After months of back and forth – first highly contentious, and then more amicable – the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox have, apparently, reached the limit of their cordiality when it comes to deciding on the value of one year of Theo Epstein’s services.

According to Gordon Wittenmyer, the teams have reached out to the Commissioner’s Office to settle their dispute, something the Commissioner has said he would be open to doing for some time now.

Back in late October, when the dispute was at its most ugly, it looked like Commissioner Bud Selig was going to settle the dispute for the parties. But, a couple weeks later, with the two sides apparently discussing things more calmly once Epstein and new Boston GM Ben Cherington took over, the Commissioner extended the talks indefinitely.

Apparently those talks have reached an impasse (which would explain why, last week, Epstein was doing some serious lawyering about the issue during a radio interview – he’s clearly ready for this fight). One source says it was Red Sox President Larry Lucchino who first reached out to Selig about finally settling the issue about a month ago.

No one knows exactly what Selig will do, or when he’ll do it. It seems a fair bet that each side will be afforded an opportunity to present their case (and, as the Epstein lawyering link demonstrates, the better arguments are clearly on the Cubs’ side), and Selig’s office will either order a certain player/certain amount of cash to head to the Red Sox, or he’ll lay out strict parameters for a settlement (i.e., Cubs, you must choose one of these three players to give the Red Sox by X date).

I’ve believed all along that the Red Sox should get a good prospect for Epstein (one year of Epstein, since we’re all about contract lengths these days – he was a free agent after the 2012 season), and I’d go so far as to say a top 10 to 15 prospect is fair.

I don’t know that the Cubs will have to give up quite that much at this point, though. As I’ve said before, Selig is not going to want to set a precedent that promoting executives from Team A to Team B is going to cost Team B an arm and a leg because Team B might be a small market club, and Team A may be trying to game the system by paying top dollar and hoarding executive talent. That just ain’t Selig’s game.

You’ll note that the Cubs and Padres have not yet settled their compensation issue tied to Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, either.

  • Fishin Phil

    Here you go Larry, Marcos Mateo.  Seeya, Bye!

    • cubs4life

      That sounds good to me..

      • ced landrum

        I’m not super high on Mateo.  He would be fine for compensation, but there seems to be a great deal of distaste on this site for him.  I actually think he is alright.  He has great movement on his pitches.  He is oldish.  He has struggled with control in the majors, he was better in the minors.

        • Deer

          Mateo was on his way to being a good bullpen guy until Quade pitched him 5 innings in a meaningless game and his shoulder blew up a couple days later.

  • ty

    Hoping that the Cubs do not give up Josh Vitters yet at same time realizing American League might be best for him .

  • Dean

    What is your reasoning for believing the Cubs should give up a top 10-15 prospect? There is no precedent for that high level of a prospect for a lateral move, let alone a promotion. Can you elaborate a little? What do other Cubs fans think?

    • Brett

      That’s not exactly what I said. I said the Red Sox deserve a “good” prospect, and I could see even as high as a top 10/15 being fair. But, fair question.

      The justification is, to me, relatively simple: the Cubs got a valuable asset, under contract with another team. They owe some value for that. As for the amount – notwithstanding Epstein’s artful recharacterization of the situation – the MacPhail/Trinidad situation is a perfect comparison. He was the GM of the Twins, and the Cubs brought him in as President. They gave up a pitching prospect who was ranked anywhere from 10 to 20 in the system, depending on whom you asked.

      • hansman1982

        I guess I disagree that the Sox deserve a top 10-15 prospect.  Sure in the Cubs org that could potentially mean a C+ prospect but I don’t think that top 10-15 is warranted when an executive gets a promotion. 

        Removing the fact that Theo is considered to be one of the best in the business and got a promotion to the top decision maker in the organization the compensation should be 25-30 in the Cubs org. 

        That might not be much, but it keeps the precedent low or else teams will start demanding top 10-15 compensation from systems like the Royals and Rays when their Asst. GM gets hired to be a GM somewhere.

        Basically, Bud stepping in is the best thing possible for the Cubs.

        • Dean

          I agree.

        • BetterNews

          That I can go along with.

        • cubsnivy56

          I hope we can trust him to be fair.  He is a Brewer at heart!

      • keith

        i think the whole compensation for non baseball players is pointless. if that is the case we should owe prospects for every single executive, scout, and bat boy we took from the sox and the padres. theo was promoted, he didn’t take a lateral position.

    • JulioZuleta

      Yeah, the longer this has dragged on, the less and less I think the Sox should get.  When does it end?  Are we now going to require compensation if a team hires another team’s pitching coach to be their new manager?  I think Selig will set the bar very very low.  Maybe Dave Sappelt and a million bucks.

      • hansman1982

        Dave Sappelt and a couple million would NOT be low level compensation.  Think a C level prospect that is currently in some form of A ball.

        • JulioZuleta

          I would be ok with Sappelt. He’s a fourth outfielder type; I’d rather give him away than a “low level C” guy like Torreyes.  I guess I’m a little more of a gambler, but I’d rather give up the guy who is a major leaguer, albeit one with a low ceiling, than a young wild card that could shoot up the rankings in a year or two.  What I’m saying is I don’t think 5 years from now anyone would be losing sleep over losing Sappelt, meanwhile you could see someone like Torreyes hitting .325 and stealing 50 bags.  I know very unlikely, and he’s much less likely to make the majors, but still.

          • hansman1982

            Ya, I just don’t like the idea of giving up someone in the major leagues, sets a dangerous precedent.  Dealing in the realm of what ifs, by the time the Cubs are looking for their next PBO/GM it could be that acceptable compensation for hiring another teams top executives could be a top 5 prospect.

            • Cubbie Blues

              I disagree. I believe they do deserve someone in the majors. In my opinion the proper compensation is Soriano and his contract.

              • hansman1982

                very good point…

              • cubsnivy56

                I like the way you think!

  • Bacon

    One supplemental draft pick or one back up low level rookie player. There’s no way that Selig makes the Cubs give much. If he does like you’ve said before he sets a precedent so it’ll be low like it should be.

  • TonyP

    I don’t believe we should have to give the Red Sox jack.  It was not a lateral move.

    • eporter34

      I agree completely. As Theo said, the ONLY reason that there should be compensation in this instance, is because someone agreed to giving compensation. Does a team get compensation when their bench coach, or their 3rd base coach, or their pitching coach becomes the manager of another team? None that I can recall, but I could be wrong. I don’t believe the Cubs should have to give up a thing. Certainly not a top 15 prospect or a million dollars. It should be VERY minimal and that is only because it was agreed upon that compensation would be given.

  • SouthernCub

    Perhaps its just me, but it seems that Larry Lucchino might be a bit of an ass and is probably the main cause of this issue not being settled 3 months ago.

    • JulioZuleta

      It’s not just you, he’s an ass.

  • TongueInCheek

    In regard to the possible future of some of our “new” younger pitchers we can hope for a maturing that will lead to good/great things. I remember thinking, when the Dodgers come to town, I hope Kolfax pitches as he can’t get the ball over the plate. The Cubs will win!

  • MichiganGoat

    I’m starting to think it will be a cash settlement, Bud will evaluate the cost of 1 year of the average cost of a GM ad 25% and be fine with this. I think paying 125% of Theo’s 2012 deal with the Red Sox is fair doesn’t cost any prospects and everything is done. Anyone know what Theo was going to make this year in Boston?

    • TWC

      I thought it was ~ $3, $3.5m.  That seems an awful lot more than a #15 prospect would make over the next 5 years or so.

    • hansman1982

      I thought we already paid the 2012 contract to the red sox?

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    I think someone screwed up and should have given the RS Bianchi. if we didn’t want him enough to let him get snatched up immediately.

    • hansman1982

      there has to be mutual desire in this deal.

      I am not sure how the offseason waiver process works but if they use the standings as of the last day of the regular season then the Red Sox would have been able to grab Bianchi if they wanted him

  • Tommy

    They can have Crane Kenney.

    • TonyP

      Crane is most likely the cause of all this anyway.

  • JR 1908

    I never understood why the 2 teams thought the trade could be worked out in good faith anyways. Once Theo to the Cubs became official the Sox lost all leverage. The deal should have been made before Theo came over. Why would the Cubs give up anything decent when Theo was already a Cub? Just to be nice..

  • JR 1908

    I just don’t get why a team has to give up anything to promote someone from another organization anyways. In the NFL the Raiders are interviewing Bears new O.C., Mike Tyce for their head coaching vacancy. Should the Bears be owed a high draft pick, or good young player if Tyce is highered??

    Why is baseball the only sport that has such weird ways…

  • FromFenwayPahk

    Red Sox in need of a short term left fielder (who doesn’t need to run fast, our left field is tiny) who might eventually become a DH…

  • die hard

    “Good planning” by Ricketts who is used to corporate raiding and other getting his way moves in his corporate world but took on more than he expected in the baseball world….two different universes…shows his lack of experience and moreover his arrogance that he can do whatever he wants as he obviously does in his world…hopefully commish wont come down too hard on Ricketts for stealing other teams’ execs…but as Ricketts may discover, vulture capitalism has no place in baseball….

  • MichaelD

    Am I the only one who is worried that Bud might give the Red Sox more in compensation because of his past connections to the Brewers? In other words, that he would use his position to cripple the Cubs, a direct rival of the Brewers.

    And just to make the point, I do realize he does not have any current direct connection with the ownership of the Brewers.

    • Ron Swanson

      I think a stronger influance on Bud will be other owners not wanting a precedent for unreasonably high compensation set for promotions. Bud will make the call but it would be naive to think that there will not be a lot of opinions thrown his way to consider.

    • SweetJamesJones

      Dont let the Emperor’s dark Jedi mind tricks get to you Michaeld :)

  • ferrets_bueller

    I think the reason why this has gone on so long, and the reason why it is going to the Commissioner, is because Ben Cherrington has no choice otherwise.  He can’t make a fair deal with the Cubs, because the wannabe-puppetmaster Lucchino won’t allow it.  Lucchino is just as delusional and manipulative as ever, and Cherrington would be in serious trouble if he settled for a fair compensation.  As a result, the only choice he has is to have Selig save him from his ahole boss.

  • die hard

    Where has sanctity of contract gone? Ricketts should be sued for intentional interference with contract as they were under contract. Even if given consent to talk to them he was not given unconditional consent. The consent was conditioned on reasonable and fair compensation. If the parties agreed to submit to commish as binding arbitration from which there is no appeal, the commish may be under pressure to award more than you may think. Otherwise he sets precedent to raid teams of their execs which would cause chaos. Ricketts may be surprised as to the cost of his slash and burn tactics. And if the submittal to the commish is not binding arbitration then his decision is only advisory. If both dont accept then there will be a lawsuit. And that wont be good for baseball. This aint over til its over as Yogi would say.

    • BetterNews

      Bottom line is the compensation has to be “reasonable”. Theo is an attorney and as Brett had stated earlier, Theo has expessed his opinion on compensation and the reason/reasons for his conclussion. I don’t see Boston getting much. I don’t even see Boston getting the top 10-15 prospect Brett had noted.

      • Pat

        Actually, the quote at the time the teams agreed to deal with the compensation after the fact, was that the compensation would be “significant”

        • Brett

          It still amazes me that the two sides never thought to make things a little more concrete at the time, other than to say “significant.” That can mean 10 different things to 10 different people.

          • Pat

            Exactly. You are talking about pretty major corporations here. Incomes between 250 mil and over half a billion. The fact that not one of these companies, but both of them, let a deal go through without agreeing to terms is utterly mind-boggling to me.

            • BetterNews

              Not really when you think about it. Compensation was gonna be “insignificant” and neither team was concerned. Now Boston is trying to make it sound like there was more promised. It’s just a “tactical” move on Bostons’ part, nothing more. Don’t frett!

      • Sully777

        Better: That sounds good to me, but keep in mind-Theo is not making the ultimate decision. Lucchino and crew will have their day to weigh in on this as well. It’s funny, upon Theo’s initial arrival-I was one of many that were willing to give up a reasonable prospect in order for the boys to take over the ship. Now that he’s here, my definition of reasonable has “shifted” considerably… Let’s hope it’s ultimately more along the line’s of the McPhail comp, or Byrd as I threw out.

        • BetterNews

          I am not an attorney, but I have been involved in my fair share of legal issues. For sure the big question is what is “reasonable” and how Bud Selig views the matter. This issue is far bigger than a Chicago/Boston thing. I don’t see this thing as an issue that’s going to explode. I don’t thing anybody has any interest in that. I think it gets settled amicably.

          • Sully777

            Better: To your credit, you took the best punches the posters had to throw at you last night, and you’re back in the mix tonight. However, the “my fair share of legal issues” comment may put you back in the spotlight(HaHa). On a serious note, it was encouraging to see Baez is going to be listed in the Top 10 SS Prospects for 2012 on Looking forward to keeping closer tabs on Iowa, Tenn, Daytona, Peoria, etc. this summer.

            • BetterNews

              Yes, I got beat up pretty bad. I was slapped silly(lol). Did not know Baez was top ten, thanks for sharing. I’ll be keeping track .

  • Sully777

    Brett: Can’t disagree with your thoughts on reasonable compensation for Theo; but as a Cub fan I’m obviously rooting for a different outcome. Any chance Byrd could end up being the BoSox compensation? He would fill a need for them; while at the same time helping to facilitate Jackson’s highly anticipated arrival. Also, do you think there is a legitimate chance the Tigers could be in on Soriano? Thanks.