of the top 10, 2 years, top 5. We need to draft starting pitching prospects in at least 3 out of the first 5 rounds this year.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      Bottom three is complete nonsense (unless you are only looking at Triple A). The Cubs have the FSL champion, the Southern League runner up, and a playoff team from the Northwest League to go with a top 10 draft and a strong international class. No sober/sane/unbiased analyst could stick that in the bottom three with a straight face. Gammons is better than this.

      I think the Cubs farm system is in the upper half, but not the upper quarter. Probably somewhere in the 12-15 range.

      In terms of depth, I think the Cubs are still one of the deepest systems, if not the deepest system, in all baseball. The problem is that nearly all of that depth projects as regular, everyday players or bench guys. That is extremely valuable, but the Cubs are lacking on star power in the mid to upper minors.

      The low levels look nice (Vogelbach, Candelario, Baez, Szczur, etc.) in the star department, but it’s too early to get a feel for how well they will pan out. When some of the Cubs higher ceiling talent start to demonstrate that they are likely to shine in the majors, the Cubs vault into a top five system. Right now, with a ton of depth but little star power, I think they are only in the upper half.

      • JulioZuleta

        Yeah, it appears old age has caught up to father-time over there. I think anywhere from 12-18 is fair. But I would be cautious to rate the system based on each team winning their respective level. A lot of our teams win because they have guys that are way too old for the level to even be considered prospects anymore. Remember, Bryan LaHair was the best minor league player in baseball this year…but we couldn’t trade him for more than a bag of balls and a stick of gum.

        • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

          Actually, if memory serves, both Tennessee and Daytona were among the youngest teams in their league. I should have mentioned that, because you’re right, some times teams do win with minor league vets (Sandberg’s Iron Pigs, for instance).

          But not in the case of Tennessee and Daytona.

          http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/league.cgi?id=eb42cf1f
          http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/league.cgi?id=eb42cf1f

          There are the end of year stats for each league, including average age. Daytona was younger than that (versus the league) for much of the year, particularly in the first half. Tennessee started a little older versus the league, but rapidly got young when the Cubs started aggressively promoting out of Daytona.

          • JulioZuleta

            Yeah, most of them were especially old at the beginning of the year and then got much younger (and worse) with mid-season promotions. You can’t just look at the average age though, you have to look at the major contributors. If you didn’t look at age, you would think the Cubs have all-world 1B prospects. But, Brian Lahair, Rebel Ridling, Justin Bour, Rick Jones, and Paul Hoilman were all wayyy too old for their respective levels, and predictably put up monster power numbers.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Yeah, Gammons does not know prospects. Bottom half? Sure. Bottom three? Chuckle.

  • Cliffy

    Keep in mind Gammons is a BoSox homeboy. On a Boston station doing his weekly segment. He might have phrased it differently if on a chicago station.

  • Hawkeye

    He could have phrased it by saying that the Cubs have the best farm system when held in comparison with the two other least strong clubs in baseball.

  • John Durbin

    This is what i pulled off the insider page from the MLB rumor section as of this morning.

    “Landing a job as a major league general manager isn’t easy. After all, there are only 30 of them. Jed Hoyer has one of those coveted posts, but there is speculation he might be willing to leave the San Diego Padres to work for the Chicago Cubs.

    Jon Heyman of SI.com reports the Cubs and Theo Epstein are said to have interest in Hoyer joining a baseball operations department they hope is headed soon by Epstein, his former boss in Boston. If that scenario were to unfold, Josh Byrnes, who has been working as VP of baseball operations in San Diego, would be elevated to GM.

    Heyman said Epstein could try to make it work by giving Hoyer the title of general manager while keeping the title of team president. But Hoyer would still be giving up at least some of the autonomy on baseball decisions that he has in San Diego.

    Dan Hayes of the North County Times reports the Cubs had not asked for permission to speak with any members of the Padres’ front office. Chicago is unlikely to make any requests until the hiring of Epstein is official.

    Byrnes had been rumored to be among the candidates for the Cubs’ GM job after Jin Hendy was fired. That was before Epstein entered the picture at Wrigley.”

    - Doug Mittler

    Buster Olney
    Why Hoyer would leave

    “Here’s how it would make sense for Hoyer to leave the GM job of the Padres and become Epstein’s lieutenant: If Hoyer believes that the Padres are going to have difficulty progressing, and that his job would be on the line in the next year or two, this would be the ideal time to leave. Hoyer could go to Chicago, be in a better position for success with the Cubs than he is in San Diego because of the team’s resources, and then bounce to another GM job in a few years.”

  • John Durbin

    this was also posted on the insider page from early this morning

    It has been more than a week since word leaked out that Theo Epstein was headed to Chicago. But talks between the Red Sox and Cubs over compensation for the general manager remain stalled and it will be at least Friday, a day off in the World Series, before an announcement is made, reports Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.

    Commissioner Bud Selig frowns on major news announcements during the World Series, which begins Wednesday. No one is suggesting that the deal will fall apart, but the time lag clearly suggests a major gap over compensation.

    The Red Sox initially wanted Cubs starter Matt Garza to be included as compensation for general manager Theo Epstein, but the Cubs refused, reports Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com.

    According to reports from Comcast Chicago, the Red Sox have started to focus their attention on 22-year-old right-hander Trey McNutt, one of the Cubs’ top pitching prospects.

    The Red Sox also are wary of Epstein taking too much of their front office talent to Chicago. Edes reports that, as things stand now, Epstein will be permitted to take one prominent member of the Red Sox organization with him to Chicago.

    - Doug Mittler

  • EQ76

    You know I’ve always like the Red Sox.. maybe it was because I hate the Yanks, or because they were our “cursed partner” for 8 decades.. but this whole bru-haha with compensation has me starting to view them the way I do Steinbrenner’s family and the Yanks.. a bunch of arrogant, greedy SOB’s who’d piss on their grandma’s for a dollar.. this all makes me like the Rays all the more in that division.

    • Fishin Phil

      I’m right there with EQ.  Used to love them, but they are really starting to piss me off.

      • Hawkeye

        I am right there with the two of you.   I even had a Red Sox t-shirt that I would wear every once in a blue moon.   As of this week, that t-shirt has been moved into the “things my wife can wear when she’s pregnant and nothing else fits” pile.

        • Bails17

          How about move it to the “things to wipe my ass with when I am out of toilet paper” pile!

          • Hawkeye

            Good thought, though not sure I want their emblem even grazing my skin at this point.

            • JulioZuleta

              I’m right there with you guys. I always thought the Red Sox and Cubs kinda had a bond, especially before the Sawx got their rings. Now, it seems like their true colors are shining. I think they might start to settle in to the #3 spot in the AL East for a long time.

              • Hawkeye

                Let this serve as a reminder to us that when we have won a couple of titles in the next decade to not become full of ourselves and turn into pretentious pricks.

  • BD

    Listened to Gammons… he is basically pro-Sawx on every point, including saying that the Cubs have more to lose by dragging on the negotiations. He’s not a homer at all.

    (“By the way, I was being sarcastic!” ~Homer J. Simpson)

  • Dumpman

    Compensation should be zero if Epstein is labeled “President of baseballs ops” as some / most speculate. Ricketts is no turd. He contacted the MLB on what fair compensation should be, and he sticking to his guns on this.

    Why would MLB support no compensation on this? Easy. Competetive balance. Whats to stop the Yankees / Red Sox from signing all the young Interms to long contracts and force smaller teams to trade a bunch of prospects to get them? Yanks would say “well look at what the Cubs gave up to the sox to get theo. We have that same right.”

    Ricketts is clearly not giving in, from reports of Garza to McNutt. Expect this to play out for as long as Ricketts feels he has to to get a fair deal.

    And Vitters is a definate NO. It appears he may have finally turned that corner. IF he did turn that corner, he could become that 30/100 guy that we thought we were drafting in the first place.

  • Lou

    Well, according to the Boston Globe as of 1 minute ago: According to a source familiar with the protracted negotiations, a resolution is “possible” by tomorrow, a World Series off day. And with commissioner Bud Selig’s approval, Epstein’s move to run the Chicago Cubs baseball operations finally may become official.

    At that time, the Red Sox [team stats] are expected to announce Ben Cherington as the replacement for Epstein as the team’s general manager.

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