Theo Epstein Squeal Watch: Expectations Officially Set for Tomorrow (UPDATE)

Another tease? Actually legit? I’ve created a monster of my own skepticism, such that I can’t even bring myself to bear you confidence in the face of numerous reports that Theo Epstein to the Cubs will finally be announced tomorrow on the World Series’ first off-day…

  • Dave Kaplan was the first to report last night that there had been major breakthroughs in the Epstein compensation discussions, and that, if Bud Selig grants permission, the Cubs would introduce Epstein as the newest member of the Cubs’ front office tomorrow.
  • Shortly thereafter, the Boston Globe and Boston Herald concurred. Of course, their “sources” could be the same as Kaplan’s – or could be Kaplan’s report, without a mention of Kaplan (some folks are unscrupulous like that) – so some measured caution is appropriate.
  • Not everyone is hearing the same thing, by the way. Hours after Kaplan’s report, Phil Rogers wrote this: ”With the sides apparently no closer to resolving the question of what Theo Epstein is worth to the Cubs, major league sources indicate Commissioner Bud Selig is monitoring the situation and weighing the need to try to facilitate a deal.” While I’m loathe to be optimistic, I think Kap’s probably a little closer to this one.
  • The Epstein compensation is expected to be a handful of prospects (two or more), but no one seems to know which prospects. Kaplan says it won’t include Major League players or Brett Jackson, which has been widely assumed for a while now. Because I might not get another chance to say it, let me say it now: from all that I’ve read and heard over this last week, I believe Red Sox President Larry Lucchino is being unreasonable in his demands. I also believe the Red Sox will get more from the Cubs than the probably should have, and that’s because of Lucchino’s unreasonableness. So, hasn’t he done a good job for his team? As a former litigator, this is all too familiar to me. The best argument didn’t always win in negotiations – too often, the bigger, more obstinate asshole won. And they were celebrated for it. Just something to think about when we, inevitably, curse Lucchino.
  • For his part, top Cubs pitching prospect Trey McNutt was surprised to hear his name come up in discussions. “I just thought it was a joke …. I just didn’t think [the Cubs] would trade me, because we need the starting pitching. But anything can happen. That’s just how the world works …. [The rumor] just caught me by shock. I just didn’t think my name would be brought up, so I’m just going to sit and wait and see. Nothing’s probably going to happen until after the World Series, so that’ll probably be this time next week. You just kind of sit around and wait. Either way, they’re both good organizations. If they do trade me, sometimes organizations have to do things they don’t want to do and that’s just the nature of the game.” Here’s hoping that, if McNutt isn’t dealt (and I remain hopeful that the Cubs won’t have to give up that caliber of talent), Tim Wilken and/or Oneri Fleita make a beeline for McNutt to tell him, “We were *never* going to trade you.” These things can engender negative feelings over a long enough period of time if not squashed.
  • Kaplan’s report is a good read for reasons other than the Epstein announcement. In it, Kaplan quotes someone who interviewed for the Cubs’ GM position, who speaks highly of the process and of Tom Ricketts. “I was very impressed with Ricketts’ openness and honesty to do whatever it takes to make the Cubs one of the elite franchises in all of baseball,” the GM candidate said. “He is focused on the organization as a whole, not just a quick fix to stabilize the major league club. He is fully prepared to spend significant dollars on baseball operations and he is going to allow the next GM total authority. I wish it was going to be me but they are getting a great one in Theo Epstein and he and his staff should have the ability to appropriate how they want to spend the budget which should be in the area of 150 million dollars including the draft and amateur signings.” Is there seriously any more doubt that Tom Ricketts is the right man to be in charge of this organization?
  • Chris DeLuca, long quiet on Cubs’ matters, tosses his bozo hat into the ring of blithering columns of late. He claims Cubs’ President Crane Kenney has been leading the Epstein discussions, and has been bungling them, something that is so unbelievable as to neuter anything else DeLuca writes. He adds that the Cubs screwed up by not finalizing compensation for Epstein with the Red Sox before inking Epstein to a deal, which is a contention I’m deeply tired of hearing. Do people REALLY believe the Cubs just didn’t think about it? “Oops! Totally forgot about that whole compensation thing! Can we still work it out?” What’s far more believable - and what I’ve heard from sources – is that the parameters of an appropriate amount of compensation was outlined by the two sides before the Red Sox granted the Cubs permission to speak to Epstein. But when it came time to finalize that compensation, either one side changed its position, or, to be more kind, there was a fundamental disagreement about what those previously-agreed parameters actually meant.
  • UPDATE: Bruce Levine says the deal is almost done, and there will be a press conference tomorrow. (Inhale…)
  • UPDATE 2: Levine (and Kaplan) are now backing off their reports, saying things are still being worked out. I’m listening to Levine on the radio now, and it sounds like he’s pinning it on the Red Sox. From the sound of things, whatever hold-ups exist, they are coming from Boston, and they are not particularly reasonable. Levine also made it sound like some of our suspicions that the Red Sox are trying to use these discussions as an opportunity to save some face after all of the bad news (of their own making) are correct.

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

151 responses to “Theo Epstein Squeal Watch: Expectations Officially Set for Tomorrow (UPDATE)”

  1. Ryan

    If I remember right, I believe the Jim Hendry press conference was streamed live on the CSN Chicago site. Usually, 670 The Score will cut in to carry it live on the radio as well.

  2. jfish1219

    Deal done, Deal not done Deal done, Deal not done Deal done, Deal not done, Deal done, Deal not done…..MY BRAIN HURTS MAKE UP YOUR DAM MINDS

    1. King

      It is probably done, but the two teams are trying to plug the leaks to avoid having to speak to Bud Selig.

  3. rocky8263

    I have followed the impending hiring of Theo on Bleachernation and of course read the local news stories. I am amazed how stupid all these writers are and how far out of the loop they are. The only exception is David Kaplan. The sad part is the general public takes these guys stories as gospel when in reality they are closer to the National Inquirer.

  4. Jason

    This Lucchino guy is a supreme asshole.

    And I still think that if we are getting asked to give up too much, we should walk away. The best way to deal with a bully is to be a bully. I’m not giving BJax, I’m not giving McNutt, I’m not giving Sczcur, and after his performance in the AFL, I’m not giving Lake.

  5. jim

    as frustrating as it is right now..it will be most intersting seeing the real truths leak out once this ordeal is finally complete

  6. MichiganGoat

    That will be a real pleasure I expect to read all kinds of reports about how much of a douche LarryLou has been in Boston.

  7. Montelle

    The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are finalizing a deal that would make Theo Epstein the Cubs’ president of baseball operations at some point Thursday, according to a baseball source.

    A source with knowledge of the negotiations said: “The two sides are on the 5-yard line.”
    Major League Baseball already has told the Cubs that they can have a news conference Friday to introduce Epstein, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

    http://m.espn.go.com/mlb/story?storyId=7126311&localId=chi&wjb=

  8. Montelle

    But the expected agreement will include Cubs minor leaguers, although not top prospects Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt or Matt Szczur, the source said. Cash will not be part of the compensation.

    The Red Sox would not confirm a deal is imminent. In fact, owner John Henry told the Boston Globe that a deal is “not close.” Still, an official with one of the teams involved suggested it was possible an agreement has been reached, but that it would be unlikely for either the Cubs or Red Sox to make an announcement before the Red Sox review the medical records of the player or players they will be receive.

    Sources confirmed to ESPNChicago.com and ESPNBoston.com that San Diego Padres general manager Jed Hoyer will be named Cubs GM a few days after Epstein’s news conference.

    Hoyer will be granted permission to leave when San Diego promotes senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes to vice president/GM, a source said. Byrnes was GM of the Arizona Diamondbacks when Padres owner Jeff Moorad was part-owner of that team. Sources said Moorad has wanted Byrnes to return to the job, even though he respected Hoyer, whom he hired in 2010.

  9. Hawkeye

    Just was told by a friend the Levine was just on ESPN reporting live that deal was done?!?!

    1. Fishin Phil

      Don’t toy with me.  My heart can’t take much more of this crap!

  10. Jason

    Kap’s interview with the GM candidate did a very great job of portraying Ricketts in a positive light. After all of this is over, maybe he will finally get the credit he deserves from the fans and media.

  11. King

    There is too much reporting then pseudo-retracting going on for this to be anything other than the league getting pissy that all this news is coming out on a World Series game day.

    1. Rancelot

      World Series? They still playing? Nobody north of the Mullet-Double Wide line is paying any attention. Btw, I have accomplished NOTHING at work today. Seriously thinking about cancelling my 4 o’clock conference call!

      1. Dave

        They play games after September. Well what do you know. Our team should get in this soon…………..

  12. Mike

    Seems like typical last minute posturing. And yes Brett you are correct, after this finalized they will dump on Theo. From what I’m seeing sounds a little definitional, lawyerly parsing of words depending on sources involved. Again typical. And the hold appears medical approval on the prospects meaning at least one is likely a pitcher with some history of arm or other issues. all typical and all to be expected. As is ultimately a ride through the mud for Theo.

    I think it was to be expected to be a choppy day and until Theo takes the podium it’s going to be this way. Actually the most important thing to realize is Hoyer basically has the job, compensation settled-none, and Byrnes is their new GM and we haven’t even had a formal interview. Speaks volumes of the Red Sox organization.