If you’re anything like me, you’re sick of hearing about the Theo Epstein compensation fight with the Red Sox.
It was a necessary piece of the Theo-to-the-Cubs puzzle back when, so it was compelling for a while. “Leverage” and all that. Even after Epstein officially came to the Cubs, it was an interesting issue – how much would Epstein say he’s worth? Will the Commissioner be forced to settle the issue? Which prospect might the Cubs lose?
Well, that was a while ago. And the issue drags on. At last check, the Cubs and Red Sox were meeting on the fight this week at the GM meetings, but, apparently, the Commissioner is no closer to interceding. As long as the discussion progress amicably, there are extensions aplenty.
But, despite those amicable discussions between the actual parties, some in the Boston media are still beating the war drums as if it were mid-October, and Theo Epstein were still doing paperwork on Yawkey Way. From the Globe:
The Red Sox asked for ace righthander Matt Garza. They asked for young shortstop Starlin Castro, as this correspondent had proposed.
They were rebuffed on those requests, but when the agreement was reached to let Epstein go, as a Red Sox source reiterated yesterday, the understanding was that Boston would receive a “significant’’ return….
The last thing MLB wants is to set a precedent in such matters by reassigning a player.
It’s difficult to predict whether MLB would want to discourage the future raiding of staffs by making the Cubs surrender a significant player, or whether they would go the midrange prospect route, which may upset the Red Sox but satisfy the Cubs….
The Cubs need to protect some of their better players or get top value for them in trade. Epstein could be open to dealing Garza, for instance, but he would have to get a great return. Would this type of deal constitute compensation?
The Cubs have other intriguing players, such as closer Carlos Marmol, who blew 10 saves last season but has electric stuff. Marshall is an intriguing setup man, and outfielder Tyler Colvin, a lefthanded hitter, belted 20 homers in part-time duty two years ago, though he has yet to really blossom.
Would righty Jeff Samardzija be considered “significant’’? Samardzija went 8-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 75 games with a WHIP of 1.29. He has been a reliever but is projected by some as a future starter. At age 26, the former Notre Dame receiver could be an intriguing player to the Red Sox.
There is a prospect in Chris Carpenter, who could be a starter or a reliever. Or the Sox could take a chance on returning starter Andrew Cashner.
There are just so many things glaringly wrong with those excerpts. I can handle only a couple.
The Red Sox are not – I don’t know how many times this must be said – going to get a meaningful player from the Cubs’ big league roster. It simply isn’t going to happen. Sure, the two sides could broker a trade, in which the compensation issue is subsumed, but getting Samardzija or Cashner straight up as compensation for Epstein? Utterly ridiculous.
It’s difficult to predict whether MLB would want to discourage future raiding of staffs? Seriously? That’s how you frame the issue? MLB isn’t worried about “raiding of staffs” for promotions! MLB is worried about teams like the Red Sox hoarding talent and then demanding “significant” compensation when they try to leave for a promotion. Do you really have to ask how MLB would prefer this to play out? If you do, you either haven’t been paying attention … or you’re hopelessly biased.
The Red Sox deserve compensation for Epstein. No one disputes that. And the compensation should be on the order of a good prospect or two – I said as much the day Epstein was rumored to be coming to the Cubs, and nothing has changed since then. Hell, I’m probably being generous, given the dramatic shift in “leverage.”
But, however it plays out – and however long it takes – the ridiculousness must stop. If for no other reason than ridiculous statements about the compensation issue force me to write about it, and force you to read about it. And, I think we can all agree: we’re tired of it.
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