Updates on the Chicago Cubs’ managerial search and offseason plans coming later this morning. Until then, bullets…

  • Red Sox GM Ben Cherington conceded yesterday that it is possible a trade between the Cubs and Red Sox could include within it a resolution of the outstanding compensation for Theo Epstein issue. In other words, it’s possible that the Cubs could trade to the Red Sox Player X and the Red Sox would send back Player Y and a release of the “compensation debt,” for lack of a better term. I doubt it will come to that, considering all of the moving parts, but it’s interesting to think about the combinations.
  • The compensation issue will not be resolved by way of the managerial search, Cherington added. Some had speculated that the Cubs would let the Red Sox have their first choice of manager as compensation for Theo, but Cherington says the issues will be kept separate. As I’ve said before: the Red Sox want something tangible to which they can point for losing Epstein. The two sides will continue to talk this week, but we’re fast approaching a time when Bud Selig will throw up his hands and say enough is enough.
  • Theo and Jed are set to meet with Starlin Castro for the first time this weekend, but it doesn’t sound like the two sides are planning on discussing a big-money contract extension quite yet.
  • A well-timed article from Tom Verducci on the success/failure of Japanese stars when transitioning to MLB. This will get its own write-up as the Cubs’ interest in Yu Darvish progresses (presumably), but I thought it worth getting in front of you now, in case you’d like to read the whole thing. Very interesting stuff.
  • Ryne Sandberg may wind up back in AAA with the Phillies after failing to land a managerial job this Winter. MLB coaching positions do not appear to be opening up for Sandberg, for whatever reason.
  • The Astros signed another Cubs’ minor league free agent, IF/OF Scott Moore. Together with Brad Snyder, the Astros have their middle of the lineup when they face the Cubs.
  • CBA negotiations are on hold for the upcoming owners’ meeting (tomorrow), but sources say a deal is close, and could be finalized soon thereafter. As for the details, not all executives are on board with the proposed changes to the draft and free agent compensation (the rumored changes include a cap on spending in the draft and the elimination of draft pick compensation for departed free agents). The changes, one executive said, “are incredibly short-sighted and will hurt many clubs.” Another executive said teams should be able to decide if spending heavily on draft picks is their preferred vehicle to achieve competitiveness.
  • Thanks to your input on an inaugural Bleacher Nation t-shirt, I’ve come up with a rough idea of what I’m going to go with. It’s going to be simple, include the site logo, and a short, relatable slogan. Makes sense for the first shirt – we can get a little more creative in the future with additional shirts, should it come to that. So, to that end, I’ve played around with the design, but I’m reaching the extent of my skillz, and could use some help from any photoshoppers/graphic designers out there. Details on the Message Board here.
  • JulioZuleta

    Bud needs to step in now, I am so beyond tired of reading about it, as I’m sure you’re tired of writing about it.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      It now falls into the “I have to write about it” category, rather than the “I get to write about it” category.

      • JulioZuleta

        And the “I have to read it”. Gotta be awkward for Cherington, basically he goes to Henry with an offer from the Cubs and he says “No, we want way more. The dropoff from Theo to you is huge, so we want huge compensation.” I know that’s not exactly how it goes, and it’s mostly them wanting to punish the Cubs and Theo, but still, seems like it could make for some awkward situations. I’m sure Ben just wants to settle it and move on.

        • CubFan Paul

          u may have nailed Theo’s arguement Julio “Ben, the dropoff from me to you isn’t great, The Sawx are in great shape, I won’t be missed, because this is what you were trained for”

  • Toosh

    A manager isn’t “tangible”? Spooky! As for a possible trade settling the compensation issue, trade Marmol for prospects. It’ll never happen though.

    • JulioZuleta

      That’s what I was thinking. See what the best offer you can get for him from another team is, and then offer the Red Sox a slight discount.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      The difference between two managerial candidates – which is what the Cubs would be “giving” to the Red Sox – is not tangible.

  • die hard

    And you all laughed when I insisted Red Sox pay us compensation for taking on Theo’s bonus and last yr of contract. Ricketts must be reading this blog which is good. Trade will disguise this payment by Red Sox to allow them to save face. Finally, a shrewd move by Cubs.

  • nonesuch

    if the Theo compensation may be rolled into a trade, what are the realisitic trade possibilities? minor leaguers only or do we go back to Soriano for Crawford speculation?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Best guess would be something like Marmol for a prospect and a release of the compensation obligation. Something like that.

  • ISU Birds

    I would much rather see someone like Burhle, Beurlhe, Buerhle…… I can never remember, anyways I would rather see someone who is proven than Yu Darvish the Japanese players have been way too inconsistent to give a big contract to. I don’t want another He Seop Choi. If he does come watch out for third base lines Yu.

    • Deer

      From a fellow Redbird, that was a really stupid post man..wrong on so many levels.

    • Kyle

      Choi was not Japanese, he was Korean.

      I share the concern in general for mature foreign players making the transition. The chance of getting the next Ichiro-quality player is so enticing, but the bust rate is hard to ignore.

      • EQ76

        Reminds me of that time on “King of the HIll” when Hahn says he’s Laoacian and Hank asks “so are you Chinese or Japanese” …

        • ISU Birds

          Sorry I was confused about Choi’s nationality but still I stand by my statement that the chance that Darvish will be a bust is way higher than him being a success.

          • hansman1982

            really he is no different than any potential prospect.  granted there are higher dollar amounts involved but I think you have to take chances on these guys providing they fit.

            It is like signing a prospect that has a ceiling of perennial Cy Young winner and an absolute floor of #4-5 guy.

            I am still not 100% certain that Japanese players will ever be successful en masse after spending their developmental years in Japan but you never know when you will find the Nomo and Ichiro’s of the world.

            • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

              That’s an interesting way of thinking about it: Darvish is very well-thought-of, heavily-scouted, older prospect. How much do you pay for someone like that? Well, you do your homework, try to project as best you can, and see how the market plays out. And that’s what the Cubs will do.

              • Kyle

                I’d pay 40-50% of his projected peak value. If all goes well, he projects as a strong No. 2 starter, something like CJ Wilson, so I’d be willing to pay (in total, combined salary and posting fee) something like half of what Wilson will likely get.

            • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

              I agree. There is a measure of risk in any prospect (or free agent for that matter), and you never quite get what you are expecting. Sometimes guys exceed all expectations, and sometimes they miss completely. Scouts get paid the (sort of) big bucks to tell the difference between those two categories, and the scouts are just about all agreed that Darvish could be something special.

              If the Cubs can get him into a contract that has a per year value in the $10 million to $12 million range, I’d do the deal regardless of the size of the posting fee. That range is still acceptable for a good mid-rotation starter and is cheap for an ace. If Darvish excels, the Cubs get a bargain, and if he doesn’t they still have him on a reasonable year deal. The posting fee is one time expense, and this winter the Cubs have money to work with.

              Now if Darvish’s agent insists on a $16 million a year deal, I think I’d stay away. So far, though, that’s not what I’m hearing.

              • CubSouth

                I believe the Cubs or any other team willing to sign Hu should give him his $16 million or so a year for say, 2 seasons. That way he gets paid well, and the winning team only has a 2 yr contract if he’s a bust, and if not, he’s get 2 possibly 3 great contracts while playing in the GREAT U.S. I agree that teams should do their homework and projecting talent wont be easy, but, I also believe that a player should prove he has the stuff and teams shouldn’t give in to lucrative contracts until after the player has proven his abilities on an MLB field.

      • Lou

        That and Theo still is smarting from the whole Dice K thing.

  • Spencer

    With all of the talk Theo/Jed have mentioned with respect to playing defense and fundamentals, and the statement that by allowing Ramirez to go they lose offensively but get better defensively…does anyone think that they view Castro as somewhat of a liability with all of the trouble he has had playing SS? I’m not suggesting that the Cubs are going to actively seek out a trade for him, but I don’t think moving him if the return is right is completely off the table like many people assume.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Maybe. But people still believe that Castro could develop into a good – not just average – defensive shortstop. Just like his bat skills are still developing, so, too, might be his defense.

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      The return for Castro would have to be ridiculously large. His defense is about right for a shortstop his age, and his offense is well ahead of that.

      I’m having a hard time coming up with a comparable player at a comparable age being traded. If the return were high enough he could certainly be moved, but I’m not even sure where to start the bidding.