Oh No! AL GM Says Selig Will “Give the Red Sox a Significant Player” … Stop. Breathe.

Buried at the very end of a column this morning, Boston Globe writer Nick Cafardo dropped a mini bomb of a quote about the Theo Epstein compensation issue that has set a number of Chicago Cubs’ fans’ heads spinning:

The Cubs and Red Sox will soon meet with a representative of the Commissioner’s Office or the commissioner himself to discuss the Epstein compensation issue. The best school of thought on this comes from an AL GM who is not associated with either team: “I think the commissioner will give the Red Sox a significant player. I don’t think MLB wants executives leaving their teams before their contracts are up and therefore he will try to deter teams from doing that again.’’

Let me offer you several reasons to remain calm in the face of what might, without review, seem like a troubling quote.

First and foremost, this unnamed GM is just guessing. The Cubs and Red Sox don’t even know what the compensation is going to be, so it isn’t as though the front office of some other team has Selig on the line, prying from him the most intimate details of his plans for the case. Might it be an educated guess? Sure. But might it also be …

A guess with an agenda? Of course. There’s always an agenda. Here, this particular GM clearly is in a position not to want his executives to leave his organization – for promotion or otherwise – unless his team gets significant compensation. What kind of GM/organization might that be? Probably a big market club with a large front office of expensive talent under contract for a long time. This GM is undoubtedly sending a message to Selig. But the problem is …

An organization in that position doesn’t need Selig’s protection. If he doesn’t want executives under contract leaving, there’s an easy solution: don’t say yes to the interview.  If you’ve got a guy under contract, that’s the end of it unless you choose for it not to be. Viewed through that lens, can you not see how ridiculous this GM’s quote is? That’s why you can be sure that this GM’s statement is all about …

Getting a competitive advantage. Those teams that have a store room full of front office talent under contract don’t need Selig to “protect” them by requiring “significant” compensation. They’re the ones with the guys under contract – that’s why they’d love for a precedent of “significant” compensation to be set. They could start selling off their hot shot young executives to the highest bidder. (The Cubs didn’t “steal” Epstein, and Epstein didn’t “abandon” the Red Sox. The Cubs asked for an interview to promote Epstein, and the Red Sox said yes. A legitimate dispute exists about how much the Cubs promised the Red Sox should they ultimately hire Epstein, but that’s an entirely separate issue from what Selig wants to promote as a matter of policy when executives change teams.) If these kind of big market teams don’t need Selig’s protection, the Commissioner’s decision will probably be about …

Small market teams who can’t afford to hoard front office talent. The teams that need Selig’s “protection” are smaller market teams trying to have access to the best executives, whom they’d like to promote from the lower ranks of the large market teams. Those large market teams could otherwise gobble up all the talent with long-term, higher dollar contracts. Does anyone really think that’s what Selig – who pushes for competitive balance over all else – really wants? If he sets a high bar for compensation here, the free flow of executives – where their current team consents, mind you – would be stemmed. The only winners in that scenario are the teams with the most money.

Setting all of that aside, am I saying that the compensation will not ultimately be “significant”? Of course not. For one thing, that word is just a word – and it means different things to different people. Is a top 10 prospect significant? Top 30? Is Matt Garza significant?

Further, there could be any number of layers to the decision-making proces with which we’re not familiar. What exactly was said between the parties when the request to interview was made? What else has been promised? Was there any possible tampering? How much value can you put on one year – and only one year – of an executive? I could go on. The point is: there’s so very much we don’t know.

The best we can do is look at what seems most fair from the outside (a good prospect or two, probably outside the top 15 in the organization, plus cash), and what appears to be the right policy decision for MLB (not over-the-top compensation).

Maybe that yields something “significant.” More likely, it yields something the Cubs will call “significant,” but Red Sox fans will call “not enough.” Almost every other pundit who has weighed in on the issue has said the same.

If Selig ends up commanding that the Cubs give the Red Sox Brett Jackson or Matt Szczur, I’ll be far more likely to suspect that there is something we don’t know than to suspect that Selig is doing it because he doesn’t “want executives leaving their teams before their contracts are up.” You can’t just walk out on a contract, so there’s no risk of executives doing any such thing without permission from their current team. That kind of fear mongering screams “agenda,” and simply doesn’t make any sense here.

And if Selig does so command, here’s hoping the Cubs’ first move is to sign every single hot-shot young executive out there to a long-term contract. There’s no draft cap or luxury tax involved in doing that…

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

84 responses to “Oh No! AL GM Says Selig Will “Give the Red Sox a Significant Player” … Stop. Breathe.”

  1. oswego chris

    and as usual this kind of stuff comes from the Boston Globe…as fair and balanced as Fox News…

    1. hcs

      It seems you have offended some of the more easily led among us…

  2. HawkFan77

    Sorry to see you go Soriano, you will NOT be missed! ;-)

    1. Kansas Cubs Fan

      *soft mom voice* wake up little buddy you’re dreeeeaaaminnnggg.

      Haha I think all Cub fans have this dream.

  3. ferrets_bueller

    “An un-named AL GM named Ben Cherrington says…”

    1. hansman1982

      he’s not associated with either team…lord knows it isnt his manager that will be filling out lineup cards

      1. JulioZuleta

        Smart money is on this so-called GM doesn’t exist. This is what I hate about unnamed sources. Cafardo could have easily made this shit up as propaganda.

        1. Kyle

          That’s an incredibly serious charge to level at a journalist. There’s almost no way that Cafardo would do that for such a minor story unless he were a pathological liar on a scale that’s only been seen a few times in journalism history.

          Smart money is that he’s got a source, but it’s one with no direct knowledge of the situation so who cares.

          1. Mick

            The one shady thing Cafardo doesn’t do when quoting the AL GM is list a timeframe as to when this was said. This could be a quote he got way back in November when the whole Epstein to the Cubs was still fresh. Back in November it was thought that it would take a significant piece to acquire Epstein.

            1. DocWimsey

              Saying when he got the quote could make it too easy for people to guess who the GM was. Guys make these comments only on the condition of anonymity, and it’s Cafardo’s ethical duty to keep it that way. (Also, make it obvious and all of a sudden, nobody is willing to speak to you.)

              Remember, this is just one GM’s opinion. Every week, ESPN runs at least one article getting two dichotomous opinions (or three trichotomous ones!) on the same issue(s). The other 28 GMs probably have better informed opinions than do the any of us: but they are opinions on fluid, evolving processes, and then only “better informed,” never “totally informed.”

          2. Dooglass

            Who would take the time to call out Cafardo over some made up source mentioned in a column. You got to be kidding, right. What are the source police going to bring him in. Get real. Next time leave that comment in the not worth making pile. Just like Cafardo should have. Seriously bro put the keyboard down.

            1. JulioZuleta

              And this comment was “worth making”? Kinda surprised one off the cuff comment caused that much reaction, I’m just saying that the “source” doesn’t add up. It wouldn’t be the first time a reporter exaggerated, of even fabricated sources, and seeing as how this wasn’t a groundbreaking piece, I don’t think it was that serious of an accusation.

              1. Kyle

                Trust me, it was. I know you didn’t mean it that way, and I’m sorry if it seems like I’m coming down on you, but the “oh, reporters just make stuff up” attitude is maddening. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine.

                I’m a professional reporter. My wife is a professional reporter. Many of my friends are professional reporters. We all take ethics very seriously. I’ve never met a reporter who didn’t. And let me tell you, maintaining the reporters’ code of ethics is a pain in the ass.

                When I worked news, I didn’t put up bumper stickers or signs for politicians I supported. I didn’t join public organizations that I might later have to write about, including those as innocuous as the Humane Society or Chamber of Commerce. I never once let someone buy me a business lunch and returned a lot of thank-you gifts. When I worked sports, I had to self-censor my wardrobe to make sure I wasn’t seen wearing the colors of any schools I covered.

                We take this stuff seriously. And no matter how hard you work to make sure your professional integrity is above even the slightest appearance of impropriety, you still have to deal with people who assume that anything a reporter says that they don’t like must be made up.

                And there’s no way he’s the only one who knows who the source is. I don’t have the Boston Globe’s newsroom standards booklet in front of me or anything, but the industry standards are pretty universal. Anonymous sources require an editor’s approval and knowledge of the identity of the source. If it’s on tape, his editor’s heard it. If it’s written in notes, his editor’s seen the notes and knows the date and location of the interview.

                I’d be very comfortable betting my life’s savings at 1:100 odds that he did not make it up. He has a source, and it’s an AL executive, and he said exactly what Cafardo said he said.

          3. JulioZuleta

            I’m not saying it’s commonplace, but it’s a little naive to think that journalists, especially those who’s reporting relies almost 100% on “unnamed sources” never cross ethical lines. He’s been beating this drum since Theo came over. First of all, I’m not really “leveling” an accusation towards him, it was a comment on an online message board. I’m just saying, I think that was a strange comment to come from an AL GM, and the way he did mention it in passing was odd to me. Again, herein lies the problem with that type of journalism. It’s very possible not one other person knows who this source is, and no matter how hard some one tried to prove he created a source, they never could.

            1. Kyle

              Making up quotes isn’t some sort of gray area or minor sin. Fabrication is a guaranteed lifetime blackball from the industry.

              In baseball terms, it’s not peaking at the catcher or throwing at batters. It’s the equivalent of gambling on games and throwing them.

              1. JulioZuleta

                I agree that it’s serious, BUT, considering the fact that it is 100% impossible to get caught, I wouldn’t put it past reporters to slip something in to support their claims. First of all, the quote doesn’t make sense, as Brett said a team would just deny the interview. Second of all, what the “GM” said goes against what the vast majority of people have been saying…funny that his one “source” is one of the few people who has the same thought as he does. ALSO, it makes no sense for a GM to say something like that. I’m sure most GMs would like to have the title of President of Baseball Ops, why would he say something like that and possibly impede that from happening more in the future. Also, I don’t think many AL GMs are going to say, to a reporter, that an already pretty talented AL team should get another significant piece. Again, I’m not saying he for sure made it up, I’m just saying I wouldn’t put it past certain guys. It’s impossible for them to get caught.

  4. Michael R

    Brett

    Great post! I agree 100%! “Significant” is relative to both sides.

    I just wish this would all come to an end and then we wouldn’t have to listen to the disgruntled Sox fans.

    You are right….If they didn’t want to watch Theo walk out the front door, then they shouldn’t have granted the interview. The Red Sox had to know there was a chance Theo would leave…….why all the pissing and moaning now?!

    Keep up the good work!

  5. #17

    Good riddens Casey Coleman!!

    1. Quintz

      If Casey Coleman wasn’t “significant” last year than neither was the Bubonic Plague.

      1. ferrets_bueller

        Best line. Ever.

  6. Quintz

    If they take Soriano and all his $$$$ baggage, I think we’d be willing to give Theo back.

  7. cubsin

    If Lucchino doesn’t get the compensation he wants, how long will it take for him to leak the names of the other prospects offered to the Red Sox to his stooges in the press?

  8. Karen P

    Anyone but Castro (shrugs). But in all seriousness, I could see one or two Top 20 prospects going. And *fingers crossed* Soriano? haha

  9. MichiganGoat

    I’m calling bull$hit on Nick’s source.

    1. Dooglass

      Thank you! And you didn’t need four paragraphs to make your point like so many of the self important blow hards that show up on this site.

  10. JR 1908

    This whole compensation thing is absolutely stupid. How can the Cubs be expected to give a significant player when Theo is already with the Cubs?? Out of good faith? Just to be nice? Clearly the Red Sox wanted Theo out, or they wouldn’t have granted the interview. I think Larry L. wants to stick it to Theo because he left them with the Crawford and Lackey signings…
    This has gone on waaaaay to long, and needs to be finalized for a borderline prospect. Grow some nuts Selig and send them a mediocre guy and end this insanity.

  11. DocWimsey

    I love the Fry shot. And did Casey Coleman remind anybody else of Leela’s Blurnsball experience?

  12. #17

    Ok, defending Casey Coleman rids you of any credibility you have. He just isn’t good enough. He filled innings, but about 80 too many. Anyway, it was wishful thinking. I think Selig decides on a player not in our Top 30 prospects. While Selig wants this resolved, he also wants the story to end and he can do that by choosing a less valuable player to be moved…keep it in ya Red Sox.

    1. Roughriider

      Bashing Casey Coleman is just wrong. He’s not some 30+ year old on the down side that has proven he will never be anything or is a has been. He a young guy who was brought up too soon in a pressure situation with a lesser pitching coach on the staff. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination saying that Casey Coleman is another Greg Maddox. However, if if you look at both of their records after 2 years it’s pretty close. Who knows what will his record be when it is all said and done but, give the guy a break. I’ve seen far to much bashing of young players on the Cubs when they’ve only had a small sampling of the Major Leagues.

      1. Kyle

        Thank you, Mrs. Coleman. Your son has made it this far, you should be very proud.

        There are two huge differences between Maddux’s first two seasons in the bigs and Coleman’s. Well, three actually.

        The first is pedigree. Maddux was a second-round pick. Coleman was a 15th. The reason was that Maddux threw harder (despite the myth that he was a soft-tosser, he came into the big leagues working in the low 90s) with more movement. He had better raw stuff.

        The second was age. Maddux was two years younger when he debuted. Coleman just finished his age 23 season. By the time Maddux finished his age 23 season, he’d had one all-star season and another where he finished third in the Cy Young voting.

        The third was minor-league performance. Maddux struck out more, walked fewer, and gave up a lot fewer home runs in the minors.

        Coleman’s upside is that he might be a fringey fifth starter. I don’t dislike him because of that, but that’s the realistic expectation here. There’s just not much room in Coleman’s game to project improvement. He’s always going to have a subpar fastball with mediocre breaking stuff.

        1. Roughriider

          Age, draft position, and the third year don’t make any difference. It’s still wrong to be bashing a 25 year old with limited time in the majors and my comparison was more along the lines that some people would bash Maddux today if he had just finished his first 2 years. You really don’t know what you’ve got. If it was easy the draft would only be ten rounds.

          1. Kyle

            When the guy can’t strike out minor leaguers at a consistent rate, averages 89.5 MPH on his fastball, and has breaking stuff that impresses nobody, you really do know what you have.

            I agree that sometimes people are too quick to judge young players. But sometimes, despite that, they are right.

            1. RoughRiider

              Then by your own admition. Sometimes they are wrong. That is my point. There was a time that people didn’t think that Fergie Jenkins could start, Ron Santo was a catcher, Lee Smith was a starter, Randy Bobb was going to be a major league catcher and Jim Dunnigan was going to be a great home run hitter.

              1. Kyle

                This is called the logical fallacy of “argument from ignorance.”

                You are essentially saying that because some things are uncertain, all things must be treated as equally likely. That’s of course not true.

                Sure, it’s possible that Casey Coleman could wake up tomorrow, throw 92 with good movement, and become a good major-league pitcher. Anything is possible. But we have to deal with what is likely.

                And pitchers with mediocre minor-league resumes and mediocre stuff are not likely to turn into anything particularly useful.

                There’s no reason to give up on him, of course. He’s still got a chance to be a fringey major-leaguer, and he’s certainly worth keeping around in the middle of a AAA rotation for a few more years.

              2. Cubbie Blues

                “There was a time that people didn’t think that Fergie Kenkins couldn’t start”

                So what you are saying is that they did think this Fergie “Kenkins” guy could start.

                Edit: And what Brett said.

                1. RoughRiider

                  You got me there. Double negative and mispelled. Baliff wack his …….

  13. King Jeff

    Ah, Nick Cafardo, the Gordon Wittenmeyer of Boston sports.

    1. Matt

      That might even be a kind comparison. I would have called him the Steve Rosenbloom of Boston sports.

      1. Smitty

        I agree with Matt on that comparison. This guy clearly is writing whatever Larry asks him to.

  14. hardtop

    Know who could be on the line with selig? Jerry reinsdorf! It’s a well known fact that these long time pals have done done some slimy stuff together in the past. Great opportunity for reinsdorf to do some lasting damage to the cubs. Selig is a scumbag, as soon as he got involved I doubted the outcome would be fair and reasonable.

  15. Shawn Oetzel

    Theo only had one year left on his contract – so it is not like he left after the second year of a 5-year deal or something like that. And, if memory serves the Cubs paid for what I think was an option year so the Red Sox would not have to – so in a way the Red Sox have already received some compensation. I don’t think they will get a player of any real value as they technically only need to be compensated for the one year of service Theo had left. Casey Coleman would be on the high end of that list, and honestly if that is who they want- then adios Casey Coleman. The compensation will probably come in the way of a lower level prospect and maybe some more cash. That would be my guess anyways

  16. mark

    would the commish really want to strip a major market team like the cubs of “significant” talent when they’ll be rebuilding for several years at least? in what way would that be good for mlb?

    1. DocWimsey

      What’s good for the Yankees and the Sox is good for MLB, right?

      1. Luke

        Not necessarily. Despite all the weeping and gnashing of teeth over the horrible marketing angles on the Cardinals-Rangers World Series last year, I seem to remember reading that Game 7 was the most watched Friday night non-Olympic sports telecast in history. And the World Series as a whole didn’t do too badly.

        The lesson for MLB, I think, is that if they put two good teams on the field, good things will happen. It doesn’t matter which two teams were talking about. People will watch good baseball on TV. That should suggest to Selig that the name of the game is competitive balance, not “Go Yankees.”

        I wouldn’t be surprised if Selig looks for a different route out of this. I’m not sure what powers he has in these matters (limitless I suspect), but I’m sure he’s looking at non-obvious solutions. For instance, what if he tells the Cubs that the Red Sox can select any member of their front office coaching staff not hired directly by Epstein? The Red Sox could grab Jaramillo, Wilken, etc. as compensation and no players change hands. It’s probably not likely, but something unexpected of that nature probably can’t be ruled out. Selig has done the unexpected a few times in his career.

  17. jstraw

    Avoid a bad precedent…fuck the Cubs? Avoid a bad precedent…fuck the Cubs? Avoid a bad precedent…fuck the Cubs?

    Decisions, decisions….

  18. die hard

    It didnt have to come to this. ….Ricketts could have stayed with Hendry or his asst one more year and then go after Theo….are the Cubs better off since getting Theo and would one more year without him make such a difference?…dont think so….and what about comp for Hoyer?..is that settled?…this is no way to run a railroad.

  19. Matt

    If you write for the Boston Globe, are you really going to find an anonymous source that says Boston will be getting crap?

    1. Rancelot

      There is a big difference between Chicago and Boston sportswriters. Other than the meltdown at the end of the season and the subsequent Theo bashing on his way out of town, they are very pro-Red Sox almost to the point where it is sickening, very much like the Chicago Bears reporters. In Chicago, they are ALL very negative and seem to always have an angle. Let’s be honest, we all know the only reason Wittenmyer has the job is because Mike Kiley had some issues with some expense reports and got fired. As for Paul Sullivan, he is a White Sox fan in Cubs clothing, hence the slanted heavy sarcasm dripping in his columns. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not advocating a homer to be the beat writer at all. I just want objective reporting which seems to be a thing of the past in all forms of media. In fact, I think it is safe to say that Cafardo and Gammons, with their obsession of everything Theo, have been more in tune with what the Cubs are doing this off season than Sullivan and Wittenmyer!

  20. cubsin

    Find one? Absolutely! Put it in print? No way.

  21. Mike F

    I know it makes us feel good to whistle through the graveyard, but Uncle Bud is and always has been an idiot. I don’t trust the Boston media, but Kenney and the Cubs screwed the pooch here. It should have been settled on the front end.

    While I understand all sides here, I also said early on, if Bud ends up with this, the scenario is unlikely to play out well of the Cubs. I respect Brett a lot, but this is how I see this playing out, Lucchino will ask for roster type high threshold talent, most likely Garza, the Cubs will counter with 2 or 3 lesser prospects below Vitters and Carpenter they might want to consider upping that. Bud best case will give them McNutt. If the Cubs can’t fix that now, prepare to lose Jackson or McNutt. In retrospect, Ricketts should have handled this with Selig directly. Of course it would have been better to fire Kenney before they moved on Epstein.

    In the end, prepare for a check up without KY. If Bud makes the decision, it won’t end well for us. Hope I’m wrong but I have never thought much of Bud.

  22. jim

    Should be interesting. Selig loves coming to wrigley, where tv/ radio announcers slobber all over him. What about cubs #2draft choice as comp?

  23. Kurt

    @ oswego chris

    Much more fair and balanced than CNN (known by the troops as the Communist News Network),
    or MSNBC, a George Soros production anchored by that handsome young man Rachael Madcow

    1. Bric

      Unles you want to post something relavant to the Cubs or baseball you can take your political bullshit to one of the hundreds that are about that. Ace, remember when this web site was about the Cubs? Good days…

  24. Teri

    Bud Selig hates the Cubs because their fans are way more loyal than the Brewer fans. He better not screw the Cubs with this. Let’s really hope he sends Soriano to the Sox-haha. Please…any one take him.

  25. die hard

    Are the Cubs better off than they were before the Ricketts family bought the team? It has been one misstep after another. The Cubs will soon become the laughing stock of the league after Bud decides how much has to be paid to Bosox and San Diego for GM’s who were going to be let go anyway!!!

    1. MichiganGoat

      Yes the Cubs are better.

      1. die hard

        Really?….Can anyone envision a 25 man roster from current 40 man roster that will win at least 65 games?…I dont see it, not yet…

        1. MichiganGoat

          You’re only seeing next year, get some vision. We are better than we were, we actual have plan and vision for the future. We are being proactive vs reactionary for the first time in my 30+ years of following the Cubs. Spew the bike all you want but don’t try to convince yourself that the organization is worse.

        2. Kyle

          I’ve got them at 76 wins right now. 77 if they sign Cespedes.

          1. dick

            They will be lucky to win 59. Thank God, the Astros are still in the league,,,10 of those wins will be against the ‘Stros.

            1. bluekoolaidaholic

              You mean the Houston “we’re screweds?

              1. BetterNews

                ?

  26. Matt

    My source tells me his source doesn’t know what he is talking about. See how easy that was?

    1. Kyle

      Except if you get caught doing that, you don’t lose your job and career, permanently.

  27. Kansas Cubs Fan

    I didn’t even bother reading very much of that. Why are people still listening to Boston reporters?

  28. JiminNC

    You’re all whistling past the graveyard. The Cubs have shown what a coup they think it is to get Epstein by the contract they have given him. This will be a significant player, not a star, but someone the Cubs will regret losing and the Red Sox will be glad to get. Not the Cubs’ 40th best prospect.

  29. SouthernCub

    Selig is the worst commissioner MLB has ever seen