The Theo Watch Continues …

The Theo Epstein compensation talks continued Monday. After multiple outlets reported the deal would be officially announced prior to the start of the World Series (Wednesday) that no longer appears to be the case. The Cubs and Red Sox have not made much progress and according to the Tribune, Boston has no sense of urgency to get a deal done quickly.

With Ben Cherington in place to officially take over as the Sox GM once the Epstein deal is completed, he and Larry Lucchino are conducting their managerial search and the Epstein deal will not have an impact on the Red Sox moving forward. According to the Tribune, the Red Sox are “adamant about getting the best possible value out of the Cubs for the right to hire Epstein.”

The Sox have reportedly turned their attention to Trey McNutt and the Cubs’ top pitching prospect is one of three to four names being discussed by the two organizations. As the CCO reported over the weekend, the Sox asked for Matt Garza when negotiations first began and were quickly turned down.

Here’s an update on the Epstein negotiations that includes possible targets for the Cubs front office and notes from an interview with Kevin Goldstein on WGN Radio …

Epstein Targets?
One of the hurdles in the Theo Epstein negotiations has been whom Epstein can take with him from the Red Sox front office. Epstein has submitted a list to the Red Sox according to the Boston Herald.

Based on information from sources and informed speculation, the Herald feels three names could be a part of Epstein’s list … Brian O’Halloran (VP of Baseball Operations), Dave Finley (Special Assistant to the General Manager) and Mike Reinhold (Head Athletic Director and Assistant Director of Medical Services). Epstein thinks highly of Reinhold according to the Herald and he could head the Cubs’ medical department.

Two other names that could be joining Epstein in Chicago are Josh Byrnes and Jason McLeod. McLeod headed the amateur draft in Boston and is currently Jed Hoyer’s assistant GM in San Diego.

The Herald speculated that depending on what Epstein’s title may end up in Chicago that either Byrnes or McLeod could end up being the Cubs’ GM.

Theo Notes
According to a report from the Tribune, Major League Baseball is monitoring the negotiations between the Cubs and Sox but Bud Selig’s office has no power to arbitrate a resolution. Larry Lucchino and Tom Ricketts will have to make the deal happen.

According to the Boston Globe, the talks are ongoing but nothing is close. The two organizations were far apart when the negotiations began and have not met in the middle yet. The Cubs wanted to send cash to Boston for Epstein while the Red Sox have wanted compensation in the form of top players from the beginning.

According to multiple reports, while a deadline has not been set, normally this type of process does not go beyond 14 days … but teams can ask for an extension if the conversation appears to be ongoing, according to a report from ESPN Chicago.

According to a report from the Sun-Times, reports from Boston and sources in Chicago suggest motivation on both sides for a quick resolution.

If an announcement is not made on Tuesday, the organizations would have to ask for permission from MLB to make an announcement during the World Series … even on a travel/off day.

Kevin Goldstein on WGN Radio
Baseball Prospectus’ Kevin Goldstein joined David Kaplan, Brian Noonan and Andrea Darlas on Sports Night (720 WGN) Monday to talk Cubs prospects in relation to the Theo Epstein negotiations. Goldstein is one of the best when it comes to prospects and can be heard on Sirius/XM Radio on MLB Roundtrip on most Sunday nights.

David Kaplan began the interview by asking Kevin Goldstein if he would give up Trey McNutt and another prospect for Theo Epstein. Goldstein said he does not see how McNutt is untouchable. Goldstein does not know, like most, what a general manager is worth. He saw what the White Sox received for Ozzie Guillen (RHP Jhan Marinez and SS Osvaldo Martinez Baseball America ranked the fourth and fifth best prospects in the Marlins’ system respectively prior to the 2011 season, White Sox also sent unranked prospect RHP Ricardo Andres to Miami) but a different formula could be used to determine what a GM is worth. Also, the White Sox received a good return for Guillen considering the White Sox wanted Ozzie to leave. The same cannot be said about Epstein … the Red Sox wanted Epstein to remain their GM.

Goldstein said he could see Josh Vitters and Rafael Dolis on the table and prior to his performance in the AFL, Chris Carpenter. Goldstein explained that Carpenter has likely pitched his way off the table over the past week due to his performance in the AFL. Goldstein said he would feel comfortable including McNutt and Dolis in a deal for Epstein. Goldstein is concerned about the McNutt’s lack of performance when he was healthy last season (performance and injuries are a concern).

What is making the negotiations very interesting is timing. Goldstein explained that every second a deal does not get done the more likely it will not get done. Goldstein feels the Cubs can’t afford to wait and that what gives Boston leverage in the negotiations. Most teams have already started working on next year and the Cubs cannot. The Cubs need to get their off-season going, they cannot wait six weeks as Kaplan questioned. Goldstein said they are already behind the eight ball.

Goldstein reiterated if the Red Sox were to use the White Sox as a parameter, the Red Sox would want more in return than the White Sox received for Guillen … again, because they wanted Guillen to leave.

Kaplan asked Goldstein about a handful of players and if he would include them as compensation for Epstein. Andrew Cashner? No. Starlin Castro? No. Matt Garza? No. Sean Marshall? Goldstein said he would consider because Marshall has value but he’s been told Major League players would not be in the deal. Goldstein said the Red Sox could use a catching prospect. While Goldstein has not heard his name, a player Goldstein feels the Red Sox should have interest in is Welington Castillo. Castillo would fit a need for Boston.

Goldstein, like many, is beginning to think Larry Lucchino is allowing his emotions to override logic.

Once Theo Epstein takes over baseball operations for the Cubs, he has a lot of work to do … and quickly. Epstein has to assemble a front office staff then start addressing the team on the field. With the start of the World Series just around the corner, free agency (Major League and Minor League levels) will begin soon and once Epstein is in charge he has a lot of decisions to make in a short amount of time.

Kevin Goldstein finished the interview by saying Theo Epstein is a “great get for the Chicago Cubs.”

Managerial Notes
The Tribune made a case as to why Mike Quade should not manage the Cubs next season.

According to a report in the Tribune, speculation is that if Ryne Sandberg interviews to take over for Mike Quade then he will get the job … “the Cubs can’t make him a candidate twice and turn him down twice.”

The Tribune reported that several Cubs’ players “talked among themselves at the end of the season about how Ryne Sandberg would fare” if he is the team’s manager in 2012. Sandberg managed several of the young players on the Cubs’ roster and had a good rapport with most of them.

Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

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Quote of the Day

"Don’t ever permit the pressure to exceed the pleasure." - Joe Maddon