Epstein, Hoyer and the Waiting Game

The daily saga that has become the Theo Epstein compensation negotiations hit more snags on Thursday. By just about all accounts the deal is done and the only thing holding up an official announcement is the medical reports on the minor league players going back to Boston … and the World Series. According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Cubs received permission from the MLB front office to make an announcement on an off day during the World Series. But if the announcement is not made Friday, the next travel day for the Fall Classic is Tuesday … that is if the series goes back to St. Louis for a game six.

Once Epstein is introduced as the president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, he is expected to hire both Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod. Hoyer and McLeod were with Epstein in Boston and played pivotal roles in the Red Sox success over the better part of the last decade.

According to a report from Scott Miller of CBS Sports, not only will Theo Epstein eventually ink a five-year contract but Jed Hoyer is also expected to sign a five-year deal with a significant pay increase from his current salary as incentive to move.

The parameters of a deal are reportedly in place that will affect three organizations, all that is left is for the Cubs and Red Sox to make the first step official …

Stay Tuned … it could be an interesting Friday or more of the same.

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Quote of the Day

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else." - Charles Dickens
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  • Dorasaga

    “Key advisor?” I wonder if Bill James is interested?

    • Bobby P

      Didn’t Theo make sure to hire him? More like a delegate position anyway, so I wouldn’t exactly be opposed to it. James has always been highly critical of how the Cubs have run their organization for the past 30 years, probably because the Cubs have always done the EXACT opposite of what he preaches…

      • Dorasaga

        Are you sure it’s “highly critical”? James wrote more about the Royals than anything else (he’s a local fan from Kansas City; lived within walkable distance to the ballpark). Maybe the benevolent Cubs PR and media made a fuss out of ANYONE who criticized the organization, like Sammy Sosa and the rest of baseball. LOL

        By the way, good reference to the “The Art of Winning an (Even More) Unfair Game.” Baseball operation is a people’s business, but teams need to find any competitive edge they can get. I’m glad the Cubs are finding theirs.

        • Bobby P

          Well, he was highly critical of Philip K. Wrigley, the old owner of the Cubs and his belief that minor leagues should be independent from major leagues, i.e. no farm system. He’s also been critical of the business model Wrigley has run over the year, but that was prior to 1988 (and lights). I haven’t read many new things except for small things I can no longer find, but historically, he hasn’t been a fan.

          There are some good quotes from Bill James in this article:

          http://joeposnanski.si.com/2011/10/12/the-cubs/

          Another great SI article.

          The best quote from the article:

          “Wrigley [owner], as he aged, developed the idea that people just enjoyed coming out to the ballpark to see the games, enjoyed rooting for the boys, and that winning wasn’t EVERYTHING. They stopped making any real, committed and sincere EFFORT to win; they were just putting on a show for the fans. They had this old ballpark with no lights; they would bottom-feed off the players discarded by other teams, come up with an occasional pretty good player, win 75 games a year, draw pretty good attendance, make a little money, and everybody would be happy.”

          • Dorasaga

            I actually referred to that article a few days ago. But I don’t think Posnanski got the whole picture on PK Wrigley.

            Billy James, on the other hand, simply described what it was. I simply didn’t find him criticized more of the Cubs than all other people (Royals management) he described, or his  criticism any more severe than A.E. Else made on the mind of PK.

          • Bobby P

            Yeah, Cubs PR has long had a problem, that’s for sure. Remember Steve Stone? Frankly, if I were Bob Brenley, I’d be worried sometimes, but maybe that’ll change with everything else now. I don’t think I caught that article though.

            Yeah, I guess you’re right about James. I guess it’s just the clash in philosophies mostly then. Either way, he’d be a good consultant to have.

            Wrigley was a complicated guy, I think he left a great legacy for the Cubs baseball brand, it’s basically the identity that still follows the Cubs. I mean, to begin to explain the plight and the joy of Cubs baseball, understanding the legacy of Phil Wrigley is a great place to start. Unfortunately, there is a time and place for everything and having a guy that actually cared about the baseball experience is not longer feasible. Now, everybody is pushing the profit margin and you can’t get caught behind like the Cubs have for so long.

  • Tony_Hall

    Hopefully today is the day…otherwise it will be a long weekend.

    Can anyone remember a more, anti-climatic new addition to one of our Chicago teams?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3JKQGSH67PHSCQL7OCOLRJHIGY TomO

      One that actually made it to Chicago?  No.

      But I do remember all the Brian Roberts talk.

      • J Daniel

        Jake Peavy singing Go Cubs Go.

        • Dorasaga

          I love this tradition… of Cubs fans waiting for the next whatever!

      • Tony_Hall

        I was thinking more “anti-climatic”, meaning it ended up happening, but the excitement was already over.

        We’ve had way more “Brian Roberts” then I care to remember.

  • Anthony

    In my opinion, the Cubs had a solid 2011 Draft. The farm system has quality players, as do the other teams. Folks have great expectations, but it appears these expectations are based on stats and performance from the standards of 10-15 years ago, meaning, a false standard, one tainted by inflated numbers based on the JUICE.

    The scouting community and their methods have become less secretive, info is shared, everyone pretty much has the same book on each draft eligible player so it really comes down to a roll call of best available player. I highly doubt adding these Execs will make a difference on the draft aspect of building an organization.

    Prospect development is really a player first-instructor 2nd process. The affiliated teams mainly provide a venue and some resources for players to have competition and repetition. What role do Execs have in development?

    So what does a GM/Pres bring toward winning, especially with a huge checkbook? How difficult can it be to identify a Club weakness and go FA shopping, or trading surplus away for a current need?

    Winning is based on timing. The players are all talented, at all levels, but the days of the entire lineup hitting over .300 with 20-30 dingers are GONE. In this new era of CLEAN baseball, you are seeing a game that more resembles the past, and you are seeing that translate down throughout the minors as well.

    Waiting for every player to become Roy Hobbs will never happen. Baseball is a very difficult game, so difficult that STARS who will be retiring soon or recently retired felt the need to use PED’s, no names mentioned. More now than ever, each prospect with a dream is going to have to figure out by themselves what it takes to be better than the others, an edge, a legal and legitimate Edge.

    What can a GM or Exec do for them? The Exec isn’t a hitting Guru, a pitching instructor? In other words, players WIN and non-players watch. There is no secret formula.

    Top of the lineup is speed and defense, best hitter 3rd, power 4 and 5 and strikeouts come with it, best available hitters 6-7 who can handle their defensive positions, then start reverting back to speed and defense 8-9th, and pitchers who throw strikes.

    $20,000,000 to manage a formula that is time-tested plus giving up prospects that may fit into your formula.

    OVERRATED is the term for the role.

    • Ryan

      Just like Theo and Hoyer/Mcleod drafting Bucholtz, Pedroia, Elsbury, etc etc etc was OVERRATED…  Just like bringing 2 WS through his formula to a franchise that had an 80 some year drought was OVERRATED.  Is it worth 20mil?  Probably not, but is it OVERRATED?  Get real, if it is and the formula is so easy why didnt Hendry or anyone else with get it done?  

      • cubtex

        Cmon Ryan.. Theo had HUGE dollars to spend compared to 95% of the other teams in baseball. Look what Andrew Friedman did with a quarter of the Sox payroll! That is impressive.

        • Ryan

          Cubtex – I am not saying it isnt impressive, that was no the argument by any means! The argument is that a GM is not overrated and if they were then Hendry could have got it done with the payroll he had.  Plain and simple and there really is no argument against it.  There is also no argument against the fact the Red Sox have brought up a number of home grown All-Star Caliber players during Theo’s time there, and that has nothing to do with the teams payroll.  

        • Tony_Hall

          Theo has 2 World Series rings.

          Friedman has….

          I know, I know, money buys the rings…but it really doesn’, it just buys a better chance to have a chance…

          • Bobby P

            There is nothing you can say to tell him that bringing in Theo is a good idea. Cubtex is too entrenched in the fact that he wants to be the first to say that Theo is not that great so in 5 years time if, god forbid, Theo has not brought us to the playoffs, he can wave his hand in the air and scream “Hey, look at me, I knew it all along.”

          • Tony_Hall

            I have discussed many things with Cubtex and know his opinions hold strong.

            One bit of advice, stay classy.  Neil has a great site, and asks that every day, and whether you agree or disagree with someone, whether they go there first, stay classy.

          • Bobby P

            I know, he seems like a great guy, really. We just had a heated threat about this further down. That said, I think that the Theo opinion is unfounded. Theo is a consensus top-5 GM, he’s a great hire. I’m really tired of dealing with Red Sox fans at MLBTR saying this guy is overrated.

            2 rings are not overrated. If you need to have a $200 million yearly payroll, so be it. Winning is winning, and guys like Vitters, McNutt, etc. are worth dealing in the name of winning, even if it sets us back short-term.

          • Tony_Hall

            That’s what I come back to, show me the rings…and Theo has 2 of them!

            Things get heated, just try to stay away from the personal attacks, if for no other reason, than it’s respectful to Neil and this great site.

          • paulcatanese

             agree with Tony, Cubtex is a great guy and we have discussed fundementals many times in the past, I dont think he is really against Epstein as much as the rhetoric and the way things have dragged out to get him here. Personaly I dont care one way or another as so much has been made out of the situation and it is true,with all of this going on the expectation of his success here is being raised daily. The only fault I find with Cubtex is he dosent know Castro is the best third baseman the Cubs will have.

          • Tony_Hall

            Paul – you find a way to push the Castro to 3B issue in all types of posts :)

          • paulcatanese

            :),:):)

          • Bobby P

            Castro would have to bulk up though, but his fielding ability would be hidden at the hot corner. Mostly his problem is positioning of his feet, making throws when he doesn’t need to, and staying focused. What he does well is that he has good range, maybe even great, which he’ll never use at 3B. He also has a cannon, which is useful at both positions.

            I think he could be the next Elvis Andrus if someone could just get through to him. He loves hitting, and God bless him for it, but it detracts from staying focused while fielding. Do you really want him unfocused at the hot corner when Pujols rips one right at him?

            I’m not ready to give up on him at SS yet, but he certainly needs to improve defensively this year.

          • paulcatanese

            I see theres another guy on this site that I have to try and brainwash, you and Cubtex agree on Castro. I love the little comments back and forth over Castro, makes my day. He will get there wait and see.

          • Tony_Hall

            I agree, eventually he will, but hopefully it is in about a decade :)

          • cubtex

            your not so bad yourself Paul :) and yes….Castro will be a 3rd baseman one day….just not yet

          • cubtex

            Sorry Bobby! I am not one of these…I told you so . I let you know my thoughts and that is it. I am happy Theo is finally hired so they have someone in place to move the team forward.

          • Bobby P

            Well, we’re all in the same boat now. Better hope it works out. I have a feeling you’ll come around soon enough…

      • Anthony

        Because each season only one team wins their last game, and there is a fine line between winning and losing.

        • Tony_Hall

          Actually, that is not true.  Out of the playoff teams, only 1 team wins their last game.  

          If it was so easy, no GM would ever make a mess of their team.  
          If it was so easy, no manager would ever, well look as overmatched as QBall did.

    • Dorasaga

      You reminded of my roommate who believed “Directors do nothing. They just let actors do whatever they want.”

      I guess if 2011 (draft) was so good, there’s nothing Epstein can build on that. All he needs to do is to make sure our next first round pick won’t trip on his own Wii, or jump down the second floor, or had a mono disease that no scouts seemed to care.

      I’m so happy with Vitters. He’s the next coming of Ron Santo. I’ll also like to see they sign Gathright back. He’ll avoid the DL as long as he can jump 2-feet high.

      That’s all there is in a GM, right? To keep the players from killing themselves. Quid est veritas?

    • woody34

      “The players are all talented, at all levels, but the days of the entire lineup hitting over .300 with 20-30 dingers are GONE”

      Here is your 2011 World Series Rangers lineup

      Kinsler .255/.355 32hr, 77rbi, 30 sb
      Andrus .279/.349 5 hr, 60rbi, 37sb
      Hamilton .298/.346 25 hr, 94 rbi, 8sb
      Young .338/.380 11hr, 106 rbi, 6 sb
      Beltre .296/.331 32hr, 105 rbi, 1 sb
      Cruz .263/.312 29hr, 87 rbi, 9sb
      Napoli .320/414 30hr, 75 rbi, 4 sb + his backup Torrealba 273/308 7hr, 37rbi
      Moreland .259/.320 16 hr, 51rbi + platoon with Murphy .275/.328 11hr 46rbi
      Chavez .301/.323 5 hr, 27 rbi, 5 sb in a half season

      That’s as close as you will get to your lineup that doesn’t exist any more.

      How many of these guys came up through their system? 
      Kinsler, Andrus, Cruz, Moreland, Murphy.  It’s all about scouting and the people directing those scouts.  You need both major league scouts to evaluate the talent for trades/signings i.e. Hamilton, Young, Beltre and the minor league scouts to put together a lineup like this.  This lineup is built to compete for 5 years with a couple of moveable parts.  

      • cubtex

        Elvis Andrus came from the Atlanta Braves system.

        • cubtex

          Actually, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy came from other organizations as well. The ONLY homegrown players you listed are Kinsler and Moreland.

          • Calicub

            CJ Wilson and a majority of their bullpen

          • cubtex

            I know that. I was pointing out the players he listed

          • Calicub

            i was just adding to the list.

            just tryin to be helpful…

          • woody34

            My point was the scouting department found these guys and brought them into their system.  To build a championship caliber team it requires scouting at every level and Texas is succeeding in that department.  

    • J Daniel

      If it is time tested why has every team not won?  Why are there bad teams? Just like in any profession some people are just better than others.

    • paulcatanese

      I happen to agree with you. A GM no matter what the credentials they may have are only as good as the players they draft or trade for. Even on paper if a free agent looks great, their is as good a chance they may turn out to be a bust.. Adam Dunn, classic example. The players that are drafted are at best a crap shoot and no one will know how they will turn out. As I believe you stated a lot depends on how they are handled once they sign a contract, it is correct to say a huge difference is the instruction along the way. I am not saying Epstein is not a good choice, but the amount of money and time to attain him is ridiculous when no one knows how he will perform under the conditions he will have with the Cubs. I believe a change was needed but this amount of fuss to replace Hendry? This will be very interesting to see how it works out.

    • Tony_Hall

      Jim Hendry made move after move, that decreased the ability of the team, year after year.  Quade made moves that didn’t get the most of the players he was given.  In both cases a different person, would have made a difference.

  • paulcatanese

    When Epstein comes in are they going re-decorate his office? Change the dishes and silverware with his emblem on them? Maybe the Cub emblem more to his taste? New carpeting? Might as well, he’s getting more perks than the President of the United States and without any fear of re-election in four years.

    • cubtex

      Exactly….I really wish this fiasco would end and say to Boston…….Keep him! 20 Mil for 5 years and then give the Sox 2 decent prospects and cash???? Give me a break!

  • cubtex

    OK Everyone……Here is “Boy Wonders” 1st round draft class since 2006. You be the judge IF he is smarter than anyone else. He has had several 1st round compensatory picks so he obviously had several chances to hit on players.

    2006
    1. Jason Place….Finished AA with a batting average of .148
    1A Daniel Bard….Good pick. Solid relief guy who struggled this year
    1B Kris Johnson…Getting lit up like a Christmas Tree in the minors. Huge ERA in AAA
    1C  Caleb Clay…Finished with a 7.47 ERA in AA

    Safe to say that the only player out of this class to be a contributor to a mlb team is Daniel Bard. Theo  was 1 out of 4 on 1st round picks…..25%

    2007… The year Josh Vitters was taken by the Cubs

    1.  Nick Hagadone…..Still in AAA   Decent numbers   4-3  3.35 ERA
    1 A Ryan Dent……….206 Batting average in AA 

    And people are complaining that Vitters hit over .280 with 81 RBI’s in AA at age 21???

    2008

    1. Casey Kelly(he slid to the Sox because of signability issues and was part of the AGon trade to SD)
    1A Bryan Price

    2009

    1 Reymond Fuentes

    2010

    1 K  Vitek
    1A Bryce Brent
    1B Anthony Renaudo

    As you can see…….Nothing special!! The Red Sox have only Daniel Bard since 2006 to be a conributor to the mlb team. The Cubs have Andrew Cashner. Maybe up to this point(because of health) I would give Bard a slight edge….but moving forward, I will bet that Andrew Cashner has a better career than Bard.

    • datkid

      You don’t judge how good a GM is just based on 1st round picks. If that’s the case, is there a good GM in the game? EVERYBODY misses on a majority of their 1st round picks and i mean like 80%. Good god, i honestly can’t believe you’re trying to argue that Theo’s not the right guy. 

      • Calicub

        is theo the right guy?

        maybe not but he is 200x better than Hendry could ever expect to be.

        I would’ve liked Friedman myself but i guarantee Theo will bring a whole new winning culture to the Northside. 

        • cubtex

          fair…but at what price???

          • Calicub

            For who theo? or to get friedman?

            either way though…

            Theo does not want back in Boston. Yet BOSOX want it all. The cubs can still create a front office w/o Theo. wait out a year… you know what he wants, have Jed set it up and then pay nothing for him after next year.  Cash is in my opinion fair but they obviously want players. I jsut feel Vitters  is too expensive to give when you have all the leverage.

            as far as Friedman, Idk if the Rays would command any compensation as Friedman doesn’t work under contract…

      • cubtex

        People are making Theo out to be “The one and only” savior for this organization! Good God!!! He is not the all mighty. Look at ALL those first round picks he missed on! Go ahead and build your “Theo” monument….but I am not buying all this hype.Look at what he has had to work with and be realistic. I am sorry if you are one of those ‘don’t confuse me with the facts….my mind is made up” types…but I don’t buy it!

    • J Daniel

      Maybe we can bring back Hendry then before it is to late.

      • cubtex

        No not Hendry….but I can name a half dozen GM’s who I would rather have ahead of Theo

        • J Daniel

          Agreed, not Hendry.  But do you know who else was interviewed?  Maybe the guys better did not want the job?  All the speculation is silly without actual knowledge of facts.

    • Calicub

      GM isn’t the only responsible party for drafting though. Think about what Frieta and Wilkens bring to the table.

      Since the 2006 draft how many ML ready superstar players have the cubs churned out?

      castro
      cashner

      you can’t count anyone else. 

      How many ML ready Superstars did boston churn out prior to 2006?
      far more who actually produced, for their team, to this day.

      and how many did the cubs do?

      don’t say Pie or Patterson or Gathright! Angel Pagan possibly but he is definitely no super star.

      • daverj

        Angel Pagan is not a product of the Cubs system.  The Mets developed him for 6 years before the Cubs acquired him (only to send him back to the Mets a couple years later).  But I think that helps the point you are making about the Cubs system!

        • Calicub

          good to know thanks.

          But the point remains indeed…

      • J Daniel

        How about Jake Fox?

        What about Matt Murton – everyone loves him – lol.  Where did he come from?

        • Calicub

          jake fox would have been a a good everyday stop gap player in 09 if he wasn’t on Pinella’s sh!t list…

          but other than that he’s been a toss around for the past three seasons.
          Cubs,A’s,O’s

      • cc002600

        what about marmol ?And marshal ain’t toobad either….

    • daverj

      You make some good points, but Bard is significantly better than Cashner now and there is no evidence (stats or otherwise) to believe that will change.

    • Dorasaga

      Bard was more than good in my fantasy league (where relievers count). I traded him for the catcher McBrian (spell that the other way), but I now regret.

      My pure guess is whatever proof of Theo-positivity that anyone bring up on the same subject, you will always see evil out of it. I don’t know if it’s an Anti-Boston thing or are you trying to crucify big-money?

      • cubtex

        Fantasy

        Reality…… 2-9     3.33 ERA.   He had a down year compared to the previous.

        I am just not one of these blinded fans thinking how the world will turn around with this Theo hiring. He has done some good things. I gave him props on his lower draft selections. He won 2 WS…OK. But he had a SIGNIFICANT advantage over almose EVERY GM in baseball. That is a fact.

        • Dorasaga

          “Advantage,” I’ll give you that, if you were simply talking about free agency other than David Ortiz (signed FA in 2003).

          “Reality,” ERA is never a good indicator of a reliever’s performance, less of someone with command and a gun of an arm in Bard. He can blow a save by giving up 7-runs but converted 19 holds without allowing any homers AND anyone on-base, but he still got a 3.33…

          I strongly recommend “Moneyball” because it has market inefficiency written all over the subjects, including Theo Epstein’s philosophy.

          You know I don’t really care about how much Theo can spend as a Cubs president (or GM). As long as he brings a winning tradition to the table.

    • Bobby P

      Let’s compare Theo vs. Hendry, shall we…

      Here are the “best” Wins Above Replacement guys from every draft since Theo took office. (I’m only using players that made it to the majors with the Red Sox or Cubs)

      2003:
      Jonathan Papelbon (17.1) vs. Sean Marshall (6.6)

      2004:
      Dustin Pedroia (24.5) vs. Sam Fuld (2.1)

      2005:
      Jacoby Ellsbury (13.6) vs. (Crickets) [Nobody made it to the majors from the Cubs 2005 draft, while the Red Sox also had Buchholtz (8.9) and Jed Lowrie (3.9) during this draft]

      2006:
      Justin Masterson (6.3) [who you forgot] and Daniel Bard (5.4) vs. Tyler Colvin (-0.6) and Jeff Samardzija (0.2)

      They haven’t used many guys from 2007 and on, and the Cubs have. You know why? BECAUSE OUR MAJOR LEAGUE TEAM STINKS!!!

      Stop claiming that Theo is not a good GM. He’s not a Messiah, but he’s as close as we can get right now.

      And stop thinking Josh Vitters is the best thing since sliced bread.

      • cubtex

        Why are you comparing Hendry to Boy Overhyped? I am not saying Hendry should have been retained. I am saying quit sticking your nose so far up his a## and look at reality!!!

        • Aaron

          I happen to agree with you on this one. The reason all of those guys got a chance with the Red Sox, is because the championship team in 2004 was built largely on stopgap veterans with a few rookies mixed in. The 2007 championship had a lot of their homegrown talent on it.

          The Cubs, on the other hand, were built with veterans the ENTIRE DAMN TIME HENDRY WAS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          Therefore, you can’t really compare the two. One organization had a plan, while the Cubs NEVER had a concrete plan with Hendry at the helm. Now, you’re starting to see more consideration given to the Cubs’ homegrown talent, because of necessity. With veterans aging and injuries setting in, they’ve had to reach into their system to pluck guys that otherwise wouldn’t have been given a chance. In other words, the Red Sox, and many other clubs will start the year with deserving prospects, while the Cubs will keep them down until a veteran is injured, then they’ll bring them up, but instead of starting them, they’ll ride the pine, while a career MLB bench player will take over the starting role. It’s completely backwards to how most normal franchises run their player development.

          …but anyways…back on topic

          I think the reason a lot of fans are up in arms over potential compensation is the fact that just as the Cubs are finally in a position to let the kids play, it sure seems like they’re trading away their future for a suit, doesn’t it?!?

          I’m not opposed to bringing Theo on board, as I think he has what it takes to bring a championship to the North Side, but I question the timing. Is it really wise to bring him in for prospects, when the Cubs could essentially have him for free next year when his contract is up, and all of this seemingly immovable contracts come off the books? After all, they could just bring in Hoyer to be the GM, lay the groundwork per Epstein’s guidance (which you get the feeling he’s already doing now), and have a seamless transition next year. It’s true, you’d ideally want to have your front office figured out with President of Baseball Ops, GM, AGM, and Scouting Director in place, but if that means setting your player development back because of compensation, then I’m not sure it makes much sense, unless—as I mentioned previously—you can replace those prospects lost with even better ones in trades for your veterans.

          • cubtex

            I was not trying to compare Theo to Hendry. I was just pointed out on how this guy is not the “one and only messiah” that many on here are claiming. I know you agree with me on Vitters…but many are calling him “just another 1st round bust” I wanted to point out MANY of Theo’s 1st round busts. Reality! To say that Theo will come in here and magically draft ALL studs is just fantasyland. That is what I was trying to point out.

          • EqDoc

            I haven’t seen a single person call Theo the “messiah”.  I think people are just excited that there is new blood who will have a plan and not just shoot from the hip and react by bying over the hill veterans.  Let’s all face it, who cares what compensation is given.  The Cubs will suck for the next few years.  Not only the Major league team but a good part of the minors needs to be gutted as well.  It will be a top down rebuilding process and other than the current draft and a few players here and there, there aren’t many players in the minors that will contribute to the Cubs long term.  We need to have a good drafts the next few years and stockpile talent.  Then the fun will start!

        • Bobby P

          I can say the same thing for you. Theo is a great GM. Is he going to bring a championship to the north side? Maybe, maybe not, but he has a stronger chance than most people out there.

          It’s like you are in a different world, man. Vitters hasn’t sniffed the big leagues. Cashner was injured all last year. Sure, I agree, he looks promising, but he’s pitched a total of 65 innings the the majors.

          Why do you have to be a Cubs homer and try to go against everybody for being excited about Theo? You’ll have plenty of time in 2-3 years if he fails, like you so clearly hope he does so you can parade here and say you said it all along.

          High school is tough, but it gets better and you’ll get older, maybe by then you’ll realize that you don’t have to argue against what the majority likes all the time. It’s cool to be a rebel, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.

          • cubtex

            Did your mom tell you…..if everyone jumped off a cliff…you should to??? I am sorry that I can think and compute for myself. Bobby…go ahead and look at polls first before you have an opinion. Look what the majority says before you speak…..Good god, god forbid you go against the majority and actually have a thought on your own!

          • Bobby P

            I’m not going to go into a “Yo Mama” contest.

            And I’m glad you paid attention in Sociology class. All I am saying is that right now, I’m not typing this up on a type writer and mailing it to you. I don’t have a flip phone anymore and I don’t wear a top hat.

            You’re probably a bright young guy, but you’re not a scout. Don’t act like it, please. None of this “Vitters puts the bat on the ball” bull, ok? How many times have you seen him? Do you live in Kodak, TN?

            You basically just think that Vitters will be good why? Because he has potential? So does every other prospect. YOU have to be realistic and realize that sometimes you let people go and they fizzle out and he can be good. Will he be can’t-miss good? You don’t know, neither do I.

            Enlighten me on Vitters. Please. I’m going to let you tell me why he is so good and shouldn’t be dealt. I’m not going to rip you, I’m just interested in why he’s so important. Floor is yours…

          • cubtex

            Thanks for calling me a “young guy” I am probably old enough to be your father since you are still talking about High School. I actually still have 2 kids in High School.
            Listen….I do not want to get in a pissing match with you about how much more I know than you do. I do have a baseball background. I played minor league baseball. Got as high as AA. I know a little bit about the game. Will Vitters ever be a star?? Time will tell…but the kid is just 22 years old and for christ’s sake….there have been mlb all stars at 22 who weren’t putting up numbers that Vitters did this year. Give the kid and ALL minor leaguers a little respect and chance. Most don’t make it. Odds are totally stacked against them…but to call the kid a bust and sucks is ignorant at age 22. I will give you advice like I give my own kids…..Think on your own. Be a leader. Maybe one day you can be a successful business owner like I am and actually lead people instead of following the majority. Good luck in your career!

          • Bobby P

            Thank you for giving me a good answer. And I’m sorry about the high school comment, although I hope your kids are enjoying the experience.

            I never said he’s a bust, like some people have on here. I just said that he’s expendable. He’s not a can’t-miss talent, in my eyes (for whatever it’s worth). I do give them respect, but it’s a business and they are commodities. It’s tough, but it’s the way it is. As a commodity, I don’t think his stock is through the roof, and therefore not important enough to not dangle in front of the Red Sox as bait. I won’t argue with the fact that minor leaguers have to go through a lot, and most don’t make it. It’s terrible from a personal perspective, but as a successful business person, which Theo absolutely is, you don’t really care about that. You care about the value of your commodities. I am not trying to give you a business lesson, I just want to belabor the point.

            A company is only as strong as the guy running it. Theo will run the baseball aspect of the Cubs organization, Vitters won’t.

            I do think for myself, and in my personal opinion, I think Theo is a great answer to our GM conundrum. I’m actually excited to follow our minor league players through the system and seeing who we pick in the draft, unlike many people, that just follow the major league team. I loved the idea of Friedman, but the more I thought about it, Theo has a very similar basic philosophy and he has big market experience. Friedman hasn’t made the free agent mistake simply because he hasn’t had the chance to, but he will, just like every big market GM.

            It’s just about those odds, and having Theo gives us better odds. I’m not saying 2-1 odds, but maybe 12-1 or 15-1. The odds of success under a similar regime and philosophy as before this year is, what… 100-1?

            I just want us to have better odds of becoming a winning franchise, and one player can help those odds, but building a team, a better farm system, and bringing in the right people, that helps those odds a heck of a lot more.

            Sorry to be long-winded, and I will try to be a bit more civil from now on.

        • paulcatanese

          Agree, and I think all the Cubs have done here is “awakened a sleeping giant” for the rest of the GM’s in baseball, they have raised the “bar” for monetary compensation to all of them. Even if they were to go to another choice how could they justify less compensation ?

          • Dorasaga

            Paul, professional sports is about winning within well-defined rules, of course. How to get there has nothing to do with the Cubs.

            I doubt the Redsox will set any “milestone” compensation here. They want to act as the winner, “as if.” But the reality will hit them.

            Or we may think this way: there’s nothing to lose for the Cubs. They had eight DAMN drafts since Hendry took over, but only six postseason wins (without any championship).

    • Tony_Hall

      The Cubs 1st round picks

      2006 – Tyler Colvin
      2007 – Josh Vitters
      2008 – Andrew Cashner
      2009 – Brett Jackson
      2010 – Hayden Simpson

      Not much major league production going on here yet…nothing special. Which, if we did this, 1st Rd look, all around MLB, we would find very similar results. 

      But I don’t think this is the NBA, where only the 1st round matters.

      I don’t think Theo is the second coming, nor do I think he was the only one.  But I would still rather have Theo, then any of his underlings.  I don’t know, I would just rather have the guy then someone who worked under him.  Belichick is very successful for the Patriots, and has lots of his people all over the NFL, but none have been as successful as him (and I’m not saying Theo is the same, just an example of, I would rather have the guy, than someone who worked under him)

      • daverj

        If you take the Cubs 1st round picks for the last 25 years the results are pretty much the same (with the exception of Wood and Prior) … not much production and nothing special.  Agreed that MLB is different than the NBA, but much more should be expected over 25 years of mostly high 1st round picks.

        • daverj

          Forgot about Jon Garland (who was dealt in a terrible trade) … but still, the success ratio has been way too low. 

    • Tony_Hall

      Friedman’s 1st round picks (quite a few years of picking very early)
      2006 – Evan Longoria (3rd overall pick)
      2007 – David Price (1st overall pick)
      2008 – Tim Beckham (1st overall pick)
      2009 – Levon Washington
      2010 – Justin O’Connor
      2010 – Josh Sale
      2010 – Drew Vettleson

      Longoria and Price are great stars and should be, being drafted 1st overall and 3rd overall, not much missing going on at the very top of the draft.

      • Dorasaga

        Luke Hochevar was 1st overall in 2006, can you believe that? I still can’t believe what’s wrong with Kansas.

  • Aaron

    I don’t know what to say right now…this has dragged on too long, and Ricketts could’ve saved ALL of this from happening.

    If reports are true that Kenney is meddling in this, then Ricketts really is the dumbest owner in all of baseball. Why is he still with the team in ANY capacity? The priest in the dugout, bringing his friends into the clubhouse, meddling in free agent contracts, thrusting himself into negotiations with the Epstein situation, his ill-advised proposal to then-mayor of Chicago Daley that gave the Cubs a giant black eye, and forced them to save face, to the whole Spring Training saga….I mean, what more does this a$$hole have to do to get fired?!?!?

    If the Cubs handled the negotiations correctly from the start, NONE of this would be happening. All they had to do was gain agreement in private from Epstein through back channels, then approach the Red Sox about interviewing him, and came up with a pre-arranged compensation for him if he chose to leave the Red Sox. Once they had that agreement in place, they could’ve forwarded it to Selig, to make sure everything was copacetic and they would’ve been able to hold the Red Sox to it. If the Red Sox didn’t give permission, then nobody would’ve even known the Cubs had approached him. If the Red Sox approved (which they clearly did), and Epstein accepted the terms, then it would’ve already been a done deal. This approach would’ve limited the Red Sox bargaining power, because you had a pre-arranged deal in place if Epstein accepted, and the Cubs wouldn’t have been backed into a corner if they made it clear they would move on. The fact that Friedman is supposedly considering the Angels position is an even bigger indictment of the Cubs, as he was NOT under contract, and the Rays could NOT seek compensation.

    It’s abundantly clear that someone in the Cubs organization botched this, and if I had a guess, it would be Crane Kenney.

    If there was a guarantee that Epstein could unload all the albatross contracts on the team right now, and get good value: Soriano, Zambrano, Dempster, Byrd, and even Marmol….then I would say they absolutely have to give up whatever it takes to get him and his team on board.

    But the fact is, he probably can’t, and ALL but Soriano and Marmol come off the books at the end of 2012 anyway, which is PRECISELY when Epstein’s contract is up….So if you can’t re-tool now, then what’s the point?!?!?….unless Epstein has something up his sleeve and already knows he can deal those contracts.

    Fact is, the Cubs’ only depth in their system right now is middle infield and relief pitching.

    If they give up anything other than that in trade, then they’re getting hosed.

    Honestly, if Epstein could unload those contracts, I could foresee a roster full of prospects next year with a few veterans like an Edwin Jackson, Oswalt, Kubel, Damon, or Cuddyer mixed in.

    But without any decent 3B options on the market (Kouzmanoff would be a decent Baker-esque option, but he’s no starter at this point, and I happen to know him personally), the Cubs need all the depth they can get at this position in their system, which at least in my opinion, would mean that the following players should be off limits in trade discussions:
    Vitters
    LeMahieu
    Flaherty

    • daverj

      Well said on how the Cubs should have handled the Epstein situation from day 1.  And agreed on Friedman … it seems he’s open to talking and he’d be a better choice than Epstein for a number of reasons.

      I also agree with you on Vitter and LeMahieu, but not Flaherty.  I’d send him to the Red Sox if they wanted him for Epstein.  At age 26, there isn’t much upside.  I could see Flaherty having a decent few years as a utility guy or a below average major league starter, but he doesn’t project as (or have the upside to be) a big time talent.

    • Bobby P

      Good observations as usual. You know I don’t agree about Vitters being untouchable, and I don’t think LeMahieu and Flaherty are anything special either. But that’s neither here nor there.

      That damn Crane Kenney. He was the one who first bragged that he was going to be a bigger part of baseball operations in August or September, and then Ricketts kind of distanced himself. Well done, TR. However, Ricketts then lets Kenney spearhead the pursuit of Epstein. What happens? Kenney blurts out that they signed a 5-year deal with Theo. They probably gave him the offer when they talked to him after being given permission, but if they could have only kept that quiet at the start of the compensation negotiations, this would have been done right now! You gave the Red Sox the upper hand by saying that we’ve got him, signed him…

      Red Sox are sitting there saying “Wait a minute… Theo is still under contract with the Red Sox.” And now they are really pissed. If this had some sort of civility to it, like if Theo said “I think I want to move on and this is a great challenge for me,” it would have probably been received differently.

      Kenney basically pissed off the Red Sox, and the fact that he has no idea who we have in our system and how good they are isn’t exactly helping the negotiations along. He has created a crapstorm and Ricketts would be in his right to fire him. I understand he has a huge part in the Wrigleyville renovations, but his egregious mistakes in baseball operations should give Ricketts the reason he need to fire Kenney. I think he will, but it’ll happen once this is all done and the dust settles.

    • Tony_Hall

      I agree.  But what if the Red Sox said, we won’t discuss compensation, unless we need to, because you have a deal with Theo.  

      Honestly, the Red Sox, should have wanted the compensation handled before hand, as they now are the ones backed into  corner.  Walk away, and have to pay Theo for 1 year, knowing he is going to leave anyway.  By then, he may be able to take more guys with him, all at once.  

      • Bobby P

        I suppose we could get Hoyer and wait for Epstein next year, but that’s no guarantee. I don’t know if you know, but the Padres are interested in John Lackey (God only knows why). So, you have to think that they have at least entertained talks that would send Lackey to SD for Hoyer, and maybe have the Cubs kick in cash to cover part of Lackey’s contract. That way, you might only have to part with 2 single-A guys or 1 higher prospect, in addition to that.

        So… there is no guarantee we could get Hoyer to hold the fort down while we wait for Theo. So, if we can’t get Hoyer, what’s the alternative? Randy Bush for a lame duck year? Do we go in a completely different direction? Ricketts wanted this deal all along, there has been reports that he had talked to SD last spring training about Hoyer. It would be a failure for Ricketts if this doesn’t work out.

        • Tony_Hall

          The Cubs should announce Hoyer as GM and leave it at that.  Have him bring along Mcleod and anyone else they plan on having follow.  Theo will still be calling the shots, as he is already.  What do the Red Sox do then!

          Lackey will do better (it’s not like he could have a worse year) back in Southern California, and I hope (for his sake) that he gets back there.

          • Bobby P

            I think it’s not a bad idea, but this will happen one way or another. Theo is not coming back, and the Red Sox, just like the Cubs, need to move on with their business.

            What was supposed to be a grand achievement by Cubs management has now turned into another example, in a long line, of the Cubs dropping the ball, both figuratively and literally. I was thrilled when the Theo news first surfaced, and now I’m starting to get so jaded and I’m sure I’m not alone. This is losing its luster, fast.

          • Tony_Hall

            When the Cubs hired MacFail, it took 2 weeks for the compensation to get worked out.  With instantaneous information, we have grown to hate, good old fashioned negotiations…especially when we aren’t being leaked all the info.

          • Bobby P

            Good point.

    • studio179

      I say the same things about Kenney all the time. The facts are there. I will say he does have his supporters though. With the moves that have and hopefully will take place, I am hoping Ricketts is going to make a change with his position in the not to distant future.

      As far as these negotiations, they did do it backwards. It seems obvious it was either Kenney or Ricketts himself that botched the approach on this thing. I really hope it was not Ricketts. If it was Kenney, then he should be dismissed at the conclusion of the Theo/Hoyer deals. Indications point in that direction, but for some reason I am not sold on Kenney leaving yet. One thing is for sure. Kenney would not go with the same warm and fuzzy feeling Hendry generated when he was dismissed. 

  • paulcatanese

    To change the subject slightly here, the World Series is going on, and I know most dont care because the Cardinals are in it, but I would like to point out one thing about last nights game.

    The announcers and the panel afterwards blamed Pukols for the loss because he touched the throw from the outfield and changed the direction of the ball allowing the runner to advance to second with the winning run.

    Most baseball people would know that its the catchers call “cut or no cut”, how does anyone know if the call was made, and if so maybe too late and Pujols started to cut the ball and then pulled his glove away, but not quick enough.Why blame him for the loss of the game?

    The biggest key here was LaRussa made the big mistake and pulled his closer and his replacement allowed the hitters to see the ball better and got the job done. fault,,,, LaRussa, not Pujols.

  • RICK

    THE BOTTOM LINE IS IF RYNE SANDBERG DOESN’T COME BACK TO MANAGE THE CUBS THEN WHO CARES WHO IS GM OR PRES. THE CUBS WILL SUCK FOREVER. GET THAT BALD DUMMY OUT OF THE DUGOUT.

  • daverj

    Weren’t we sold all this “savior” bs first with Dusty and then with Piniella? Only later to become haters.  And weren’t Cub fans ecstatic when we signed Soriano and then Fukodome?  Only later to become haters.  Epstein is clearly better than Hendry, but Cubs fans (in general) are getting way too excited here (again).

    Ricketts is making a huge investment in Epstein and Hoyer in terms of dollars and years.  It’s ok (and fun) to be optimistic, but I think some healthy skepticism is warranted as well …

    • Bobby P

      There is always going to be skepticism around the Cubs. No way to avoid that. I’m of the opinion that we should be more optimistic about this though. There will be plenty of times where we will rip Theo for his moves in the future, but for now we can be happy about it. Let’s for once just not expect them to fail before they even take the field or first get behind their new desk.

      • daverj

        I agree that we shouldn’t expect them to fail, but let’s not get overexcited here and expect a World Series anytime in the next few years.  I’m not saying you in particular were “overexcited” … I’ve just noticed the excitement from a lot of fans in general.  No matter who comes in to run this team, its going to take a good 4-5 years of rebuilding and a fair amount of luck to get us there.  If our expectations are too high, then we’re  all going to be disappointed.

        As an example, Soriano has performed pretty close to what could have been expected when we signed him (given his age, skill set, underlying stats like K/BB ratio, defense, and projected career arc) yet so many Cub fans went from excited to upset with the signing.  Soriano has been everything that should have been expected.  A few very solid years at the beginning when the Cubs needed a big bat to hopefully put them over the top and then an overpaid vet with declining skills.

        • Bobby P

          I’m fully expecting 4-5 years to even compete for a National League pennant, maybe 3 years to be a playoff team, at least to be relevant in September. Frankly, I love that. I want a fundamental change. I want us to stop drafting athletes and draft baseball players. Pedroia is 5’8” has a violent swing that apparently wasn’t suitable for making a major league roster, Youkilis was too fat, etc. etc. At some point we need to stop drafting Eric and Corey Patterson, Tyler Colvin, Sam Fuld, Jeff Samardzija, etc.

          I partly agree about Soriano. Hitting wise, absolutely. Maybe he’d have a better time of it if he had some protection, but you can’t do much about that now. However, Hendry got mesmerized by his 40 stolen bases in 2006. As alluded to above, he loves his athletes.

          Hendry basically expected him to be a threat on the bases, and after a couple of leg injuries, that obviously didn’t happen. I don’t know if that was something they could have found, but frankly, his extreme lack of plate discipline would have been enough for Epstein to pass on him.

          I mean, I don’t recall us having much competition for Soriano. Maybe that should have made Hendry think twice, but I guess he was too busy counting the stolen bases.

          • paulcatanese

            Dosent that contradict what Epstein does? If those players were to show up on the computer they would not be in the majors today. I thought that the computers and sabernetics were going to be the thing from now on.

            Not challenging youre opinion but which way does Epstein go? I have never agreed with just looking  at a computer and picking a guy because
            no one can predict what a player will do at a certain level and that is the impression that Epstein gives me, all scientifc. Aaron has made a very suitable argument for stats and in  lot of ways I agree with him, but its hard for me to see ot done that way.

          • Bobby P

            Well, I don’t know if you read the SI article about Epstein and Carmine (his sabermetrics computer program). It was the issue with Brad Pitt (Moneyball) on the cover. The name of the article is “The Art of Winning an (Even More) Unfair Game.” Ironically, after or right around the time of that article, the Red Sox went into a tail spin.

            http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1190632/1/index.htm

            I highly recommend it, if you haven’t read the article.Anyway, the way that Theo works is a combination of a lot of things. Carmine, the computer program, integrates not only statistics, but also injury reports, psychiatric evaluations, scouting evaluations, etc., etc… The days of Billy Beane’s Moneyball has evolved. They had Jacoby Ellsbury as an example, and they had defensive metrics, player value, etc., basically things you and I can look up about a player if you dig deep enough. However, it also includes stuff like this:

            “…reports chock-full of anecdotes culled from interviews with his coaches, trainers, college SID, opposing coaches, summer league coach and others. There is a story about a foot injury “no one knew about” that explained a brief slump in the Cape Cod League in ’04.”

            The amount of research these guys do is unbelievable. The question still remains whether he’ll bring Carmine with him. I do believe he helped create the program, but the Red Sox might have a say in him bringing it with him, but we’ll see. The thing is that these guys do an unbelievable amount of research and it absolutely includes scouting, unlike what Billy Beane did in Oakland. I mean, the part of the market they tabbed into was so incredibly underused at that time, that he really didn’t need to. 

            Information is key in any business. You’re right that just looking at a computer is not going to help, but to get a plethora of information, you begin to limit risk. Sabermetrics is designed to attempt to quantify the un-quantifiable, too limit risk. What makes Epstein different from Beane (although, you have to believe Beane has evolved from the Moneyball days by now) is that he combines every single aspect they can find with a heavy emphasis on philosophy guys (prefers college players that are disciplined, with power).

            It’s no magic elixir and Epstein is no Messiah, but combined with scouting, the Epstein-Cubs marriage will be a long way ahead of where we’ve been.

          • paulcatanese

            Well you answered what I had posted below. It’s a long way from the bird dogs that I was familiar with when I signed and a long way from my son when he signed and a scout sitting on a chair along the right field line.Even a long way from just several years ago with the grandson (chose football instead).

  • John G

    I have to assume that, since we haven’t heard anything by now, there will be no announcement today and we wll probably have to wait until the WS is over, which should only be 3 more days.

  • Tom U

    I’m sorry that I don’t the answer to this question, so if someone out there can help, it would be appreciated.

    If a player that goes to Boston in compensation is playing in the AFL, will that player go to the Scottsdale Scorpions (Boston’s AFL team) or remain with Mesa?

    Thanks for your help.

    • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

      Tom, the player would move teams in the AFL.

      • Tom U

        Thanks Neil

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From the Boston Globe:
    Nick Cafardo

    Bud Selig has stayed out of
    Theo Epstein talks between Red Sox and Cubs. Compensation deal not done
    but lots of optimism that it will.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Kaplan: Hearing that no compensation will be required to bring Jed Hoyer over from San Diego.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Cubs in AFL (10/21): Junior Lake (DH): 2-for-4, 2B, RBI, R, SB; DJ LeMahieu (3B): 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    From Comcast SportsNet: There is optimism on Cubs ide that several issues have been resolved in Epstein talks, though deal is not yet complete.

  • paulcatanese

    Someone enlighten me, what exactly will Epstein do? Will he go out and actually scout or look at a prospect before signing him? Will he have scouts that look at the player? Who decides how much the player will command? Will he simply look on the computer and decide? Does he hire people to do all of that and then decide based on what he is told?And if he is President what is his role? Does he depend on the GM he brings with him that depends on the others to inform the GM who informs Epstein?

    • Tony_Hall

      I will try to answer all of your questions.

      Run all Baseball Operations.
      Yes.
      Yes.
      Theo and Company.
      Yes at times.
      Yes at times.
      Oversee all aspects of Baseball Operations from the minors to the majors.
      Yes.

      I think I got them all.

    • Bobby P

      If I had written it here, the text wouldn’t have been so compressed. Sorry, missed that.

      But yeah, I’m not saying scouts are useless. It’s hard to find guys without scouts, obviously. You can let an intern sit there for 10 hours a day reading college statistics, but that’s not a good use of resources.

      I’m a big believer in getting scouts that buy into your philosophy and then use those scouts heavily. Sabermetrics is a good way to sort out the pile of prospects. I don’t know if you saw Moneyball, but in that movie they had a scene when they put together the team for 2002, albeit hideously dramatized, where Billy Beane just mentions names the scouts either don’t know or think is trash. [Funny note, half of the guys in that scene are actual baseball scouts]

      It didn’t quite work that way in reality however, or at least from what the book describes. You use sabermetrics to weed out players, then scout them more, weed out some more, and hopefully you’ll end up with then next Jacoby Ellsbury or Dustin Pedroia. But nothing is a sure thing.

    • studio179

      In a nutshell, Ricketts has baseball people watching his baseball people.

      • paulcatanese

        Are you sure we arent talking about “Casino”? Exactly the way Deniro would do it.

        • studio179

          Agreed!

  • Dorasaga

    Just off-topic. I read the book “Moneyball” six years ago, and had not revisited the book since. But my favorite part of the story was when Jamie Moyer pitched to Hagsburg (that A;s first baseman converted from a catcher)).

    Moyer made a surprising gesture, made an offer to Hasgburg: Where do you want me to pitch? There is so many psychology of major leaguers described in it, within ONE plate appearance. I thought that is fascinating.

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil

    Collecting info. Theo deal is done. Press conference set for Tuesday

    • Dorasaga

      Thanks, Neil. You’re the best.

  • cornerlots baseball

    Epstein—Hoyer—McLeod. Good winning combination for the Cubs. How about Sandberg for manager?