Cubs Appear on the Verge of Landing Theo Epstein

Day eight of the ‘Theo Watch‘ kicked into high gear with a report from the Boston Herald on Tuesday afternoon that stated Theo Epstein was on the cusp of leaving the Red Sox to take a position in the Cubs front office. The Herald reported an official announcement could be made within 24 to 48 hours.

According to a report from the Sun-Times late Tuesday night, the proverbial ball is now in Epstein’s court and it is up to him, as well as sorting out few small details, if he wants to take over baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs.

For all of the noise made on Twitter Tuesday night, the report from the Sun-Times sums up where the Cubs and Epstein are at this point.

Here are the highlights from the Sun-Times report:

  • The Cubs have made their offer to Epstein and indications are the parameters are acceptable to Epstein
  • Sun-Times sources dispute the done-deal nature of the Boston Herald report
  • An official announcement could be made as early as Friday
  • The expectation within the Cubs organization is that Epstein is headed to Chicago
  • Top baseball personnel recently received memos/emails to keep the second week of November open for the annual organizational meetings
  • Personal factors could come into play for Epstein in his decision to leave Boston
  • Epstein’s responsibilities and title would “assure that Epstein would have the authority to keep meddlesome Cubs’ president Crane Kenney out of baseball business.
  • Multiple high-level execs from other organizations view Kenney “as an interfering, credit-seeking suit with little baseball acumen and an impediment to landing a top general manager.
  • Despite recent statements by Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney has been involved in the GM search and Ricketts “recently lauded Kenney’s efforts in that process to members of the organization.

According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs are believed to have contacted Andrew Friedman, Rick Hahn and Dan Evans about their GM position while attempting to land Epstein.

The report also addressed the rumors that the compensation for Epstein could include Starlin Castro or Brett Jackson.

Whether negotiations over compensation prolong the process, major-league execs scoff at the idea that the Cubs could reasonably be asked to give up top major-leaguers such as Starlin Castro or top prospects such as Brett Jackson.

Click here for the entire report from the Sun-Times

As day nine begins, stay tuned …

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  • Calicub

    If the cubs get theo i eill be happy.  they could do better. they could do a whole lot wore but he isn’t worth it if the BoSox are asking for the world in return

    • matthew8510

      not the world just brett jackson

      • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

        I am not hearing Brett Jackson is a part of the compensation for Epstein

  • Schwimmer

    I think it’s exciting if EPSTEIN does become the CUBS new GM.  There’s no reason to believe that the CUBS will have to give up a major prospect for him.  After all, if Boston ownership realizes that EPSTEIN would rather go with the CUBS — they don’t have that much leverage.  After all — you don’t try to force a guy to “stay with you” just because you can’t get the “exact” prospect you like.  So, Boston will have to be “reasonable.”  The “deal” is not going to “live or die” based on getting a CUBS “top prospect.”  So…please don’t worry about that.

    I am hoping that the poor contracts that EPSTEIN has made — have taught him something about being “more careful” about who and how much he pays out for his future “free-agent” signings.

    Also, there are many baseball sources who will tell you — that a few of his “bad signings” were based on others who were insistent that he sign a player — he was not totally excited about.  That’s why it would be very appealing to EPSTEIN to have “total control” of baseball trades.  And, why we can be relieved that KENNEY will not be involved.

    Lastly, I hope that RICKETTS discussed with EPSTEIN — the huge importance of considering SANDBERG as the new CUBS manager.  If they hire SANDBERG…it would generate a lot of excitement about the CUB’S future.

  • Mozob

    Do think that ESPN will now become the Yankees/Cubs channel if Epstein comes to Chicago?  LOL  With the success that the NL Central has had in reaching the playoffs the past few years, it does BEGIN to rival the success the AL East has enjoyed.  Ratings, Ratings, Ratings.

    Sandberg as manager would be great,  Girardi as manager might be even better.  Remember, he came up through our organization, has had 2 stints here, I believe he still maintains a home here, grew up a Cubs fan, and has a few more rings then Ryno.

  • Agustinrexach

    Epstein most appealing cuality=gives value to the brand. Therefore, players understand it’s a new culture and should be more animated to sign on the north side. That being free agents, no trade clause trade candidates and even young draftees that could prefer to wait for the next draft to be selected on a higher spot.
    Its a rarity to find a GM that provides all that instantly.

    • Agustinrexach

      Quality sorry.

  • J Daniel

    Aaron’s assessment in last nights post is absolutely correct, I believe, and that is why Theo is a great hire!  I believe that you will see the kids get a legit shot.  I don’t believe they will be in play for any major guys this year.  This will be like the year Ricketts took over.  There will be changes as a few parts still have to be moved out (Z, Sori, Byrd) as I think they still want out of all of the bad contracts.  But the deconstruction is almost done.  They will have to eat a little more money to complete the process is almost complete.

    Would not surprise me to see a guy like Kubel/Cuddyer/Willingham but would be STUNNED to see a Pujols/Fielder (which make NO sense at this point – to far away from being legit).

    Also, as far as Big Z, I would not eat a lot of the money.  If the deal is not a good one for the Cubs, I would bring him back.  He is in the last year with an option.  He will have a great year next year – he needs to in order to get another good contract.  I would have no problem keeping him until the deadline and then moving him.  If he still “stinks” then I would release him at that point.

    Basically, with the hire of Theo and then Sandburg, along with playing the kids, they will have bought a couple of years in order to rebuild this thing correctly – from the bottom up.

    Don’t get me wrong, they do want to win NOW, who doesn’t.  If this pans out I will have gained the utmost respect for Ricketts.  Obviously, there is no guarantee that a winner is coming – but I do see it as an 100% effort to win it and build it the right way.

    GO CUBS!

  • Tony_Hall

    The Theo watch is almost over.  It is now down to who is bringing with him, as just like they don’t want Theo to stay, if he wants to do this, they don’t want to keep guys around, who will leave in a year, and may be more loyal to Theo, during that year.  

    Day 1 for Theo, should include fire Q, doing a press conference, hiring Sandberg, doing a press conference, releasing half of the 40 man roster, doing a press conference…

    Does anyone doubt that Noah Pinzur bumped into Theo on Sunday?  From John Henry’s radio interview on Friday, to the Theo sighting on Sunday, to the secrecy of the process, this all has been done, exactly like Ricketts told us he would be conducting the interview process, in private.  

  • Tony_Hall

    As I try to not think about it, until it is official, I can’t help but wonder, if the Pied Piper effect, will work with Theo.  IF, Theo is about to take over Clark and Addison, and put in a work order for some computers, modems, routers, and throw away the typewriters, then you have to wonder, which Red Sox players will follow him, when they get a chance, and which players he will target in trades.  Who else but his best buddy would he call first to make some deals?

    Drew, Ortiz, Papelbon, C Jackson, Varitek, Wakefield, are the most notable FA’s.  Not that there are many fits with that group, but I wouldn’t mind ordering up a Papelbon for Christmas.

    After 2012 – Dice K, Youkilis are FA’s.  Boy, Youkilis would look good in Cubbie Blue.

    But what about the young guys.  Theo would know best, where the Red Sox depth is, and see if it matches up with the Cubs depth, and you could see some    trades of minor leaguers that could be beneficial to both sides.

    I know, this is a little ahead of the game, but whether Theo is on his way, or another GM, I mean President of Baseball Operation, (when did being a General Manager, not mean you were in charge of baseball operations anyway) it will be a new era in Wrigleyville, and I for one can’t wait.

    Pedroia would look nice at 2B, wouldn’t he?

    • J Daniel

      Maybe a few really good trades and a couple of free agent signings could quicken the process.  How about starting with a Marmol trade for a really good prospect and then a Papelbon signing?  Next, a Soto trade for a prospect or two and then a Varitek signing.  By making these two moves it could further enhance the number of prospects in the system and help solidify the major league roster a bit.

      I would then trade Byrd for the best prospect offer I could find, allowing B Jax to take over center.

      Hot stove is going to be really fun to watch this year!

    • John G

      Whether we bring in a bunch of Red Sox or sign 7-8 top free agents we’re still the Cubs, like it or not. Until the curse is broken we will always be the “loveable losers”, “the doormat of the National League”. That being said, bringing in TE shows a level of commitment to that goal that has never been as strong. Some top free agents, the ones who really want to win, who are already financially comfortable, may even forego top dollar to come here and be a part of history. A GM with the pedigree of TE can make that happen. And for this I am truly excited.

      Damn, that Kool Aid tastes good.

      • Tony_Hall

        I just refilled my Cubbie Blue Kool-Aide and replenished my stock of Cubbie Goggles!

  • Tony_Hall

    I want to say Thank-you to Neil for once again, unbelievable coverage of last nights activities.  I was not able to be on the computer, but with my CCO twitter updates, I don’t feel like I missed a beat.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Thanks Tony

    • Agustinrexach

      I second that.

    • jfish1219

      I third that

  • John G

    Does anyone else here expect that, assuming Epstein is the next GM, World Series or not, he will only be here a maximum of 5 years? Logic says that, should he take the job and win a WS for the Northside, his ticket is punched and he can have any job he wants in MLB, maybe even commissioner (Bud may retire in the next 5 years). If he doesn’t win the WS in the next 5 years, the fan base will be as disgruntled in TE (I like that nickname. kinda like TO, only classier) as they were in JH. He may leave and go home as the prodigal son. In any case the speculation is great. If this comes to be, the Cubs Convention will sell out in less than 30 minutes. I just can’t WAIT TILL NEXT YEAR.

    • J Daniel

      Why would he leave?  He will be here longer.

      • John G

        Because, if he wins the WS during his 5 yr contract, someone will offer him even more money to come to their city and win. Maybe even Cleveland, who would be the next team on the bubble. If he doesn’t win during his 5 yr contract, the fans will run him out of town, like they did to Jim Hendry.

        • Dorasaga

          Exactly. Overrated or underrated enough, Epstein is different. Change is needed, everywhere, including the Fastest Dying Town along Lake Erie.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Not official, but reports are indicating Theo’s deal will be for 5 years and worth more than $15 million

    • Tedtop16

      Neil:
      Great job on the reporting. Hopefully, we can get the deal done and the second guessing can begin.

  • Chuck

    Neil, you are right.  WEEI in Boston is reporting that Theo is signing with the Cubs.

    • John G

      espnchicago.com is reporting the same thing. Unfortunately there is no sound on their video.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Kaplan: When deal gets done Theo report to Ricketts family which is Cubs board of directors.Kenney remains as head of business side

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Buster Olney: Cubs’ final compensation to
    Epstein in duration of his contract closer to $20 million than $15
    million, because of $3.5m conclusion bonus.

    • J Daniel

      OUTSTANDING!  Ricketts is to be commended!  It still may not bring a title but he has a plan and is working it.  Only time will tell if it is the right plan.

  • Aaron

    Again….I think Cubtex might’ve been the one that coined this phrase relating to this situation (not the phrase in general):
    “BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR CUBS FANS”

    What will it cost the Cubs to land Epstein, and given the fact that Cashman and Friedman had contracts expiring, and a plethora of deserving first-time candidates including:
    Cherington
    Levine
    Copolla
    Hahn
    Evans

    …….I just don’t see a need to overpay to bring in a suit. I could care less about the money….but in terms of compensation to the Red Sox in players.

    If I were the Cubs, I wouldn’t offer anything to the Red Sox other than maybe cash considerations, because Epstein, while holding the same role as GM, would actually be coming over in a bigger capacity as President or whatever. If you make a lateral move, then one could contend that you are pilfering other organizations of their talent, and you could actually claim intellectual property. However, if someone is leaving an organization to a job promotion that he otherwise would not have had in his current organization (he couldn’t, as Lucchino was in that role), then there would be no real justification for compensation.

    There’s other considerations as well, such as if Massachusetts is an “at will” employment state. If they are, then it applies to all segments of the market, and baseball shouldn’t be exempt from that.

    Again, like I said the other day…if it’s top prospects like McNutt, Cashner, Carpenter, Dolis, Jackson, Vitters, Flaherty, LeMahieu, etc., then you wouldn’t want to do this. However, if it’s a Bour, Rusin, Jay Jackson, or Cabrera, then you do it, especially if they’re willing to honor the unwritten (at least from what I can find) rule of dealing one of their prospects like Lars Anderson in the deal as well.

    In fact, this might be fair compensation:
    Michael Burgess or Marquez Smith and Jay Jackson for Theo Epstein and Lars Anderson

    • cubs1967

      castro-garza-jackson-marmol(yes–look at 2010-he can be that guy again)-cashner-marshall………….OTHER than those 6-screw the rest and yes you trade to get Theo………….seriously………Vitters…….Mr 4 year minor leaguer with 10 homers in AA ball…….2 more and he’ll equal the great Ryan Harvey!

      go Cubs go!!

      here’s hoping………..

    • J Daniel

      Do you want Hendry back?  I already know the answer!

    • jfish1219

      well here is a semi-answer to the question of compensation 
      SI_JonHeyman Jon Heyman there is a bit of discussion whether #cubs send cash or minor leaguers to #redsox for theo. so far boston prefers the $.

    • Tom U

      It’s interesting that you mention Michael Burgess and Jay Jackson. While I was on break today, those were two of the names I also came up with. Add to that list Marwin Gonzalez, Arismendy Alcantara, Marco Carrillo, and Oswaldo Martinez. If they really do their homework, they may ask for Reggie Golden.

    • Ripsnorter1

      You are right. This is a bad move for the Cubs. $20 million dollar contract!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      AND, EUGENE, DON’T FORGET THE PROSPECTS THEY WILL THROW IN THERE, TOO.

      I’d rather have Friedman……

      • Tony_Hall

        Doesn’t mean that Friedman was available or interested! 

  • daverj

    The last two times Cub fans were this excited were:

    (1)  When we signed Fukudome; and

    (2)  When we signed Soriano.

    Just saying …

    I think Epstein is an upgrade over Hendry, but I would have much preferred to see the Cubs go after Andrew Friedman.  Epstein has done a top notch job with the Red Sox minor league system and the Cubs desperately need help in that area.  Epstein should prove to be a significant upgrade with respect to developing young talent.  That said, Epstein’s free agent signing record is at best equal to Hendry … and arguably, Hendry was more successful in that area.  It’s possible Luccino was the driving force behind some of the bad Boston free agent signings, but Epstein has to share in that blame.

    Overall I like the move, but I’m skeptical about whether Epstein will succeed with the Cubs and I think there was at least one better option out there.

    • Dorasaga

      I was excited about the Fonzi deal (in fact, that whole offseason when our ex-GM signed either Marquis or Lilly out of his dying bed), ‘cuz I thought there would be change, and Hendry had learned to bring more great talents to Cubs.

      Well, nothing changed. Same old Cub Think. Epstein, I hope, is Change.

      • cubtex

        Hope and Change….How is that working out in the White House?

        • Dorasaga

          I mentioned Change but Change alone as my focus. Change means a new philosophy. It means a winning tradition for the Cubs, starting NOW!

          Obama is not powerful enough to change that of the Federal Govt. No president ever was since Jackson, oh, back in 1830s. And I don’t want him to. It’s the beauty of democracy.

    • cubtex

      No doubt the hiring will be a HUGE PR move but like Aaron said above…..did Ricketts really need to go all in and give Theo a record contract? He is coming off a terrible year in which his team had one of worst collapse in baseball history. He has a 161 million payroll and many of his signings had been busts. Will Ricketts give Theo the same payroll as Boston? If yes…..why bring in Theo? Bring in a Friedman or Hahn and if given the same financial resources….I would rather roll the dice with them.
      This reminds me of signing a player(like Pena) coming off a terrible year and giving them an overmarket contract. Does anyone else agree with this? I think Ricketts felt like the Cubs needed a huge PR move and this is the reason. He saw the unrest and frustration of the fans at Wrigley this year and felt he needed to make a splash. I am a Cubs fan and I hope Theo does great things but I felt this signing was a panic move by Ricketts.

      • bpot92

        Well Friedman was an even bigger longshot, and I believe Boston’s Assistant Gm cherrington would be a better hire than Hahn, however without sounding like every other poster Theo won 2 world series, built the farm system up, and before 2005 had some shrewd signings to turn things around. I feel since he had one year left they had to over pay to get him to leave his hometown where he has enjoyed success. I believe Friedman would not have come here as he is much mor likely to go to the Astros, his hometown team, if he leaves. Which no “expert” expects since he is so close to madden and the owner that he works with no contract. 

        • cubtex

          Don’t get me wrong….I really hope Theo does great but I pointed out Boston’s payroll under Theo’s regime. Only the Yankees had a higher payroll under his tenure. If Ricketts gives Theo the same resources as he had in Boston and not tie his hands like Ricketts did with Hendry this past offseason…then it will be a good marriage. Theo has made some huge mistakes and was still able to spend more money.

          • Tony_Hall

            Why do you never mentioned the great players he has drafted and brought through  the system?

            Pedoria, Papelbon, Ellsbury.  

            Any GM with a $160M payroll, and an owner wanting to win, is going to have bad free agent contracts.  I could have lived with JH, and his bad contracts, if he would have drafted and developed great players like Theo.

            Don’t get me wrong, I never believed Theo was the “ONE”.  But when we don’t know if Friedman was ever interested, and if it’s just money, I’ll take the guy who has done it versus the guy who has helped any day.

          • cubtex

            He has done some very good things I am not downplaying that. The point I am making is that this guy is coming off a terrible year. Many on here pointed out Pena’s stats calling him Mr. .196 etc. and not looking at his track record. They were complaining on how can you give him a 10 million dollar contract coming off that terrible year?? OK….let’s call the kettle black. Theo is not ‘hot’ right now. He didn’t need to be pursued and given that record salary. Did any other team with GM openings try and contact Boston and outbid the Cubs for his services? Don’t you think if Theo was that “hot” Boston would have tried to leverage that to get teams bidding against each other as far as getting the best return. If Boston doesn’t make the playoffs again next year….there would be a very good chance that Boston would have let him walk next year anyways. That is my point.

          • Tony_Hall

            I really think you don’t get it.  Theo wouldn’t go to any of the other teams.  There isn’t a big enough carrot being dangled.

            If he was on the open market, he would have been interviewing at every single team that has an opening.

          • cubtex

            says who? you know for a fact every team that has an opening would want him?

          • Tony_Hall

            How could they not interview Theo, if they had an opening?

            That doesn’t mean they all would offer him the job (but I bet most would).

            No guy hiring a GM, could not interview a guy who has won 2 World Series in 8 years.  Look at some of the bad GM’s (or managers for that matter), who have never won anything, that make the rounds interviewing for every job out there.  This guy has 2 World Series rings.  He would get interviewed by anyone with an opening.

          • bpot92

            True, I would have preferred Friedman as well, but hopefully Theo gets the resources needed. Just as important as him getting the payroll for the big leagues is him getting the power to choose his minor league coaches, coordinators, scouts, act so that he can build the farm system. He needs his people and the resources to sign over seas and the draft. Thats where he is most valuable, the homegrown talent

      • Tony_Hall

        I think it’s about time they went out and got one of the hottest names in the GM circles.  I would rather they paid top dollar here, than pay a Grabow his $4M…

        • cubtex

          Well of course if those are the options :)

          • Tony_Hall

            Just trying to put in perspective how little money, Theo is really getting in the grand scheme of the Cubs overall payroll.

            Not even as much as a FA reliever.

          • J Daniel

            And, if he is any good, he will earn all of that money by saving it.  Also, who really cares how much he is making?  Tony, you put it best, nothing in the grand scheme.  Also, if this is the guy you want, are you really going to let a million stand in the way of the opportunity – or hire second or third choice?

            The point is Theo – looks like Theo was his guy – and he got him.  Ricketts should be applauded that he did not use some lame excuse so that he could save 5-6 million over the contract to settle for someone who has never been in the hot seat.

        • J Daniel

          THANK YOU!

      • J Daniel

        I hope their terrible year becomes the new Cub standard of terrible years!  Did you watch the Cubs last year?  That is what you call terrible.

        • cubtex

          161 million. Would the Cubs have been not soooo terrible with 161 million last year?

    • Ripsnorter1

      “When we signed….(cough!) FUNKO!”   LOL

      “When we signed….(cough! cough!) SORIANO!”  LOL

      May as well laugh as cry.  It was pathetic…..

  • SuzyS

    Neil, Thanks for the great coverage…as always. No matter what happens here…
    Epstein signs or doesn’t….Epstein leads the Cubs and falls on his face…the Cubs win a WS or not…RICKETTS IS NOW VALIDATING HIMSELF AS AN OWNER ON A MISSION TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES.  Personally, I think Friedman in Tampa MIGHT be a better choice…BUT…from the get go, Ricketts has identified the Boston organization as the one he most admires…and now it seems, he is about to hire the architect of that organization.
    I can now believe Ricketts when he said he is going to bring a world series to the Cubs….no matter what happens…he is going after what he considers to be the very best….ISN’T THAT REFRESHING FOR A CUBS OWNER????
    I will now look forward to our new growing pains.

    • J Daniel

      Great post, Suzy.  It appears that Theo was his top target but maybe Friedman was?  You never know behind scenes.  Maybe Friedman is not ready to leave Tampa.

      Either way, this is GREAT for Cubs and Ricketts!

  • Ryan7

    MLBTRADERUMORS.COM REPORTED 10 MINS AGO THAT THEO AND THE CUBS HAVE MADE A DEAL AND THEO IS JOINING THE CUBS AND THE DEAL IS WORTH MORE THAN 15MM

  • paulcatanese

    It would be nice if Ricketts would take it upon himself and endear Cub fans now before Epstein comes over and fire Qua himself.

    • J Daniel

      I am sure he has already done it.  Hendry knew long before anyone else.  If it hasn’t happened already it will by early next week.

  • J Daniel

    Can’t wait to read Aaron’s first negative post about  Theo! Do we want to start a pool on when it will occur?

    • cubtex

      I beat him to it. lol. Read my thoughts above. I just thought it was more of a panic hire. Ricketts is not a dumb man. He needed to re-energize the fan base. My opinion is that he overpaid to get a gm coming off the absolute worst collapse in baseball history and 2 of the worse free agent signing in baseball from the last couple of years. If Ricketts is giving Theo a similar payroll to Boston….I would rather roll the dice with Friedman,Hahn,Cherrington or some other. I hope Theo does great! I just think Ricketts overpaid and panicked and made a PR hire instead of hiring the best canidate.

      • J Daniel

        Re-energize the fan base like they have anything to do with winning a game.  Very funny.  Reports say they contacted Friedman, maybe he didn’t want it?  Here is the thing about Theo – he has done it in a very similiar situation and is the right hire.  Only time will tell but come on – 2 world series champions and 6 playoff appearances?  We don’t want that leader, REALLY????  Again, may not work but it is the right move.

        • cubtex

          I hope he is the right hire but…..How has Theo done it in a very similar situation? Theo had a 161 million dollar payroll. Theo had a CONSISTENT top 5 payroll for 10 straight years. How is that a similar situation?

          • J Daniel

            Similiar in the pressures of not winning in forever which should not be overlooked.  The Cubs payroll is high enough to be able to make a mistake if player drafting/player development/ and good trades are made.  Theo has been the leader of that.  Not saying he is the guy that did all of it himself but we want go ahead and blame Hendry for every mistake.

            The Cubs job is unique as we know.  Hendry started chasing mistakes with more mistakes trying to be that “guy” – that can’t be done unless you have Yankee money.

            It has been my opinion, since Ricketts bought the team, that Theo should be the guy targeted because he has done it and will do it again.

          • cubtex

            Hendry was given only 10 mil to spend the entire offseason last year. I am sure Theo will have a lot more money than that to spend going forward

          • J Daniel

            yes, as contracts have expired.  Also, Hendry made the mess and Ricketts gave him a chance to clean it up.  Did you want JH spending more? 

          • Tony_Hall

            You really think JH could have spent another $20-30M that would have changed anything.  He was awful at spending, and probably would have made the team worse if he had the money to do it.

          • cubtex

            Blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then. 30 mil is a lot of coin to throw around. I am not saying they would have won the division with Hendry spending an addition 30…..but they would have been better and not so terrible. That was my point.

          • Tony_Hall

            He would of signed the second coming of Milton Bradley/Cliff Floyd/Jeremy Burnitz.  Boy cross those guys, and you have 1 really bad player.

            I agree, even JH could of added a win or 2, with an extra 30 mil.

      • Dorasaga

        How is Epstein overpaid when we don’t know what’s the “compensation”???

        I also don’t agree with your one-dimensional beating of the man’s last year as a Boston GM. He wasted 164 M for 2011, so what? Crawford is still young, and Lackey had a stud of a career. They are “Year One” for Boston. It can be worse. It can be better for the two players. Is that a problem for the Cubs?

        Just remember, Epstein brought more World Championships and profit growth that no other ballclub had over his tenure since 2003. The Yankees since 2003? One. The Cubs? None.

        I preferred Friedman (if you read one of my analysis of him), but hey, if Epstein is all we need for another World Series since 1945, I’ll be glad to take him any given day.

        • cubtex

          Ummmmm. Lackey is in year 2 of his contract. Theo was making 1.5 million coming off 2 straight years of missing the playoffs. Rumors are that Theo will make 15 to 20 mil for 5 years. Over 3 times what he was making. So what? If you throw money around like that for underperforming with a 161 mil payroll….I want to work for you!

          • Dorasaga

            One word of advice: Career.

          • cubtex

            OK…Weren’t you one of the posters ripping the Pena signing? Paying 10 mil for a .196 average? How about using that logic when comparing a players career with a gm’s career?

          • Jones

            you are out of your mind! 

          • cubtex

            OK. back it up and explain to me where I am “out of my mind” What have I said that is inaccurate????

          • Tony_Hall

            He is getting $3M/year, double his current rate, and much in line with what I expected them to pay, to get an existing GM, to leave their current team. The rest of the money is $3.5M, at the end if they don’t resign him, which is the clause he had with the Red Sox.  He may or may not ever receive that money. 

          • cubtex

            Is that confirmed? 15 for 5?

          • Tony_Hall

            It won’t be confirmed until they have the press conference.  Not sure where I saw the breakdown, I will see if I can find it again.

    • Aaron

      I have NOTHING negative to say about Theo, so put a cork in it!!!!!!!!

      There are certain people/players that I don’t care for:
      Hendry
      Quade
      Hill
      Baker
      Byrd
      Soriano
      Fukudome
      Grabow
      ….etc. come to mind

      When someone like Epstein comes along, and he actually has a background of success (something Hendry certainly didn’t have prior to getting the job, and something Quade absolutely did NOT have) turning around a franchise, then you take note….

      My one problem with this situation is NOT about Theo himself, but the compensation involved. Anything more than a mid-level or two is too much.

      Players ultimately win championships. GM’s and managers put players in positions to succeed. Did you watch the playoffs with the D’Backs, and did you see his interview where Gibson talked about knowing his guys, and putting them in position to succeed? Same goes for GM’s….Good GM’s do NOT sign guys for 8 yrs, $136 million when they don’t even have a damn position (remember, he was trying Soriano in CF). Good GM’s do NOT sign one-dimensional left fielders like Floyd, and expect them to play a vital role for the team in RF. Good GM’s do NOT sign guys based on career years prior to free agency….they look at the quality of work prior to that….otherwise, we’d NEVER have a conversation about Milton Bradley and his combustible personality, coupled with his fragile body and inconsistent stats.

      Does Theo make mistakes? Sure. After all, he signed Lackey and Crawford to high dollar, ill-advised deals. But, again, if you look at his quality of work, and how he’s been able to sell high with their players, and the teams he put together in 2004 and 2007, and you see how competitive they were in a very tough division in the AL, and you get excited about what he can do in a division where it’s literally anyone’s to win year in and year out in the NL Central.

      So…J Daniel….not really understanding where your idiotic commentary is coming from. Are you trying to start something that isn’t really there? Sure sounds like it

      • J Daniel

        Actually, no, not trying to start something.  I just get a kick out of many of your posts – which are mostly good.  But sometimes your rants are just way to predictable.

      • cc002600

        “Good GM’s do NOT sign one-dimensional left fielders like Floyd, and expect them to play a vital role for the team in RF”

        Huh ?

        aren’t you the same guy that wanted Dunn ?  I told he was a turd, but you didn’t listen.

        You change your stories more frequently than I change socks.

        • cubtex

          Sometimes you roll the dice. People criticized the Cardinals for signing Berkman and penciling him in right field. It could have backfired on them if his legs gave out on him…but it worked out. It was a risk that paid off. Floyd didn’t work out…but it was the same risk the Cards took with Berkman.

          • Tony_Hall

            Comparing Cliff Floyd to Lance Berkman.  I really don’t think they are in the same stratosphere.  Berkman was a risk, but not as much as Floyd.

            Wow, did Hendry sign some bad players.

          • cubtex

            I am comparing the risk of signing Berkman for right field. If Hendry had done that in the offseason……..can you imagine the blasting he would have gotten for that move?

          • Tony_Hall

            It would have been big time blasting of JH.  But then again, if JH would have done it, it wouldnt’ of worked.

          • cc002600

            actually, my point wasn’t about Floyd.
            It was about how Aaron said good GM’s don’t sign one-dimensional players.  I TOTALLY AGREE. 

            But, but, but I found that interesting since he’s the same guy who was pining for the Donkey (Dunn) on the cubs, who is as one-dimensional as they come, and which is why I have been Anti-Dunn forever.  His opinions always seem to change.

            I think Dunn is a completely useless player, and I have been saying that well before he laid that egg this year.  I was sooooooo happy when the dummy Kenny signed him.
             

          • cubtex

            Yes. I am thankful the Cubs never signed Dunn. They need to get better defensively and Dunn is as bad as it gets in the field!

  • Chuck

    Everyone puts alot of weight on the GM but manager for the Cubs is just as important.  I am sure that Ryno’s name came up in the talks.  Let’s say the Cubs next move is to hire Ryno;  Cubs do not make playoffs in the next three years, who do you blame?  Do you blame the GM or the manager?

    • Jody Davis

      I love this move. As someone mentioned above it shows that Ricketts is here to win! Theo is a proven winner and has shown what he can do with an unlimited payroll. I don’t blame him one bit for what happened at the end of the year. He put together a team that was in position to go to the playoffs and they had an epic collapse. Any Cub fan would have done anything to have their team in the race down to the final day. I don’t blame Theo for the bad signings he has made. From what I have read, some of those signings were ones that he was against, but his higher ups wanted to make. It will be very interesting to see what he can do with the Cubs when he doesn’t really have to answer to anyone other than Ricketts. This should be a day of celebration for Cubs fans. If during the middle of last year you were told that Theo Epstein would be our GM by this October I find it hard to believe that anyone would argue. I’m not saying we are winning the World Series next year, but this is a giant step in the right direction.

      • Chuck

        Jody, I agree with you 100% about free agent signings.  We never know if the signing was the result of the GM or pressure put on by the owner for the signing.  Also there is the one upmanship with the Yankees.  I will go out on the limb that Lars Anderson will be the 1st baseman for the Cubs in 2012.  I would not be surprised if there other signings.  Papelbon had a brother the Cubs organization.  As far as I know or read, he was not one of the guilty clubhouse players.

    • J Daniel

      Blame all of them – the answer is the right players – it is always the answer – GET BETTER PLAYERS!

      • Dorasaga

        Jim Hendry can go to the Yankees and tell New York that he is getting better players for them. Then we know they will be back to the early ’90s. Mediocracy never rules the league. You need to have talent to find talents.

    • cc002600

      Bartman

  • Chuck

    From reading other blogs on the Yardbarker network, other sources say that Theo tried to get Ryno to manage AAA Pawtuckett.  With Ricketts giving Theo a 5 year contract, he can then bring in Ryno; with both given a 5 year window of working together WS will be in sight.   Think of the successful GM/Mgr. relationships that are successful:  Yankees, Phils, Rays, Tigers.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Jon Heyman: there is a bit of discussion whether cubs send cash or minor leaguers to red sox for theo. so far boston prefers the $.

    • John G

      Hahahaha – “We don’t want any of Hendry’s losers. Send Cash.”

      • bpot92

        you know the system is bad when the team with the second highest payroll would rather  have cash than our prospects. Even mid tier prospects on good system pan out sometimes..however ours isn’t good, hopefully we build off this past draft and continue to get some international FA

        • cubtex

          It’s not our system….It’s the huge payroll and bad contracts Theo signed

          • bpot92

            how much cash are we realistically going to send over? 

          • cubtex

            Don’t know….but I am sure when you are writing checks out for Lackey,Crawford,AGon,Beckett etc…..Any little bit would help ease the pain  :)

          • bpot92

            I am reading 15- 20 millions so that would be significant, plus make the Cubs spending this offseason less.

          • Tony_Hall

            You do realize that he is getting around $3M/year, the rest is in an “buyout” at the end.  $3M is hardly going to change their FA shopping.

          • bpot92

            going from Gammons article(I know i just said I hope he’s wrong lol)“I think that more important is going to be the $15 million to $20 million, and then I think it’s going to be a prospect.” After that he goes on about jackson. the reports are saying its either cash or prospects but the Red Sox prefer the cash at this point, so i was taking that as 15-20 going over and 15-20 paying Theo

          • Tony_Hall

            $15M-$20M is Theo’s contract, I would think the money to the Red Sox would be less than 10% of that amount. 

          • bpot92

            ok, my bad. I just read that wrong, I assumed it was on top of Theos contract

      • studio179

        Fantastic! Send cash! That makes this deal all the better. 

    • J Daniel

      That is also a sad commentary on the state of Cub prospects.  They know they can’t get one of the top ones and that the rest of them are, well, garbage.  So, just send money and then we can go buy who we want. 

  • Last_ginger

    I wonder how Ken Rosenthal feels after these comments
    http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=%2F&gl=US#/watch?v=YbygoU68uvs

  • Tony_Hall

    I’m thinking of putting the date back on my calendar, when single game tickets go for sale!

    • J Daniel

      That will help pay for Theo as well.

  • John_CC

    I just keep wondering why everyone cares so much about how much money the Red Sox spend or the Ricketts or any team?

    Yes it influence ticket prices, but those are also dictated by the market demand to go to Fenway or Wrigley or wherever.

    The critique that Epstein paid “too much” money for the teams that won is ridiculous. It is a hater comment, fueled by the small market mentality that hates the fact that life isn’t fair. Well, life isn’t fair! We should all know this too well after 103 years of futility.

    • Dorasaga

      There were some very good studies on whether player expense relates to ticket prices. One of them was by the economist JC Bradbury’s. Simply put: Ticket prices are dictated by HOW MUCH the owner THINKS the fans are willing to pay, not at all related to player expense.

      • cubtex

        Of course that is the case. Economics 101. You don’t need a study to come up with that conclusion.

        • John_CC

          Well then why do you always sight how much money has been “wasted” on certain players?  Because you are one that brings it up a lot.

          And I am NOT trying to be antagonistic, I sincerely want to know why the collective we care so much about the amount of money that a baseball franchise pays specific players?  Because it rarely seems to be about justice, it is always — “he gave Carl Crawford 25$MM a year! he isn’t worth that…” 

          What is “worth” and who defines it when talking about a professional athlete?

          • cubtex

            I am pointing out that Theo cannot be compared to other GM’s because only the Yankees had the paytoll the Red Sox had to spend like a drunken sailor. He and Cashman are on a different playing field.

          • Tom U

            I had that discussion with Tony Hall last year. It shouldn’t be any of our business what player makes, as long as the team doesn’t cite the contracts as an excuse for not providing the best possible team. As long as someone plays hard and is productive, it shouldn’t matter to fans what they are paid.

          • Tony_Hall

            What about when a team overpays for a player, that could have been covered internally, for league minimum, for just a little less production, and then that money could have been used to fill another hole on the team, that   is needed?  

            That is why it does matter.  Now if a team has a budget, and they have “excess” budget, than by all means, pay what it takes to get xyz player. That is always my point, don’t spend, just to spend, spend it on difference makers, then even if you overpay (as all FA’s get) at least your getting a player that makes a difference.

          • John_CC

            Tony, all that means is that the GM made a bad decision.  The actual amount of money paid to the player does not really matter, it is the player vs player performance. 

            This is what GMs are hired to do. Make the tough decisions and then live with them. 

            I just do not see how a players salary has that much to do with it.  It is just the easiest thing for the layman to complain about…”and he makes 16 Million Dollars…” 

            I don’t hear people complain about bad actors that make that kind of money on a single movie! 

          • Tony_Hall

            It only matters if it keeps them from acquiring a player, and they can’t do it.  

            Other than that I really don’t care how much they are overpaid to play a kid’s game…I just wish I could trade places with them.

            Don’t get me started on actors…

  • cubtex

    Here is the money Theo had to work with in his years with the Red Sox. Let’s see if Ricketts give him these resources. Look where the Red Sox ranked in baseball.

    2002    #2 in all of baseball
    2003    #6
    2004    #2
    2005    #2
    2006    #2
    2007    #2
    2008    #5
    2009    #4
    2010    #2
    2011    #3

    As you can see….not many GM’s could have been put in as good as a situation as that! It will be interesting to see what this guy could do with a limited budget. Hopefully we won’t have to find out. I hope Ricketts spends like what Theo has been used to. Moneyball???? Not hardly!

    • Tony_Hall

      What about all of the young guys, that he has drafted and developed?  You make it sound like he has built a team, using FA.  

      He has used his system to get players (like Cubs did w/Garza) and drafted, developed, and signed them, to keep them many players.

      He uses “moneyball” but with a budget :)  Not sure you can put those 2 together or not.

  • Stu_studdly

    Maybe the Cubs can pay for the clubhouse beers for the Boston rotation

  • Dorasaga
    • cubtex

      Any article that says the Cubs farm system was half depleted from the Garza deal is not worth reading. Really??? Half depleted? A high A ball shortstop, Guyer( a 4th outfielder) Chirions(backup catcher) and Chris Archer? That devasted our farm system? Ridiculous statement

    • cc002600

      Did they really say that Byrd is under paid  and will net a boatload in return ?  are they on crack ?

      Did they mean a “boatload” of balls ?

      Byrd is a 34 year old outfielder making $6.5M  that has average speed and very little power.   His trade value is ZILCH.  NADA.

  • Anonymous47701

    how’s this for compensation:

    RHP Esmailin Caridad
    3B Marquez Smith
    1B Justin Bour
    SS Elliot Soto
    $1.5M cash

    for

    Theo Epstein
    1B Lars Anderson

  • Anonymous47701

    Trade Idea:

    RHP Carlos Zambrano to Miami Marlins

    for OF Logan Morrison and PTBNL

    • ghostofelvis

      I couldntr make that trade fast enough. Question is, would Florida?

  • ghostofelvis

    Be gald to see Theo come on in. Just dont forget to bring your track record of Success with the BoSox with you.

  • Brp921

    I am in the wait and see mode (and I hope this hire ends up being a blockbuster move), but I wanted some new blood, someone with talent and who was hungry to make a name for themselves. Will Epstein be a catylist to the world series for the Cubs or warmed over soup? I’ve been a Cub fan to long to just jump on Epsteins bandwagon. Let’s not forget that Lou Piniella and Dusty Baker rode in on big white horses and they didn’t exactly end up heroes on the Northside. I do like the reports that Epstein might bring in Ryne Sandberg as the manager though. That would be the best off season move I could think of.

  • John G

    Looking forward (optimistically I admit) to the potential of Ryne Sandberg being the next manager of the Cubs. How much would you give to be at the game when he first gets tossed, probably by Joe West or Angel Hernandez? Would Wrigley Field go up for grabs at that point?

    Just musing on a rainy afternoon waiting for the ALCS game to start.

  • Tony_Hall

    A good read for anyone doubting if this is a good move.

    RT @JeffPassan Theo Epstein is a spectacular hire for Cubs and unnecessarily stupid loss for the Red Sox. Here’s why:http://t.co/6wWCRF6A 3 minutes ago

    • John_CC

      I like Passan. He is a smart guy and good writer. Thanks Tony.

    • J Daniel

      GREAT article!

  • Tony_Hall

    Great advise from Barry Rozner of the Daily Herald to Theo on his 1st day.

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20111012/sports/710129715/

    “Have Crane Kenney moved out of the ballpark and into the Triangle Building. True, it’s not built yet, but let’s not quibble over the details.”

    A very funny read…

    • studio179

      Rozner says the Cubs should buyout Ramirez for the 2MM. Why can’t the Cubs just offer arbitration knowing he will get a multi year deal from someone. Thus, saving the 2MM and getting picks as well. Am I missing something here?

      Funny stuff by Rozner. I could not agree more about Kenney.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs in AFL (10/12): Junior Lake(SS): 2-for-4,2 SB; DJ LeMahieu(1B): 1-for-4,R; Chris Carpenter: 1R,2H,K,WP in 1IP (21 pitches, 12 strikes); Josh Vitters did not play

  • Skeldor

    Saw on MLB Trade Rumors that Peter Gammons says he can see the Sox getting someone like Brett Jackson as compensation.  I know hes probably talking outta his arse but if that were to happen I’ll be upset.  I sure hope it’s just cash we send to them.  There were too many good options to give up any kind of talent.  

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      I am not hearing Brett Jackson is part of the compensation for Epstein. I continue to hear mid-level prospect and cash. We should find out in the next 24 hours.

    • texcubnut

      It won’t be Jackson. Gammons, if nothing, is a Red Sox buttboy only wanting to get the best outcome for his team. I believe it will be cash considerations and possibly low prospect or two at the most.

    • bpot92

      hopefully Gammons is wrong, especially considering he said this 
      “A guy like Brett Jackson who is young, would immediately take over as the Red Sox’ regular right fielder, right-handed hitter, which they need. A guy like that is probably the most logical The Red Sox aren’t going to get Starlin Castro. ” Um which Brett Jackson is he talking about because ours is left handed for hitting and plays Cf and RF

  • Tom U

    Bryan LaHair with 2 HR’s for Magallanes, including one off of minor league teammate Austin Bibens-Dirx, as he is 3-for-3, 3 RBI in the Venezuelan League opener.

    • Tom U

      Make that 4-for-4 with 2 HR’s, 2B, and 3 RBI as he is now done for the evening.

  • cc002600

    so if you had to put a number on it, what does everyone think the chances Ryno will be next manager ?

    • Tony_Hall

      95%

      Why not 100%?

      I do go along with the idea, that next year is still going to suck.  There is a lot of dead weight to get rid of on this team.  Keeping Q, would allow Theo, to fire him half way through next year, or after next season, and deflecting blame away from him, while saying he gave the guy a chance.  

      With that said, I would think (95%) that Theo, knows enough about Chicago, likes Sandberg (offered him the Red Sox AAA teams manager job last year), and knows it would be wildly popular for the fans.

      95% Sandberg
      4% Francona
      1% Quade

      • Jay from Sandwich

        I should be on the 95% side to a no brainer, but TE is going to do it his way which means it it up for grabs. Sandberg may not even get a token interview. Which would suck because he deserves a chance and it should be with the Cubs. My gut feeling is it will not happen. Or Ryno gets it will be until they are continders and TE will go else where.

      • cc002600

        wow, I hope you are right.  I don’t see why not.

  • matthew8510
  • matthew8510
  • Anthony

    Heard from Geter Pammons that every Cub prospect who doesn’t have a 1:1 K/BB ratio will be released. That should make the Northside and Bleeder fans very happy.

  • Ripsnorter1

    Get your hate mail machines working! I am going to post an analysis of your Chicago Cubs, both ML and MiL systems. You are going to hate me, but fortunately, you don’t know where I live….

    What I am posting is an exact quote from Kevin Goldstein of the Baseball Prospectus. I agree almost 100% with him (the only real disagreement: he calls Barney a good fielder). 

    BE HORRIFIED!
    WEEP IN ANGUISH!!
    BECAUSE JIM QLUELESS HAS GUTTED THE CHICAGO CUBS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM. NO LEVEL WAS SPARED.
    JIM QLUELESS WAS THE GRIM REAPER IN DISGUISE.
    HE KILLED YOUR CHICAGO CUBS!!

    Now, Baseball Prospectus on the mess Hendy left for Theo Epstein:

    ” Congratulations Theo Epstein, you’re the new Chicago Cubs general manager! Win a World Series and you own this town and have an instant legacy. So, what are you inheriting?

    Well, it’s a veteran roster with some brutal contracts and a farm system that is more deep than star-studded. But a walk through the roster and a look at some of the talent on its way shows that this team can win, but it will take some smart maneuvering.

    CatcherIncumbent: Geovany Soto (2011 salary: $3 million). Soto still has a couple of years of relative cost control, and while he’s frustratingly inconsistent, he’ll always have above-average power for the position and has improved a bit defensively.

    What’s coming: Like most systems, the Cubs are weak behind the plate. But while he’s been in the system for a long time, Wellington Castillo still deserves note, maybe more than ever following a .286/.351/.524 season at Triple-A Iowa. He’s almost a Soto type with a better arm, but he also has a propensity for injuries. It might be best to let him fill a back-up role for a while in preparation for the job upon Soto’s departure.

    First baseIncumbent: Carlos Pena (2011 salary: $10 million). There’s some talk of bringing Pena back, but being a great guy can get you only so far. He’s averaged 32 home runs and 92 walks during the past three years, but Pena has also hit .216 in the process.

    What’s coming: It’s nearly impossible to see a soon-to-be 29-year-old as a prospect, but after winning Pacific Coast League MVP honors and hitting in the big leagues during a September call-up, it’s time to take Bryan LaHair a little more seriously. Scouts think he could be as productive as Pena, if not more, with a .270 batting average and 20-plus home runs. So with 2012 unquestionably a rebuilding season, why not see if those scouts are right and spend the Pena money elsewhere? Dan Vogelbach, Chicago’s 2011 second-round pick, has massive raw power, but when you are a high school player who already has weight issues, it’s a huge red flag.

    Second baseIncumbent: Darwin Barney (2011 salary: $417,000). Barney hit .276/.313/.353 as a rookie and played excellent defense, but that’s not enough production for an everyday player. Every team wants a player like Barney on the roster, but they want him in a utility role. Barney was also miscast on the right side of the infield, as he’s a better defender at shortstop than Starlin Castro.

    What’s coming: The Cubs are loaded with second base prospects (also known as failed shortstops). The problem is, none of them are very good. D.J. LeMahieu got some time in the big leagues last year and Ryan Flaherty is close as well, but both are sub-par defenders who have hit for power in the minors but need to cheat for it, which won’t work in the big leagues. More likely to help in the big leagues, albeit in a utility role, is Marwin Gonzalez, who could deserve a look at some point in the upcoming season.

    Third baseIncumbent: Aramis Ramirez (2011 salary: $14.6 million). Ramirez was the team’s best player in 2011, but is it worth picking up a $16 million option for 2012, or giving him $2 million to go away? Ramirez turns 34 next year, so a long-term deal would be a mistake, but a complete rebuild might be an unmitigated disaster, and the team still needs offense.

    What’s coming: Perennial prospect Josh Vitters continues to confound. The third overall pick in the 2007 draft, Vitters spent the year in Double-A and still has a remarkable feel for contact, striking out just 54 times in 488 at-bats while earning some praise for his improved defense. The problem is that while he gets better, it’s still in small increments, as his swing-at-everything approach continues to be a sore point within the organization. He’s still talented and is going to be a big leaguer, but 2012 will be key to us figuring out just how much value he’ll provide.

    ShortstopIncumbent: Starlin Castro: (2011 Salary: $440,000). Castro is a potential face-of-the-franchise player if he’s not one already. Expect more 200-hit seasons and more power, but the defensive issues are very real, as well as a body that is getting thicker and slower. It’s hard to say if he’ll slide over to third base or second, but he’ll likely be off shortstop by the time he gets close to free agency. Either way, one of the best moves the franchise could make would be to lock him up long-term.

    What’s coming: The Cubs don’t have any shortstops of note that are close. Junior Lake made some notable improvements this year with the bat, but he still can’t hit a breaking ball, and plenty of scouts would love to see what his plus-plus arm could accomplish on the mound. Worth keeping an eye on is Dominican teenager Marco Hernandez. He flashed above-average offensive and defensive ability in the complex league this summer. The best shortstop prospect in the system is 2011 first-round pick Javier Baez, but like Castro, he’s more of a hitter than a defensive player, and he’ll also need to move to second or third base.

    OutfieldIncumbents: Alfonso Soriano (2011 Salary: $19 million); Marlon Byrd ($5.5 million);Reed Johnson ($900,000). The Soriano contract, of course, is a farce and an albatross, as he’s owed $54 million for the next three years and has a no-trade clause to boot. The best-case scenario involves picking up half of it and paying him to drop the no-trade clause, although that would still be a nightmare. Byrd is fine for just one more year, and Johnson had a nice fluky year as an extra guy. As for the young players, the team needs to admit that Tyler Colvin and Tony Campana are not answers.

    What’s coming: The Cubs’ top position prospect is Brett Jackson, and while he’s ready to contribute in 2012, expectations need to be tempered. With solid tools across the board but nothing in the star-level category, he’s a potential 20-20 center fielder. However, a lack of contact ability will always keep the average down and the strikeout rate high. Outfield is a position of weakness in the system, and scouts are extremely mixed on speedster Matt Szczur, with some seeing him as an everyday player and others as a Johnson clone. Korean import Jae-Hoon Ha profiles as a future fourth-outfielder type.

    Starting pitchingIncumbents: Ryan Dempster (2011 Salary: $14.5 million); Matt Garza ($5.95 million);Randy Wells ($475,000); Carlos Zambrano ($18.75 million). Rodrigo Lopez and Casey Coleman shared fifth starter duties in 2011, but neither deserves mention as far as the future goes. Dempster’s ERA jumped by nearly a full run in 2011, but his peripherals weren’t as bad. And while he might not be worth the $14 million he’ll get in 2012, he’s a valuable starter and a potentially valuable trade chip come July. Garza has two more years of bargain salaries before he hits free agency, and as far as value-to-money ratios go, he’s the team’s most valuable arm by a wide margin. Wells has value solely as an innings eater, but teams need those as well. Zambrano’s contract is a nightmare, as he’ll be paid $18 million next year, but luckily his player option will not vest unless he’s a Cy Young candidate next year, in which case, he’s worth every penny.

    What’s coming: Starting pitching is a severe point of weakness in the organization, mostly because of trades and disappointing 2011 seasons. Chris Archer is now with the Tampa Bay Rays. Trey McNutt fell apart mechanically, and 2010 first-round pick Hayden Simpson had a lost season, losing as much as 10 mph off his fastball since his college days. There are some potential back-end pieces like Robert Whitenack, but this is a glaring weakness that will need to be addressed from the outside.

    Relief pitchingKey incumbents: John Grabow (2011 Salary $4.8 million); Carlos Marmol ($3.2 million); Sean Marshall ($1.6 million); James Russell ($427,500); Jeff Samardzija($3.5 million); Kerry Wood ($1.5 million). Grabow is a free agent and no longer an overpaid reliever in the bullpen. Marmol’s extension moves into the expensive years, as he’ll earn $16.8 million during the next two seasons combined, which could be a bargain or a real problem depending on how many strikes he throws, as the raw stuff is at least worth the price tag. Marshall’s salary bumps up to $3.1 million, but as a durable lefty who is dangerous against righties as well, he’s more than worth it, although he is a free agent after 2012. Russell is a usable extra arm, while Samardzija deserves props for becoming a solid reliever with excellent stuff, although the control is still an issue. Wood is a free agent again, and while he’s no great shakes, he’s certainly worth another $1.5 million deal.

    What’s coming: Relief pitchers are rare in most systems, as they are mostly failed starters. Jay Jackson is the closest to being ready (could help in 2012), although his ceiling likely ends in the seventh inning. The most intriguing name is suddenly Andrew Cashner. An elite closer in college who was groomed as a starter, Cashner was poised for a breakout this year before shoulder problems ruined his season. Cashner is throwing in the upper 90s in the Arizona Fall League while touching triple digits, and he’s the most likely to assume closer duties should Marmol’s wildness continue to plague him.One good draft, one good year internationally, and this is suddenly a system with legitimate prospects to go with a bunch of depth. Throw in the fact that the team is in the National League Central, and things look that much better given the Milwaukee Brewers may losePrince Fielder and the St. Louis Cardinals, even if they keep Albert Pujols, aren’t exactly getting younger. There’s an opportunity here, so don’t blow it.No pressure.

    Kevin Goldstein covers baseball for ESPN Insider. He has worked for Baseball Prospectus, where he is a national writer, since 2006 and has covered the sport for a decade, with a focus on scouting, prospects and player development. He has previously worked for Baseball America and the self-started The Prospect Report. You can find his ESPN archives here and follow him on Twitter here.

    • studio179

      That was a tough read with no paragraphs, but I get what you say.

      • studio179

        Ahh, paragraphs…thank you.

    • John G

      I wonder if Kerry Wood would make a decent pitching coach. 1.5MM for a player/coach.

      • Tony_Hall

        Ah no…

    • Jay from Sandwich

      It always been BS to me to read this stuff from one of these quote experts, who do not work for a baseball team to ripe apart a teams prospects. The reason why I say this is because they are wrong about players just like everyone else and they do not think we are smart enough to know that this curent comments about the cubs fan system is mostly based on the fact that most player never make it to the majors and or even if they do make it that once they get thier they will fail anyways. This is total BS

      • Coolpdxcubsfan

        Some of them learn how to spell though.

    • cubtex

      Did Goldstein actually say LeMahieu hit for power in the minors??? What stat is he looking at?

      • Jay from Sandwich

        I believe that the current Chicagocubsonline expert is knows the Cubs talent better than Goldstein ever will !!!! Who makes this people experts anyways is a magazine editor? What do they know anyways?

        • Tom U

          Thank you, Jay

        • Tony_Hall

          It is very difficult for anyone to know a teams farm system, unless they live and breathe it every day.  No reporter can do that unless it is their job to cover that teams farm system.

          But they still have to write articles.

    • Last_ginger

      This doesnt say its depleted it actually say it has depth so i dont know where you’re going with this.

    • brent carmona

      catcher: no mention of clevenger. he should be a solid back up at the major league level, as a starter he has a good bat that should cut it but i dunno how good his d is.

      first: agree with him on lahair, give him a shot. but hes way off with vogelbomb.I dont see how you can say he has weight issues when he lost a good deal of weight (25+pounds if i remember correctly) to show he is dedicated, plus I’ve heard he is athletic for his SIZE (not saying NFL linebacker athletic but decent) and does not run bad, just okay.

      2nd: agree barney is best as a utility player. again though he is off with DJ as noted by tom he has made HUGE strides with his defense this season, and it showed when he played 3rd towards the end of the season (he made dewitt look downright pathetic). I dunno what to say about his bat, he always hit for a high avg and Tom has faith he can consistantly bat over .300 at the MLB level, plus he still can put on some muscle, however he does have a long swing that worries me still. dunno about flaherty’s d but his bat is solid, hard to say if his power is legit or not (15 hr a season ish?). he does take awhile to adjust to the next level though, but he does adjust eventually, i guess thats still a plus. agree with him on marwin.

      3rd: agree with him on vitters, d needs more work and of course his patience.

      outfield: Bjax K rate is alarming, but hey at least the kid can take a walk on a regular basis. I know his d isnt outstanding but it would be better than byrds in CF im pretty sure. agree campana is a 5th of type but I still believe colvin should get a good chunk of AB’s next year (maybe I’m just drooling over how much power he has, when he connects the ball goes a long long way) to make sure where he’s at. Szczur needs more time in the minors so I wont go there.

      SP: eh I dont know what to think. I might catch flack for this but i have a feeling Coleman will figure it out and be productive as a low end starter. his 2-seamer has good life on it and he learned a 4 seamer this year that usually got to 93-94 mph, but we all know he has to keep the ball down as his offspeed pitches are meh. Jay jax has regressed the past couple of years, its hard to say if he can get his stuff back together to where he once was (celing could be a 4-5th SP if so). Although struck advanced to AAA quickly he was not very impressive there, probably needs another year to see where he’s at. Rusin has good control but does not get alot of K’s, another low end of the rotation type regardless. As far as impact starters Mcnutt needs to start fresh in AA injury free to see if he’s the real deal and while whitenack had a dominant stretch before the injury it’s a small sample size and he must face the league adjusting to him so i’m not too sure if he’s the low end or impact type. Cant forget about cashner here, who knows what the cubs plan to do with him though, SP or RP.

      RP: No mention of Jeff Beliveau (spelling?), had a pretty sick 2011 season, I think he could be a dependable guy at the MLB level. I dont think Maine will stick and while gaub has great stuff his control is a big ? mark and probably needs more time in the minors to work that out. Same with r.dolis. I wouldn’t worry about the pen, SP is the real issue here.

      Just wanted to throw in my two cents and shed some light, as goldstein makes some good points but did not mention everything he could. sorry for the choppy sentences/CAPS im suppose to be studying and I got the stove going on as well.

       

      • Dorasaga

        Thanks for your response. I think one of the problems with folks like Goldstein is that they need to spare time for ALL teams and their farm system. They can only do so by following the “exciting” prospects, and the Cubs system would be out of their radar most of the time. These guys followed the draft, and they know who’s coming and who’s high regarded. The Cubs drafted, well, no one spectacular, and the history of home-grown crop is not backing them up.

        This situation will be either good or bad for the new GM. He can surprise the league by playing prospects who were not highly regarded but found a tool or two to outperform his minor league career when called up. He can also look bad if some other team drafted (Rule 5) or traded some underrated prospect and turned him to a solid regular.

    • Tony_Hall

      You could of just posted the link…

  • matthew8510

    SI_JonHeyman Jon Heyman
    hearing #redsox insisting theo can’t take other boston execs with him. That seems fair as part of agreement. #cubs

  • studio179

    Thank you.

  • Cubs Rock

    The Cubs are wasting money on Theo, Theo is the king of wasting money.  He spent $492,000,000 the last two years and the Red Sox didn’t make the playoffs either year. Don’t forget all of his horrible signings: John Lackey, Carl Crawford, David Wells, Joel Piniero, Keith Foulke, Ramiro Mendoza, J.C. Romero, Julian Tavarez, Edgar Rentaria, Erik Bedard, Andrew Miller, Bobby Jenks, Eric Gagne, JD DREW, JULIO LUGO, DICE K and so on and so on! The Red Sox are better off without Theo and the Cubs just a GM that has a major spending problem. He spends a lot of money on the wrong players. Futhermore, The Red Sox won the 2004 World Series with the majority of players being signed or drafted by their former GM Dan Duquette. In 2007 the Sox won because of the trade for Lowell & Beckett, which happened when Theo was being a baby and quit the Sox for several months. (If you don’t know that story, google it) THEO IS SO OVERRATED!

    • Jay from Sandwich

      You could be write or the Boston club persedent and owner Henry may have over ruled TE on some of these signings because they think or are trying prove then kown more TE. Just look at the Cowboys ower in the NFL and you will see this is very possible.

    • Tony_Hall

      What about drafting and developing guys like MVP Pedroia, Lester, Ellsbury…  Name me 3 guys, that good, that JH ever drafted and developed…heck you can even include any players JH even traded or signed…

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    For those that might have missed from Tony’s post earlier today …

    http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20111012/sports/710129715/

  • paulcatanese

    Only one more thing,if we can get Len and Bob to wear a coat and tie.

    • roseyc

      or go away

    • paulcatanese

      Like to see then struggle keeping all of the grease from the varied menues they sanple.

  • Ryan7

    So if ryno is named manager of the cubs does anyone see Mark Grace as hitting coach,Dunsten 1st or 3rd base coach, Dawson 1st or 3rd base coach, Maddux as pitching coach and Brendly as Bench coach. I would even like to see Kenny Lofton as part of the coaching staff maybe fielding coach. What do u guys think.

    • Tony_Hall

      NO chance on Grace…  

      Dunston would send everyone, thinking they are as fast as he was.

      Dawson is way past coaching bases in his career.  

      Maddux likes to golf way more than the demands of being a full time pitching coach.

      BB is not leaving the booth except to manage.

      Sorry, can’t imagine anyone of these happening.