Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: More Theo Epstein Rumors

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Obsessive Cubs GM Watch: More Theo Epstein Rumors

Chicago Cubs

Perhaps this feature should be called Obsessive Theo Epstein Watch…

  • Buster Olney was on the radio yesterday guessing that Epstein ultimately ends up with the Cubs. Peter Gammons says the Cubs’ job would be attractive to Epstein. Bob Ryan says the Cubs’ job makes a lot of sense for Epstein. I doubt, at this point, that these kind of guesses are based on anything more than a read of the situation. That’s not to say they don’t have value – sometimes guys in the biz unconsciously glean telling information that informs their guesses and opinions. Maybe it’s just the Cubs fan in me, but I can’t yet shake the feeling Epstein will decide to remain in Boston, despite all of the smoke.
  • Bruce Levine dropped an interesting thought on the radio yesterday: Levine says a big part of the reason the White Sox were able to get so much in return from the Marlins for Ozzie Guillen was because the Fish had been making overtures at Guillen for the better part of a few months. Thus, when it came time to put together a trade, the White Sox had a theoretical tampering charge to hold over the Marlins’ head – in other words, the Marlins had to make the White Sox happy. People like to use the Guillen trade as a starting point for the Epstein compensation question, but Levine says, assuming the Cubs have done everything by the book, the situations aren’t quite comparable.
  • I’ve been perusing a few Red Sox blogs and listening to some Red Sox radio shows to get a sense of what they’re all thinking about this. Fan reaction doesn’t conclusively demonstrate what will happen, but I have no doubt that it informs ownerships’ decisions. (Hi, Tom!) The sense I get is that, while Sawx fans don’t want to see Theo leave, they believe he should be given a chance to interview with the Cubs. You see two primary justifications from fans: (1) “he’s earned it,” and (2) “I want to know that he’s ‘all in.'” Both seem fair to me, though I’d have a hard time being so magnanimous were it my big-time GM in the store window.*
  • Howard Bryant rips on Epstein for presiding over the Red Sox’s collapse, and for standing ready to cash his next big paycheck. I can’t tell if Bryant is being contrarian to drum up interest, or if he actually believes this: “Without the assistance of players such as Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek, Derek Lowe, Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, who were in place under his predecessor, Dan Duquette, as well as the performance-enhanced play of Ramirez (at least a two-time offender of baseball’s steroid policy) and Ortiz (who has yet to make good on his vow to clear his name) and the availability of the wild-card berth (the Red Sox have won exactly two division titles over the last 20 seasons, while Tampa Bay has won two in the last four years), Epstein is just a smart person in a great job, no different than Brian Cashman or the deposed Hendry.”
  • Nick Cafardo, who just the other day said the Red Sox should hold the Cubs’ feet to the fire on Epstein and ask for the moon, says Tom Ricketts should go all out to get Epstein. So, to recap: a Boston writer thinks the Cubs should do whatever it takes to get Epstein, and the Red Sox should ask for an insane amount for Epstein. Got it.
  • Phil Rogers writes the link-baitiest piece ever – in it, he says Ricketts might bring in Epstein to be the president, and one of the tip-top assistant GM candidates to be the GM, which would be a dream scenario. But then he says, “[s]ources close to Ricketts say it’s possible but unlikely.” Well, swell. Thanks for writing.
  • Paul Sullivan and Bob Brenly both are noting how much pressure Epstein would face if he came to Chicago. And, they’re right – he would immediately be dubbed the “savior.” But, like, um, I’m pretty sure he faces just a little pressure in Boston, too.
  • If you’re wondering why this is taking so long and why there is so much silence, just put yourself in the shoes of Red Sox ownership. You just lost a heartbreaking playoff race, wherein your team collapsed worse than any team in history. Your fans are restless. You just fired (essentially) your long-time manager, and are trying to start a search for a new one. Your uber-GM might be interested in exploring other opportunities, or he might just want more money or a better title. Another team has asked permission to interview him. You’ve got to think about compensation, should he leave. You’ve got to think about a replacement, should he leave. You’ve got to think about how you’re going to keep the manager search ongoing, should he leave. It’s a really complicated time for the Red Sox, and there are a lot of decisions to be made in a relatively short period of time.
  • Something that’s been pointed out in the comments, and it’s an interesting thought: if the Red Sox say “no” to the request to interview Epstein, they’re probably going to have a disgruntled GM running the show in the last year of his contract. Is that really something they’ll risk? But the counterargument: that assumes they aren’t hammering out the details of an extension/promotion as I type.
  • Steve Rosenbloom chimes in with his typical ridiculous fare. This time, he’s trying to criticize Tom Ricketts for going after Theo Epstein (the kind of big-time move Rosenbloom regularly rips Ricketts for not making) instead of Red Sox president Larry Lucchino. Don’t bother reading it. It’s terrible, as are – increasingly – all of Rosenbloom’s columns. He is either genuinely dim, or, more likely, intentionally writes this kind of garbage to get eyeballs. What a depressing professional life that must be.
  • As always, “like” Bleacher Nation on Facebook or follow it on Twitter to get the latest updates as they happen.

*The other thing I keep seeing/hearing everywhere in Red Sox Nation: fans are pissed that the media was asleep at the wheel on the booze-in-the-clubhouse-and-players-don’t-like-Tito story. They wonder why is that story coming out only now that the collapse is complete, and not months ago, when journalists who cover the team surely had to be aware of it. The answer, of course, is access. Red Sox beat writers have it, and don’t want to risk it. It makes me wonder what the various Cubs’ beat writers would do if they caught wind of a similar story mid-season.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.