Epstein to the Cubs Rumors Heating Up

For every report that states the Red Sox will give the Cubs permission to talk to Theo Epstein about their GM vacancy, there is one that says Boston will not allow Tom Ricketts to speak with Epstein about becoming the Cubs general manager.

A tweet on Saturday afternoon by Joel Sherman of the NY Post started the latest round of rumors. Sherman said all of the talk he heard among executives over a recent 36-hour time period indicated the Red Sox would allow the Cubs to interview Epstein … and Theo Epstein would accept the job as the General Manager of the Chicago Cubs.

The soon-to-be 38-year old Epstein has one-year remaining on his current contract and if the Red Sox let him out of his contact, Boston would likely receive some sort of compensation from the Cubs for Epstein.

According to reports from Cubs.com and the Boston Globe, a Major League source recently said, “The Cubs are obviously interested in Theo and talk is not going away. I think it’s possible.” Red Sox ownership and Epstein have not given straight forward answers regarding Epstein’s future with the Red Sox and if he would be given permission to interview with the Cubs.

Before the Cubs final game of the season, Tom Ricketts said the search for the new GM is ongoing. Multiple reports have indicated that Ricketts would like to keep the search as quiet as possible, which will be extremely difficult.

According to the Sun-Times, the Cubs have yet to schedule their annual organizational meetings (typically in Mesa in the first 10 days of November) and a delay past the first week of November could really hinder the entire organization for next season … and beyond.

Since taking over in October of 2009, the Ricketts family has mentioned the Red Sox on multiple occasions as an organization they would like to model the Cubs after … both on and off the field. The challenges the Red Sox faced nearly a decade ago are similar to the ones the Cubs are currently dealing with … a long, historic drought between titles; a home ballpark that is one of the game’s shrines but is aging and is in need of repairs and upgrades and an unproductive farm system. Could Tom Ricketts end up with the general manager that helped build two World Champions in the span of his nine seasons at the helm of the Red Sox organization?

According to a report from Phil Rogers in the Tribune, Ricketts will likely ask the Sox for permission to interview Theo Epstein in the next few days.

Stay Tuned …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you think, be sure it is what you think; whatever you want, be sure that is what you want." – T.S. Eliot

Share on Fancred
  • Kingdomusa

    What is the delay on getting permission. Cubs are to passive in their search.
    Quade should have been released before the new GM is hired so that person & start running on a positive note. The fans do not want Mike quade as Manager for 2012 pure & simple. He should be fired by this regime not the future one. Anyone who says they did a good job coaching one of the top 5 salary teams in baseball finishing 25 games out of 1st place, 22 games below .500, and played most vets over rookies doesn’t have a clue. After watching all the other winning teams Managers get interviewed, Quade is so far behind them its ridiculous. He cost Hendry his job & should have been released at the same time.Larry the Cable guy sez “Get er done Tom” NOW !!!!!!

    • Tony_Hall

      The Red Sox season just ended on Wednesday night, in a very difficult way. The way the season ended and it being near the end of the week,  I believe the Red Sox are trying to figure out what they want to do and probably took a long weekend, after a grueling season.

      As far as Q goes, the new GM will fire Quade and bring in a manager.  Q may stay in the organization, and go back to the minors, either way, there is no real hurry.

      If Q helped get JH fired, then I may change my mind and now say that Q was the best thing that has happened to this organization in a long time.

    • John G

      “He cost Hendry his job…”


      • Aaron

        I know what Tony is saying….he is one of many reasons, but yes, it was Hendry’s choice of Quade that ultimately got him fired, as he went against the Ricketts’ wishes shunning Sandberg (their choice) in favor of Quade. Remember, Tom Ricketts specifically said they wanted Sandberg, then he came out with a cryptic statement saying that if he meddled too much, he couldn’t hold others accountable. What do you think he was talking about?!? At the time of the statement, he couldn’t have been talking about anything else but Hendry’s selection of Quade. Their futures were tied to each other from that day forward, and Ricketts made sure of it with Quade’s 2 year deal (precisely the amount left on Hendry’s contract)


        • Dorasaga

          And that’s positive thinking. :-)

    • studio179

      Gary Hughes weighed in heavily to Hendry in support of Quade. Yes, Hendry was the GM and it was his call. Ultimately, Quade’s hire was one of several things that got Hendry fired, not THE reason.

  • John G

    I have mixed emotions about this. I can’t help but be excited about the prospects of a GM with Epstein’s track record. However, if he decides to bring Francona with him and IF they win the big one, it won’t be the same as winning on your own. Now if he, or any other GM, brings in Sandberg and they win the big one, then THAT would be a home grown, sumthin special kind of win.

    • Tony_Hall

      John G – Are you kidding?  The Cubs winning the World Series will be unbelievable, no matter who is here.  We had Dusty Baker and Lou Pinella, not exactly Cub historians.

      • Aaron

        I agree with you yet again…no matter how you shake it, the Cubs winning it all would be a HUGE deal, regardless of who is at the helm.

        I believe guys like Friedman, Cherington, Levine, etc. would also be good choices, as they have helped build World Series contenders, but Friedman is about as long of a shot as it gets, as he enjoys a tremendous relationship with his owner and manager.

        The way I see it, there can ONLY be five choices for existing GM’s: Epstein, Friedman, Cashman, Amaro/Gillick (I’m lumping both together, as Gillick had just as much to do with their success as Amaro), and Daniels. Why? Because those GM’s have positioned their clubs to win multiple World Series titles, or at the very least compete in World Series’, something the Cubs have NOT done since 1945.

        In my opinion, Friedman, Amaro, and Daniels are virtually untouchable. The only reason Cashman and Epstein are/might be in play, is because of their team’s performance, and demands of ownership.

        If the Yankees get bounced by the Tigers, you can almost guarantee Cashman will be in play. And we all know about Epstein’s potential availability with the Red Sox out of of the playoffs in embarrassing fashion.

        If the Rangers get bounced from the playoffs, there’s a slight possibility…..very slight chance, that Daniels might say he’s had enough with small payrolls, and leave the reigns to Thad Levine in Arlington….but who really knows. There’s been absolutely no rumors of this possibility, and from everything I can tell, it appears he’s satisfied down there, and enjoys a great relationship with Nolan Ryan.

        I just hope that whomever the Cubs choose, he’s from a winning organization, and was a BIG part of their success. I’m not a fan of Hahn, Beane (used to be, but he’s more hype than anything now), Byrnes, etc., some of the other names being talked about. But if the Cubs get Levine, Cherington, Epstein, Friedman, or even Preller, I’d be very satisfied….

        Count me as saying the Ricketts will NOT get this one right, just as they didn’t get the manager right (allowing Hendry to choose), just as they didn’t get it right yet again (after firing Hendry, they allowed the buffoon that got him fired–Q-ball–to continue managing, knowing he wasn’t going to play the young guys, just as he hadn’t the prior year….thus hurting player development yet again). The Ricketts have done nothing but screw things up since taking over. From the billboard controversies, to the eyesore Noodle advertising, to the bad PR resulting from asking the city for monies in Chicago for stadium renovations, to bad PR resulting from initially asking all teams in AZ to apply a so-called “Cubs tax” to their tickets, to then asking the state for monies when that didn’t work, to then canceling their end of the bargain (the Wrigleyville West development) in Mesa, until the economy improves, even though the complex will be built……I mean, they literally haven’t gotten a damn thing right other than firing Hendry….and that shouldn’t have even taken THAT long. Hell, they gave the idiot another year at the helm, even though he proved he couldn’t turn them into a winner during their first year of ownership….AND, they allowed him to pick his manager. How dumb is that?!!? Quade was his 3rd manager hand-picked (Baker and Piniella were the others) in his 10 years at the helm….Most GM’s only get 2 managers before they’re hung out to dry.

        Anyway, I hope I eat some crow….but it doesn’t look like I will be doing so.

        • cubs1967

          100 percent agree….. Rickets has done everything wrong! And dont forget higher tix prices every year and lower payrolls each year. Tommyboy needs Theo and Ryno!!

          • Brian

            You are wrong about ticket prices.  My tickets prices went down this year.  That is fact.

    • AbnerDoubleday

      Yes, bring in Ned Colletti and Sandberg. As for Theo, if he comes here it will be a repeat of what happened in Los Angeles when McCourt hired DePodesta, looking for a stats stud to turn things around. He was such a disaster that McCourt had to fire him after two years and bring in Colletti to clean up the mess. Ricketts should just skip the middle step and go straight to Colletti. Theo’s so-called magic touch was exposed this year when a talented Red Sox team had no depth to draw on at the end and collapsed.

      • Dorasaga

        Actually, DePodesta did pretty well planning for the future. McCourt was in a “win-now” mentality because, now we know, he was already in a financial burden. Ned Colletti is the reincarnation of Jim Hendry, but gave McCourt his piece of meat.


  • MikeT_2008

    This is why I love and hate the rumor mill. One day you read on thing, the next the complete opposite. The thing that would make me a tad nervous about Theo is his recent history of signing Free Agents, ie Lackey & Crawford. He’s kinda like JH in that he’s pretty good at trades but mediocre at free agent signings.

    • Aaron

      Lackey is one thing….but the thing you have to understand about Epstein, is EVERYONE wanted Crawford, and Dice-K, and a lot of teams were also in on Drew, including the Cubs. Drew’s deal is already done after this year, and Dice-K has one year left, but you have to remember Dice-K was decent early on in the deal, then injuries stalled his career, culminating with TJ surgery this year.

      Epstein also engineered deals that landed Beckett and Lowell from the Marlins (while also giving up Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez). Beckett is still the better pitcher of the 2, and while Hanley looked like he’d come back to haunt the Red Sox, he’s now come back to earth, and the Red Sox filled in with Lowrie and others to make it a non-issue…2 guys who played a HUGE role in them winning the 2007 World Series, and he landed Ortiz off the scrap heap in 2003 prior to the 2004 World Series, and landed Schilling for their 2004 run.

      Outside of Ted Lilly and Mark DeRosa (both of whom he traded away for next to nothing), you can’t really sing the praises of any Hendry FA signing. You also can’t sing the praises of any trades he made. Also keep in mind that Epstein landed them Adrian Gonzalez for hardly anything.

      You have to put everything into context….if you want to win a World Series now, you’re going to have to give up some value. The problem Hendry always had was he not only blocked his prospects with crappy veterans (ie.-Gathright, Miles, etc.), but he’d bring them up, allow his managers to sit them on the bench almost the entire time they were up, and relegate them to pinch hit duty, thus ruining their value, and he’d end up having to expose them to waivers if they ran out of options.

      Felix Pie was a classic example of this. He actually held considerable trade value when he was in the system, yet Hendry never fully committed to him, blocking him nearly every year, until he was out of options, and got pennies on the dollar for him.

      About the only trade I can think of during Hendry’s tenure where he got full value for prospects was the Rich Harden deal, where he sent half of the trade (Donaldson and Gallagher) at their peak values (Murton and Patterson were on decline in value though).

      • MikeT_2008

        Yeah you got me on all those points, guess I’ve been been listening to most of the stuff recently which didn’t go into that much detail. I guess I’m just trying to find something good about this team

      • cc002600

        So “everyone” wanted Crawford and Dice-K ??   so what ?  Does that justify those horrible signings ?

        I seem to recall that a lot of teams were after Soriano and Fukudome too, did that make you feel better that we ended up with that bad money ?  uh, I  don’t think so.

        Funny, but I don’t to seem remember you giving Hendry a pass on those bad signings because of that.


        • Aaron

          depending on whom you believe….Soriano’s best deal out there was 5 years…Cubs gave him 8. Some say it was a directive from the top that Hendry sign him for that many years, while others say it was Hendry’s decision alone.

          I tend to believe the latter, and here’s why:
          Aaron Miles-gave him 2 years (NO other team would go more than year-to-year, including the Cardinals, who supposedly valued him)

          Milton Bradley-gave him 3 years when TOPS he was offered was 2 years, and from what I understand, it was 1 year deals, plus option for 2 based on games played. Hendry went one step further, gave him 2 years guaranteed, plus 3rd based on easily obtained AB’s.

          Jason Marquis-gave him 3 yrs, $21 million, coming off a 6.02 ERA, even though reportedly, there were no other multi-year offers out there for him.

          So don’t sit there and tell me that other teams were willing to offer that. Other teams were, however, willing to offer multi-year, big money contracts to Dice-K, Crawford, and Lackey….

          Now, if you were to say, nobody was willing to offer Jayson Werth the contract he got, other than the Nationals, you’d be correct…and you could claim that Rizzo is a moron, just like Hendry was.

          What makes matters worse for Hendry, is when you look at deals like the the one he made for Garrett Olson, who then turned into Aaron Heilman, or dealing a top pitching prospect like Ceda for a guy that was about to be DFA’d in Gregg (Marlins still have to be laughing about that one), or giving Grabow a 2 year, $7.5 million deal….the list goes on……..

          And don’t misunderstand what I’m trying to say either…..as I believe Epstein has made some Hendry-esque moves like signing Drew, who really wasn’t worth the contract he got but got it because he was an OBP machine (reminds me of Fukudome), or Lackey, when he was coming off a fairly average season (and was pretty average before to begin with….reminds me of the Dempster deal). But by and large, the trades and signings Epstein has made during his tenure puts Hendry to shame. Throughout his tenure, Hendry’s claim to fame was landing ARAM and Lee for next to nothing…..he tried riding that pony for all it was worth, even though 99.9% of his trades and signings didn’t work out between that. In fact, besides those trades, and the Harden one, here are the good signings:

          hmmmmmm….when that’s all you have to show for good FA signings during your nearly 10 years with a team….it’s probably time to go.

          • cc002600

            I’m not here to defend Hendry, don’t get me wrong.

            What I’m saying is that its ridiculous to justify a bad contract by saying “everyone” wanted him.  Just because there were other stupid teams out there willing to make the same mistake as you, doesn’t make it right or smart.   

            And for the record, I disagree with your statement about the cubs willing to go 8 years while no one else was willing to go 5.  I have read more than once that were MANY teams out there willing to go 7 years, but McDonough decided to add that last year to seal the deal.


          • Aaron

            You’re right, just because other teams wanted a guy, doesn’t mean he’s a good fit for your ballclub.

            That’s PRECISELY why I didn’t want the Cubs to sign Soriano, and preferred Carlos Lee. It’s why I preferred Adam Dunn (yeah, yeah, he had one of the worst seasons in recent memory…I know….but think of him 3 years ago when the Cubs signed Bradley instead). The reason I wanted both Lee and Dunn, is they both absolutely raked at Wrigley Field, proving not only could they handle day baseball, but also the overcome the park. Both were defensive liabilities, but yet so were Soriano and Bradley…and ironically both could’ve been had for less years and less money than Soriano and Bradley.

            And as for the 5 year deal for Soriano….I actually read that in an article by ESPN or Foxsports…can’t remember which one…..near the end of this season. Supposedly, execs confirmed that for them after Hendry was let go. The Cubs wanted to guarantee a big name signing, so they went above and beyond so the contract haggling wouldn’t drag on.

            The thing that totally gets me is the Bradley signing….at the time, Ibanez, Dunn, and Abreu were all available, and only Ibanez was in the same league as Bradley in terms of salary demands. In 2009 and 2010, Dunn was on a 2 year, $20 million deal and had 38 hr, 105 RBI and 38 hr, 103 RBI respectively, following 5 years in a row in which he averaged 40 hr, 100 RBI….
            Carlos Lee, at the time of his deal, was coming off 4 seasons in a row in which he averaged 30+hr, 100+RBI, and then continued right after he signed his deal with the Astros to post 3 seasons in a row of 25+hr, 100+RBI, and a .300+batting average. He fell off in 2010 to 24 hr, 89 RBI and in 2011 to 18 hr, 94 RBI. Additionally, he walked 59 times vs 60 K’s last year, and has never struck out more than 94 times in his career, averaging about 78 K’s and 50 walks per season.

            The point I always made, was that when considering free agents, you MUST look at their body of work over their career, and get the most consistent player you can find.

            Guys like Soriano, Bradley, Pena, etc. have struggled on the North Side, NOT because of day baseball, or playing at Wrigley Field for that matter, but because they were INCONSISTENT their ENTIRE careers.

          • studio179

            But what you say for the Cubs, Hendry and Soriano is the same thing that can be said of the Red Sox, Theo and Dice K. No one offered anything close in terms of years or dollars. It sounds like I am supporting Hendry, but I am trying to point out that Theo has wasted big money, too. The Red Sox can overcome bad signings much easier than the Cubs.

          • Dorasaga

            Aaron, you think C.Lee and Dunn absolutely raked at Wrigley. Guess what, Jayson Werth raked at National ballpark.

            Why? Bad pitching. For the Cubs, bad pitching plus Quade.

            Lee: career .299/.345//.937 (OPS) at Wrigley
            Last year against a full year of Quade:

            As for the Matsuzaka deal. I said it before, I don’t mind again: That was the best thing that happened to the Redsox since that last pitch from Keith Foulke closed Game 4 on October 27, 2004.

            Baseball-wise with DiceK, they got their World Series and two American Championship chances. Market-wise, way off the chart. Before DiceK was even signed, when the amount of “post money” was released from the Japanese team who owned him, CNN reported it, BBC reported it, Wallstreet reported it… ALL mainstream media reported it. Everyone around the world, especially that huge baseball market in East Asia, now knows about Redsox.

            I can’t say enough; maybe I should write a dissertation about this. The Cubs under the Tribune is like a baby compared to John Hendry, who fully understands the power of using money and publicize a franchise.

          • cubtex

            The Red Sox had to pay 51 Million just to negotiate with Dice K. Brilliant move? How many teams realistically could have afforded to do that? Cmon! I don’t buy that one bit. So….they had to pay 51 Mil in 06 to negotiate and then sign him to a 6 year 52 mil deal. 103 Million for 6 years. After a decent first 2 years….Dice K won 4 games in 2009 with 59 IP  9 games in 2010 with 153 IP and 3 games in 37 IP in 2011.
            Baseball wise….Complete Flop. They would have won world series without him imo.
            Market wise- Only Red Sox and Yankees could have afforded to pay 51 Million to negotiate so you cannot say they are smarter than anyone else. Not a good arguement!

          • cubtex

            Dice K’s career postseason numbers…..

            2007  2-1  with a 5.03 ERA

            2008  1-0  with a 4.50 ERA

            Do you think those are great numbers and he is the reason they won the world series?

            103 Million for 6 years!  Bust!

          • Spoda17

            Okay, all of you armchair quarterbacks out there… EVERYONE makes some bad signing… Soriano, bad… should never sign anyone more than 5 years.  But I agree with Aaron, Dice-K, not a bad sign, Drew, we (yes remember us Cubbies) were courting him as well, and he was productive, and Crawford is still plenty of time to produce…

          • cubtex

            The big difference is that “Boy Wonder” was able to make additional moves due to an unlimited payroll to rectify those crappy moves he made. He was able to sign a Carl Crawford and trade for AGon knowing that he has the money to do it. Theo was able to sign Lackey even though he wasted cash on Dice K. Hendry’s hands were tied when it came to spending money. I am not saying Hendry didn’t make mistakes…he made plenty…but  Theo continued to make mistake after mistake without any limitations. Hendry had to have a creative contract for Pena, Kerry  Wood for 1 mil. Did Theo ever have to worry about payroll?  Theo has really got the Red Sox in some bad deals for the next several years.

        • studio179

          Whoops. I just posted the exact same thing before reading your post.

      • studio179

        What you say is true about other teams being interested in those Red Sox players. But it sounds like you are making that point as if to cut Theo some slack. The GM who signs a player takes the credit or the heat on that players performance. That same argument you made for Theo can be made with any GM…including Hendry when he was with the Cubs. There was serious interest in Soriano, Fukudome and Ramirez from other teams when they signed with the Cubs. It was Gillick who was very interested to sign Soriano with the Phils. It was Towers who was very interested to sign Fukudome with the Padres. Both are respected in the game, but all GMs make mistakes or almost mistakes. Hendry signed them, he takes the heat. I am not a Hendry supporter, nor am I for or against Theo. Just saying that argument can be made with a lot of GMs and free agents. 

        That said, if it is true Epstein is available, it makes sense Ricketts will be interested. Ricketts has the whole Red Sox model he wants to achieve and will have him on his short list.   

        • cubtex

          In fact Fukodome could have signed for more money with another team at the time. He chose the Cubs for less money

          • studio179

            Very true. The White Sox offered Fuko more money. He chose the Cubs because the money was competitive with the Sox, Padres and Mariners, though not the most offered. Plus, he wanted to be the first Japanese player with the franchise…thus wearing #1.

          • Dorasaga

            Like, a million if we counted in the options? Either way, it would be mistake. The problem with that deal was Fukudome had not played since his wrist fracture. He has not played Major League caliber but a few at-bats in the World Classic 2006. Not to mention that he was not a popular player in Japan. The team he played for is less than medium market, compared to a Major League franchise, and he was not a national hero like DiceK was since high school.

            There were other underrated players from the Japanese league (Kuroda, Okajima, whom Theo Epstein insisted to play; another story), but Jim Hendry overpaid him.

          • studio179

            Yes, Hendry did overpay, but that was not my point. My point was other teams were willing to pay more for Fuko than the Cubs.

          • cubtex

            who cares if Dice K was a national hero and Fuko wasn’t. Sign a player on how he projects in the majors. Aside from a year and a half…Dice K sucked and aside from opening day for the Cubs….the same for Fuko

      • Brian

        While I agree with some of this, Hendry turned Hee-Seop Choi into Derrek Lee.  Also, the Cubs were .500 in 2003 when he traded for ARam and Lofton, both key reasons for that team being responsible for the first Cubs postseason series victory in 98 years.  So, yes you do have to give Hendry credit for those trades.  I am not apologizing for or defending him.  His time was up.  But those were both very, very good trades.

      • Spoda17

        My point exactly Aaron.

    • Spoda17

      I agree with a lot you all are saying, and I hate big contracts… but I must reply that give Crawford a chance… jeesh… one year and he is the worst signing ever..? I am not saying I like his contract, but come on…

      • studio179

        Yeah, lots of names can be inserted. Jason Werth is in the team picture.

  • cubtex

    It’s funny that many on here overlook all the sh###y contracts Theo has given to the Red Sox since he is not currently “our” gm but these same people were ripping Hendry for the Soriano,Z, Bradley contracts. Let’s be a little honest here people. The Sox have some huge issues currently on their roster….Lackey 16.5 mil thru 2014…Beckett 15.750 thru 2014 Dice K 8.67 thru 12 Carl Crawfor 20 mil this year…JD Drew 14 mil this year.
    Let’s call it as we see it. This doesn’t include Bobby Jenks,Scutaro and others he had overpaid for.
    They had the biggest collapse in baseball history this year. And the arguement that he won 2 world series…..I will contend that 90% of the GM’s in baseball would have done the same with the Red Sox payroll since 2001.
    I really hope this doesn’t pan out. I am sure the Red Sox might help him pack if the Cubs are willing to offer him a contract.

    • paulcatanese

      Dont know anything about Lackey at all. Is he undesireable because of contract or personal issues that just surfaced (divorce pending from wife) or ability?

      • cubtex

        Paul. He was the absolute worst starter in all of baseball this year. His stuff has become extremely hittable. Lost some velocity and he obviously has aged very quickly. Get this stat…..He gave up 203 Hits in 160 IP! Beyond horrendous…..and he had a 6.41 ERA

        • paulcatanese

          Thanks, then I wonder why all the talk about Soriono (bad contract) for Lackey(bad contract) seems to be a loss for the Cubs on that one.

          • Tony_Hall

            Paul – I would take my chances with Lackey for Soriano. 

            A change of scenary might be enough for Lackey, who is just not suited for Fenway Park (terrible numbers there).  If he struggles, you can always make him a spot starter and the long guy. A lot easier to hide, if needed, and has more potential upside than Soriano.

          • paulcatanese

            Thanks Tony for the response on Lackey, as I mentioned I knew nothing about him. And if you get a chance I responded to you on the previous post rearding Pujols. Tell youre business partner I also am rooting for the Cards as they are a Central Division team and also the Brewers would be happy if either got to the World Series, just as I would root for the National League in the Series.

          • Dorasaga

            Lackey was a hero for the Angels as he dominated the Redsox in ALDS 2009. That was a big reason Boston wanted him big, methinks.

          • cubtex

            I see a pattern here. You like to sign national and local heroes. How about signing baseball players?

          • Tony_Hall

            Lackey was one of the top SP when he was with the Angels.  Was he overpaid, of course he was, all FA’s are overpaid. But he chose the wrong place to go, to get that overpayment, coupled with his annual injuries, has made for a bad situation.  

            Lackey is a baseball player!

        • John_CC

          Lackey has been pretty bad, and it was a bad signing coming off injury BUT to say that he was THE absolute worst starter this year…come on man…that is more than hyperbolic.  Lackey was a pure Haus for years, then when he was available the Yankees and Sox started their cat and mouse game…and the Yankees won, like usual by not “winning” the signing.

          Crawford…that one is still out for judgement. Terrible year and too long of a contract, but the guy is still young and this is the first bad year. I’ll wait and see on this one. 

          Beckett, again too much imo, but this is equivalent of the contract given to Z.  Beckett is their golden boy, he brought them out of the wilderness, he has won WS Championships in both leagues, so easy on the flaming of that money.  He’s a homeboy and Boston would go nuts if they let him go to the Yankees or however because Wonder Boy wouldn’t give him $15M a year.

          • cubtex

            Stats are stats. Highest ERA amongt ANY and EVERY starter in baseball with 10 or more starts. I guess that makes him the worst.

    • studio179

      I agree that you can not say one GM wasted and overlook another GMs mistakes with big money wasted. You have to hold the same standards. No one would be mocking the Cubs if they won with Sori, Fuk, Ram and Z. Those deals would be looked in a slightly different light.

  • Chuck

    I can see it now for future headlines:

    Let’s stick it to the Cubs! 

  • http://chicagocubsonline.com/ Neil
    • Aaron

      Very good articles. Both make good points. I would love Theo to come in and clean house. This is why either Theo or Cherington make a LOT of sense to the Cubs right now. They’ve broken the curse together in Boston, AND they dealt with limitations with an aging stadium, rabid fanbase, and large payroll. They completely turned around the Red Sox farm system in short order as well.

      Given this year’s draft and international FA haul, Epstein or Cherington would already be working with a decent base in the farm system.

      If you look at the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox as a template, you’d see that in 2004, Epstein worked with what he had given their bad farm system. He built the team primarily around veteran role players like Bellhorn, Mueller (acquired previous season), Millar (acquired the previous season), Cabrera, and Roberts, adding to mix that already included Ortiz (acquired the previous season), Damon, and Ramirez, and he added a solid (but unspectacular) closer in Foulke as well, as well as Schilling.

      You can clearly see by the years following 2004 that Epstein prefers to build from within.

      The Cubs could potentially have holes at:
      1B-Pena is FA
      2B-if they want upgrade over .270’s hitting Barney
      3B-ARAM is FA
      LF-if Ricketts directs Soriano to be traded at all costs
      CF-if they want upgrade over Byrd
      RF-nobody home here

      Epstein could piece together a roster that includes such homegrown players as:
      LaHair (semi-homegrown)
      B. Jackson
      M. Gonzalez

      …or add FA pieces such as:
      Cuddyer (beauty about him is he can play 3B, 1B, and LF/RF while banging out 20+hr)
      Reyes (moving Castro to 3B or 2B)
      Andruw Jones (as back-up…hit .247/.356/.495 in 190 AB’s with 13 hr, 33 RBI)
      Edwin Jackson

      That’s what I love about Epstein…he’s proven he can win a championship both ways, and he could easily do the same on the North Side….and he could do it while hanging onto the likes of Soriano, ARAM (if he gets resigned), as well as Dempster, as he certainly proved he could win with an older team in 2004

      • cubtex

        Aaron. Please look at the payroll numbers for teams. 2007…Red Sox had #2 Payroll in all baseball only behind Yankees. Huge gap between Red Sox payroll and #3 team. 2004 Again #2 Payroll in all of baseball only behind Yankees. How is that winning 2 different ways. Looks like the same formula to me. Spend Spend and Spend.

        • Aaron

          based on amount of youth is what I was meaning

          • cubtex

            ok. i would agree with you on that point then

    • cubtex

      They would have to give the Red Sox significant compensation to sign Theo? Anything more than Tyler Colvin is too much for him

      • Aaron

        Agreed, especially when you could have Theo 2.0 in Cherington that you could have for nothing

        • cubtex

          I would much rather have Cherington… But I am sure you already knew that :)

          • studio179

            That is my whole point with Theo. Get the 2.0 version. I don’t dislike the guy nor am I jumping around that the Cubs must get him. My point is there are smart baseball people out there who are creditable in the baseball circles. In no way am I saying Ricketts should go cheap or ‘settle’ though.

    • Dorasaga

      Highlight: “The supply of qualified candidates is so high that I’m not sure that throwing a lot of money at an established guy is actually going to bring you a significant upgrade.”

      That seals the fate of Ricketts to Epstein, I guess.

  • cubtex

    The only 2 teams to win more than 1 World Series in the last decade were the Yankees and Red Sox. Hmmmmmm. Payroll doesn’t matter??? These are the 2 highest payroll teams for the last 10 years. Don’t give Theo this credit that he is this brilliant mind. Kenny Williams won a world series too…..Is he a great gm? Oh, by the way….the Yankees won the WS in 98 and 99 too but it has nothing to do with payroll. Let’s be real!

    • Aaron

      hmmmmmmmm…..Rays, Rockies, and Rangers weren’t in the top in payroll, yet made the World Series. Cubs haven’t made the WS since 1945.

      Cubs consistently ranked near the top of payroll standings, yet got ousted in the first round 2 years in a row without winning a game…PLUS, they finished in 4th place or worse in 5 of Hendry’s 10 seasons at the helm, and finished 1st place 3 of 10, proving they were an all-or-nothing team, and not competitive when they weren’t making the playoffs.

      By your definition of “payroll is everything”, the Cubs and Mets should be in the playoffs and winning World Series just about every year then.


      • cubtex

        Hmmmmmmm. Yankees and Red Sox were ONLY 2 teams to win more than once. It can be done without huge payrolls. It is not all or nothing but you got to admit it helps! The Cubs weren’t consistently a big payroll team like the Yanks and Red Sox. Red Sox and Yankees were consistently a top 3 payroll team for the last decade….no one else has been. Your example of Theo winning 2 different ways has no merit. They were #2 payroll team both years. Pretty much won the same way. Spend cash

        • Aaron

          see my post above…I was referring to them winning both veteran and younger

  • John G

    Bottom line, in my opinion, is that there are 3-4, maybe 6, guys that would be a good GM. But the Field Manager that’s gonna get the Cubs there, sooner rather than later, is Ryne Sandberg. He knows the kids on the big team. He knows the kids in the farm system and he commands (and deserves) respect from all of them. And he respects them in return. Ricketts needs to hire someone who is “all in” on Sandberg and can add the pieces we need. Not just for immediate results, but for long term results as well. Sandberg can have a long career in Chicago, just like Bobby Cox did in Atlanta. We don’t need any more 3 year manaagers.

    • Aaron

      I definitely agree with you on this…..Cherington, Epstein, Friedman, Levine, and even Coppolelo (Braves scouting director) would be good picks…

      As for Sandberg, unless you’re going to hire Francona and Epstein as a package deal, he makes the most sense out of anyone, because (in addition to reasons you mentioned)….

      1) He understands the nuances of playing at Wrigley
      2) He’s personally invested in the future of a lot of the guys the Cubs will be bringing up in the next few years
      3) He’s proven himself at the minor league level with TWO franchises now, and taken one team (Lehigh) to their first ever playoff appearance…which is saying something
      4) He will play the young guys, because he knows more than Quade and Hendry before him, that every young player just needs a chance…so he won’t shy away from it
      5) He won’t tolerate veterans and rookies dogging it, and won’t be afraid to bench either of them (unlike Quade’s double standard). Articles I read about him at Lehigh talked about how he didn’t distinguish prospects from veteran AAA filler guys. He was also credited with helping get top prospects in Mayberry and Brown back on track for the big league club
      6) He’s a winner….if you look at the teams he’s managed both with the Phillies and the Cubs, only the 2009 Smokies had above average talent (which is why they made the playoffs)….and yet he only had 1 losing season in 2008 with the Chiefs. And with a makeshift roster in 2010 at Iowa, he was 20 games over .500, and this year, he was 16 games over .500 with Lehigh.

      And one of the biggest reasons why Sandberg should be the guy if Francona isn’t hired, is that he’s got the respect of players, fans, and even other organizations, so it’ll make his transition to MLB as a manager even easier.

      And as guys like Baylor, Baker, and even Piniella at the end proved, it doesn’t matter how much time you’ve spent managing at the MLB level…if you don’t understand the Cubs culture, and have actually played in it, then you’ll walk out of there not understanding what you got yourself into. Proven managers have come in and failed, and unproven managers have come in and failed….what matters is your desire to win, and Sandberg has it. He played on two of the most successful regular season teams in recent memory in 1984 and 1989, and he is in the HOF. He came from an organization (Phillies) as a player with a winning pedigree, and he has now coached for them as well. He’s got the best of both worlds:
      -played and coached for a winning organization (Phillies)
      -played and coached for the Cubs…so he understands the culture.

      Why wouldn’t you want a guy like that. Aside from Joe Girardi and Francona (who is a winner and is available, but doesn’t understand Cubs culture), I can’t think of a manager better suited for success with the Cubs than Sandberg right now…maybe Brenly, but while he is a WS winning manager, he’d be coming down from the booth where he’s made very pointed comments towards players, so it might not be the best fit.

  • paulcatanese

    Ozzie reached out fo Zambrano, but I have a feeling Qua could smear bear grease all over his arm and stick it into the Amazon River and no one or thing would reach out for it.

  • Chuck

    Greetings again from sunny Fort Myers, FL.  Just returned from watching the Twins-Red Sox in a fall instructional league game.  From one of my sources at the Red Sox spring training facilities is that the BoSox ballplayers ran the clubhouse.  It was partytime that way from day one when Francona became manager.  Everything was fine as long as you get in the playoffs and win two World Series. Nothing was said until this year when there was the losing streak at the beginning of the season; Sox played great ball throughout the summer;  when September swoon took place that was enough for management to let Francona go.  I saw Dice-K today at the spring training facility and he is rehabbing here and from what I hear will be here for the month.  There probably was about 10 Japanese news people there also.  Clay Bucholz is also rehabbing at the spring training facility and will pitch in an intrasquad game on Wednesday.  Meanwhile at the Mets fall instructional camp, also here in Fort Myers, Johann Santana is scheduled to pitch on October 6 or 7.  He pitched 4 innings last Friday.

    • Aaron

      thanks for the updates Chuck….that changes my opinion of Francona if that’s true…..last time we had one of those (Baker) it didn’t end too well, where the inmates ran the asylum.

      Please keep us posted on anything you hear from down there RE: Epstein/Cherington to the Cubs

      good news on Dice-K and Santana…Perhaps the Cubs can find a taker for Soriano, Dempster, and Zambrano in trades for those 2. One can dream, right?

    • Dell79

      I was just looking up Francona stats. He played for the cubs in 1986.

      • Aaron

        86 games might be pushing it a bit to say he’s familiar with the culture. Most of his career was spent with Montreal as a player

  • Tony Spumoni

    The Cubs could probably do a lot worse than Theo Epstein.

    • cubtex

      who? Kenny Williams

    • cubtex

      And…they would have to compensate Boston to sign a GM coming off one of the biggest collapses in baseball history. How does that make any sense? Here is a guy who the owner might even be questioning bringing back and the Cubs would have to give Boston a top prospect for? Ridiculous

  • Tony Spumoni

    Well, cubtex, since you ask, I suppose you would be a worse choice than Theo Epstein.  Not meaning any offense…

    • cubtex

      Ha. Give me Theo’s payroll and I doubt it. Lol

      • paulcatanese

        I believe several on this site with the knowledge you all have on the minor league systems and players around both leagues would do a credible job as a GM, certainly could not do worse than whats out there.

        • cubtex

          Ha. I was joking. It is not an easy job to be a gm. This site is a fun way to throw out different ideas and thoughts with other fans but I didn’t mean to make it sound like it is easy to build a world series winning team. God knows every GM in my lifetime with the Cubs coukdn’t do it. I just think there are better options than Theo.

          • Tony Spumoni

            I don’t disagree with that, cubtex.  But there are probably more “worse” options than there are “better” options, and I hope Mr. Ricketts doesn’t select one of the “worse” ones.

            As you say, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it.  And “everybody” isn’t doing it.

          • paulcatanese

            Believe it , a lot depends on who you know and where you are at the right time vs complete talent a the GM position, also what skeletons you are aware of in someones closet. More often than not, that is the case. Everyone of them make bad trades and aqusitions at one time or another,and mostly what clicks for them is how many times a team reaches post season. Partialy because of them but mostly because of team performance on the field, its at best a cxxp shoot.

  • Dorasaga

    Selected Payroll of Year 2004, courtesy of Forbes “Player Expense,” in millions of US$:

    Yanks, 176
    Mets, 124
    Redsox, 116
    Cardinals, 96
    Cubs, 95
    Angels, 89
    Astros, 82
    Result: Yankees was owned by the Redsox since Rivera’s blown save. Redsox eventually won them all. Angels made it to ALCS. Cubs were winning but fell short to the Cardinals and Astros. Mets sucked.

    Unsung hero: David Ortiz, age 28, whom nobody but the Redsox thought can play baseball. The Twins were happy to release him to the Redsox for nothing. Ortiz batted .400/.515/.764 in 68 postseason plate appearances.

    payroll 2007:

    Yanks, 219
    Redsox, 146
    Mets, 125
    Cubs, 115
    Angels, 112
    Phillies, 108
    Rockies, 63
    Result: Yankees blew it again. Redsox swiped the Roc for its second World Series championship (Matsuzaka hit a 2-run double at Coors Field and helped himself win). The Mets  sucked again. The Phillies replaced the Braves as the new NL powerhouse. The Angels weren’t ready.

    Unsung hero: Setup man Hideki Okajima, age 31, was a rookie in Major League. He signed a deal of 2.5M for two years out of Japan. I heard this story from NESN broadcast that Tito Francona at spring training was reluctant to play Okajima, but Epstein insisted to play the old reliever.

    I know every GM makes mistakes. The bigger payroll, the bigger the mistakes seemed. But let’s not forget that Epstein could have done worse when we come to evaluating talents. GM Hendry during that exact same span*, on the other hand, seemed like in his own league.

    *(hired right around Epstein, offseason 2002)

  • Jeff in AZ

    Just looking at the number of post-season comments posted here on the CCO it is obvious that the Cubs Faithful are anxiously awaiting some moves by the organization.

    There has been some talk about bringing Sandberg in and making things right. I would love to have Sandberg as the Cubs skipper, but really it is going to be up to the new GM. That being said, I think the chance of Sandberg being the next cubs field manager is remote at best.

    I like  Epstein. If we can not land him then my vote is for Cherrington. We need a guy who understands the pressure to win in a “cursed” environment. These guys have excelled under the pressure to break a long losing streak and did it twice.

  • paulcatanese

    Some changes I would like to see. 1. A GM that knows what he is doing. 2. New manager. 3. New uniforms, no pinstripes or blue tops, just white with the logo, and no names on the back, I dont want to get personal with these guys.For the road just grey with Chicago across the front, no names just numbers on the back(same reason as the home jerseys). Return to simple times, change all around, and move the home team dugout to the first base side.4. Automatic refunds on season ticket holders(if desired) after the first 30 days of the season.5. Instant E-Mail directly to Ricketts office with his personal signature on response’s. And thats just a start.

    • Tony Spumoni

      Paul, I’m with you on #s 1, 2, & 5.

      #3: I like pinstripes and blue tops.  I like names on the back because I’m old and I forget names.  And, for my money, the home team dugout stays where it is.

      #4: Do you mean automatic refunds for the whole year if Season Ticket Holders change their minds?  Because I’d be down with that during the entire season.  Money back guarantee.  (Wasn’t that a Jimmy Buffett song?)

      Thanks, Paul, for sharing your thoughts.  You’ve got a lot of good observations.

      • paulcatanese

        Tony, The first base dugout was a stretch and dont really expect that one,and if your’e older than I well, I came on the scene in 1934 and a fan since 39. So I guess between you and “Gramps” we must be the senior citizens on the block.

        The refunds be if they dont project out the way it will say they will, like this years results didnt. Kind of a gurantee on the spin they put on the season.
        I look at it that if they were sold out as they were last year maybe things would not come about in a timely manner and the idea of a refund says that they are willing to put there money where their mouth is.

        That would have had great results this year if that were in force, I saw many empty seats after June but paid attendence says they were doing well and thats just not true. And if you dont need tri-focals you are younger than I.

    • Tony_Hall

      Sorry Paul – I’m a 3rd Base, Home Team Dugout kind of guy.  I just don’t get that 1B dugout thing.