Cubs Receive Permission to Speak with Epstein?

It appears the Cubs have received permission to speak with Theo Epstein about a position in their front office.

The last line of a report from Comcast SportsNet New England casually mentioned the Cubs received permission to speak with Epstein. The CCO did not receive confirmation on the report but was told by a reliable source that it is believed the Red Sox have allowed Theo Epstein to officially talk with the Cubs about the front office vacancy at Clark and Addison.

According to multiple reports over the last week, if Theo Epstein were to leave the Red Sox for the Cubs it would not be a lateral move. Tom Ricketts would likely have to name Epstein as the President of Baseball Operations/General Manager in order to get him to leave Boston.

While it appears to be business as usual for the Red Sox, the uncertainty surrounding Theo Epstein’s immediate future with the club will have an impact as they try to move forward. Boston has Ben Cherington waiting in the wings but it is hard to imagine the Red Sox interviewing potential managers without making a formal announcement on Epstein’s status with the organization.

Two organizations are basically in limbo while the ‘Theo Watch‘ moves towards its seventh day.

Stay Tuned …

Follow ChicagoCubsOnline on Twitter: @TheCCO

Quote of the Day

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." – E.E. Cummings

Share on Fancred
  • Scott McMeekan

    It took the Big Man 7 days to create the universe, so tomorrow would be a great day to announce the new GM & President of the Chicago National League Ballclub, Mr. Theodore Epstein.

    • Ripsnorter1

      It took God six days to create the universe, and on the seventh day, He rested.

      • Scott McMeekan

        Oh I know, I just include the day of rest because I like them so much!  :)

        • Ripsnorter1

          Excellent! :)

  • studio179

    If I were Epstein, I would not take a lateral GM position or consider the Cubs without a title of president, either. He knows Ricketts made no secrets about modeling the Cubs after the Red Sox and wants him to run the organization. 

  • Tony_Hall

    Since the GM reports to the owner, and it in charge of all baseball operations, the job is President (or VP) of Baseball Operations/Gm.  The title would not be a reason someone would ever say no, and it is a move up for Theo, as he would report directly to the owner.

    Ricketts sure did mean it when he said he would be conducting the search privately.

    • John G

      We should forgive TR for anything he ever said or did.
      Because they always say “Forgiveness is easier to get than permission.”

      • J Daniel

        They have already received permission and Theo has already been in town – just ask Noah Pinzur.  Let’s just hope the announcement comes tomorrow.

    • studio179

      Hendry had a VP title, but I would think it will be different with Theo. True, no matter the title, he would still report to Ricketts. The difference is the title of President in front of his name guarantees more financial security and clout. 

  • texcubnut

    I don’t mean to jump ahead here, but let’s assume Ricketts hires Theo Epstein and let’s further assume Theo fires Quade:)  Do you think Theo, not fully steeped in cubs lore and history, will even have Ryne Sandberg on his radar? Or would he be more likely to go with what’s familiar? Tito Francona? I mean Ricketts has already started handing out contracts in the scouting and minor league systems, Theo is going to want to bring in some of his own people including our next manager. I believe it will be Francona, not Sandberg. I think most cub fans would want Sandberg to take the reigns. Can we as fans accept this? We may not have any choice if Theo is hired. At least I’m sure he will get rid of Quade………reasonably sure.

    • Ripsnorter1

      Francona and Theo knocked heads more than once this year…..maybe Theo doesn’t want to repeat the scenario. 

      Francona is a good manager. If you have a sure thing, and an unknown, what is the safe choice? “When in doubt, play it safe.”

    • paulcatanese

      We all agree that the rumor is the Cubs have permission to talk to Epstein. That being said, I did mention along the same lines as your’e post regarding Sandberg being named manager. I agree that Epstein may want to bring his own staff here and Francona may be one of his options, I for one hope not as it has been pointed out he is very laid back with his style.I dont think that is what the Cubs need, in fact.just the opposite. As far as Epstein not knowing the Cub fans desire for Sandberg, I think he does.I cannot imagine who in baseball circles that dosent. I would hold off a little to see exatctly what power he displays. If he lets Qua go immediatly then everyone will know the scope of his desires. He still, I believe has to answer to Ricketts at least in the beginning and holding on to Qua for a while may be his intention at this point.then again as you have said this is all an assumtion at this point.

      • studio179

        You are correct. Everything is assumption in this case. Everyone has their own angle and ideas, but we just don’t know. I feel like a kid in a way and want the end result one way or the other now. :)

    • Tony_Hall

      Theo will bring his own guys, in the front office.  The Cubs need lots of people who know how to turn on computers. 

      • Dorasaga

        I’m sure Bill James can advice them how to do more than cutting out scraps of info. out from the newspaper and regenerate knowledge about talent evaluation*. But what he can’t do is to replace their goggles so they see clearer from now on. Change is better.

        *That’s how James started his research back in the ’70s.

  • bpot92 just posted that Lars Anderson might be a trade chip. Would Epstein possibly work out a trade for him and bring him with? I don’t know who or what it would take but he was a former top prospect and is 24. Maybe start with soto?

  • Tony_Hall

    I know the chance of the Reds trading Votto to the their division rival, is slim, but you never know.

    It is an ESPN Insider article, so here is a part of it.

    The question for the Cincinnati Reds really comes down to this: Do they believe that they can pay Joey Votto a market-value contract after 2013?

    And the market value for an MVP-caliber first baseman like Votto just keeps rising: Ryan Howard will make $25 million a year for the next five seasons; Mark Teixeira makes $22.5 million annually; Adrian Gonzalez earns $22 million; and soon enough, Albert Pujols andPrince Fielder will join that salary neighborhood. Votto will make $9.5 million next season and $17 million in 2013. After that, he would cost the Reds something in the range of $22-27 million a year.

    Cincinnati had a payroll of $73 million in 2009, $77 million in 2010 and $80 million in 2011, so Votto’s 2014 salary — after his next big deal — probably would represent something in the range of 30 percent of the Reds’ entire budget if he re-signs with them.f the Reds don’t believe that they can pay him, history tells us that the best window to deal him is between now and July 31, 2012. If they wait, his trade value will drop significantly, as it did with Fielder as he neared free agency.

    • Dorasaga

      It’s not hard to valuate a structured contract for a top first baseman heading into arbitration. We both made the right call on Carlos Marmol’s contract before it was signed and publicized. It’ll be–

      1. based on current contracts signed as free agents, whom we have plenty of cases to base on;
      2. the rule of 40-60-80% of comparable free agent(s);
      3. past performance compared to his comrades.

      1. $22M
      2. 2013: 0.4 x 22, and so on
      3. MVP, Cincy’s affordability

      #1 and #2 are easy. Now I want to work on what is Cincy willing to pay, and what Votto’s agent might need to conform to. For #3, I’ll go by Fangraphs and look at two simple numbers. These numbers have been reliable tools that accurately reflected the Cardinals success into the postseason.

      I’ll start with wrc+, an OPS that weighs heavily on getting on-base and is adjusted according to ballpark factors and league averages (performance of all players throughout the league).

      Between 2008-2011, Votto has two teammates who played as much, the Mouthful Phillips and Jay Bruce. The Reds have always been a good hitting team, but Votto stands out among his peers.

      Why since 2008? That’s when GM Jocketty officially took over and also when Votto started playing every day.

      His 152 wrc+ throughout that four years has no comparison. (Phillips and Bruce are slightly above 100, which is exactly league average.) Now we look at accumulative stats. The “war,” or win-above replacement. This is a theoretical tool that is fun to use in Hall of Fame debates and when we compare batters to pitchers…

      Now, Votto is still looking great, with a 22.9 WAR. But Phillips is not far behind, with 16.9, while playing a tougher defensive position at 2B that definitely wears down hitting more than a 1B.

      Scot Rolen with 7.4 war is also not far behind considering his newer arrival and 40% of Votto’s playing time.

      We move on to the financial history. Not incidentally, Phillips was bought out of arbitration with a $27 million deal that covers 2008-2011. And the Mouthful hothead has been playing full-time since 2007.

      Jay Bruce has a $51 M deal that covers until 2016, including his arbitration years of 2013: $7.5M, ’14: $10M, ’15: $12M.

      Those are fiscally healthy numbers for the Reds management, but not encouraging for Votto’s agent. Granted, Votto is only 1 years removed from his MVP season, but not all ballclubs spend like the Yankees, Redsox, and Phillies.

      • Dorasaga

        We might be looking at an offer from GM Jocketty to match not $22M per year, but more like $15M, what first basemen used to be paid before the Ryan Howard deal, which now the general concensus is: Ridiculum.

        Between now and then, anything can happen that changes Votto’s value. Injury, shortened season (if the collective bargaining ends up in a strike), down year, another MVP, consecutive Gold Gloves…

        All in all, I don’t see a quick replacement of Votto in the Reds lineup for the next four or even five years. I believe they will love to keep him at a rate above anyone else they had, but not to the sky as limit. Maybe the Reds are willing to make their Star Power happy.

        Here’s what I predict the Reds are willing to pay:

        2013: 40% of 18M
        2014: 60% of 20M
        2015: 80% of 22M

        We are looking at a little more than 36M if Jocketty decides to buy out all of Votto’s arbitration years.

        Ryan Howard is a miracle. He sucked out some blood. Cincinatti is a town of the Heartland, and people play safe there.

        • Tony_Hall

          These are your numbers then.

          2013 – 7.2M
          2014 – 12.0M
          2015 – 17.6M

          The Reds alredy are paying Votto
          2012 – $9.5M
          2013 – $17M

          So, I think you are a lot low on your thoughts on the Reds, but right on, what he’s worth.

          He will then be a FA for 2014.  They probably aren’t able to pay his 2013 contract, and will want to trade him to save the cash, and replenish the farm system.

          • Dorasaga

            You’re right. Dunno how I missed that line of his extension. I also denied Votto of his 2007 season, which had substantial service time (not full year, but a lot indeed).

            Well then. The Reds should be able to throw in 36M-40M for the next three years. They are currently controlling an overall budget team-friendly, so that won’t be a problem if they care about the postseason.

            Then this looks like what the Reds can offer, by overwriting his 2013 part of the contract (as commonly done when they kick in more extension years to avoid the arb.):

            2013: 18M
            2014: 18M
            2015: mutual option, 22M.

            I don’t see how the Reds will risk more than his final year under team control. On the other hand, there’s no reason to simply “let go” of their Most Valuable Star until they find another.

            The key here, I believe, is that Votto is not the big story with Fielder and Pujols heading FA, because the possibility of the Reds trading him, out of need, is slim (at least not until 2013).

        • Tom U

          The Reds are very high on Yonder Alonzo, whose best position is first base.

          • Tony_Hall

            That is what Buster Olney says in the article (for those that can’t access). And that is why they may look to move Votto.

          • Dorasaga

            I have my doubt because Alonso’s numbers have not backed him up yet. It’s very rare to find a great player like Votto. I’m also quite impressed by the Reds fiscal health running into 2014, with all the team friendly contracts they got. But from the business side of this, nothing is without a price.

          • Tony_Hall

            I would do everything to keep Votto if I am the Reds.  He is a difference maker.  

          • Dorasaga

            I must agree, I wonder if Reds fans share the same sentiment (hope they do, if they don’t want to end up a doormat and laughing stock like the Cubs for many, many years…). On difference maker, What do you think about Bret Jackson? I’ve only watched one game of him, the Futures Game, I believe, and was vague memory. His numbers flashed an ability of plate discipline that was unseen in the Cubs system. But other than that, I know nothing about him…

          • Tony_Hall

            Brett Jackson is not a difference maker.  Can he turn into one, time will tell.

          • Dorasaga

            I see.

    • paulcatanese

      Tony, Votto would be a great addition for the Cubs, can’t stand the guy with his superior attitude, but he can play ball, and very well. I dont think the Cubs would miss a beat with him instead of Pujols or Fielder. Votto is much more a “clutch” player/ Maybe on a lower key, but nontheless a guy who constantly will beat you. I would say though he would want a team that is going somewhere and if he thinks the Cubs are (instead of laughing at them all the time) he would come here, and maybe at a lower cost.

    • John G

      Ah the irony of it. Joey Votto being traded to the Cubs. Does anyone remember the incident at the 2010 All Star game. Joey “I hate the Cubs” Votto refusing to congratulate Marlon Byrd for saving the game. You think the two could sit next to each other on the bench? Joey wouldn’t like it so much.  Marlon might have fun with it though.

      Nah!! I think I’d take a pass on Joey. I don’t think his heart would be in it.

      • Tony_Hall

        Since this is all a dream scenario anyway, lets get rid of Byrd!

  • Chuck

    Good day from Fort Myers, spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.  I have been out to their spring training home complex to watch their fall instructional league.  The info I hear is that Francona ran a very loose clubhouse from day one.  As long as you win championships and make playoffs that is fine but the September swoon was too much.  The players ran the clubhouse.  Cubs do not need that.  Bring in Ryno!  23 on the North side and 23 on the South side.  As for Lars Anderson, I have seen him play and will say bring him in.. By bringing Anderson in, Cub fans can judge right away what kind of an eye Theo has for players. 

    • bpot92

      who would we give up? I’m thinking we start with soto

      • J Daniel

        lol, Soto.  It will take a lot more than that!

        • bpot92

          I meant start with soto, meaning him plus others, and for a former top prospect who is 23 and blocked, it won’t take a huge amount to get him. Maybe a package can include some of these guys: soto, marmol, jay jackson, z, byrd, wells, and other pitching prospects in the minors not drafted this year or mcnutt.

  • paulcatanese

    If Epstein were to come to the Cubs, he at least would have first hand knowledge of Pena at first base and could make a decision very quickly there.
    As far as a new manager, he needn’t research Qua to any degree without making a expedient choice there.As far as a manager goes, I think he also knows what he had in Boston and don’t think he will go forward with what he had,that would be following a failure with the same thing and he would want a fresh start instead of Francona. Those are three quick decisions he could make before the ink dries on his new contract.If he makes slow but solid decisions I could live with that, as everyone else, just have to wait and see.

  • Tony_Hall

    Good article from Jon Heyman SI

    The general consensus is, if he interviews, he will be offered the job, and if he interviews, he will take the job.

    One reason given as to why he might not take the job – “There’s another practical reason why he might not be anxious to move to Chicago. “The Cubs aren’t going to win for five more years,” contended one competing executive.”

    Ouch that last line hurts a little…

    • cc002600

      I find it interesting that everyone just assumes that Quade will be fired.  I am not so sure about that.

      What if the new GM has a guy he wants to hire, but that guy isn’t available this off season ?  Also, everyone just assumes that the new GM will come in and start making wholesale changes.  Not so fast. 

      Any new GM that comes in is not going to be as faimilar with this orgnanization as you might think.  He may want to take a year to watch and evaluate, which could be very smart vs. making some knee jerk trades this off season that turn out bad.

      • cubs1967

        any GM that does not fire Quade should be fired and someone new hired asap.

        If Theo or whoever is hired needs familiar players; ask randy bush; ya really want quade’s opinion on players; familiar or not??

        • cc002600

          If he’s going to just listen Randy Bush, than why not just make Randy Bush the GM ????


          And oh, breaking news for ya..  They ain’t going nowhere next year, so it doesn’t matter if Quade or Torre or Leyland or Larussa is manager.

    • paulcatanese

      “The Cubs aren’t going to win for five more years.” Well 103 years and counting would give any exec, that indication. Its a little unfair though as the Central can be won by a number of different teams in any year. Getting to the World Series and winning is still unfair as anything can happen in the playoffs. If Epstein were stupid enough to believe that then he is not the guy for the job .

  • woody34

    Nothing can be done until late this week.  Epstein is in the middle of Yom Kippur, which lasts a week and started on Friday.  

  • John_CC

    It’s only been 7 days? 

    Man, it feels like 7 weeks. 

    And not because I am hanging on this decision…I am already sick of it.

  • Ryan7

    Its a little tricky. Theo is looking for a new manager for Boston, and the cubs needs a NEW manager as well. Ryno has been linked to both teams as a replacement for their managerial jobs. How is that going to pan out? Is Theo going to pick Bostons manager or the cubs manager? That’s messed up

  • Darrenmcculloch

    The Cubs have my permission to fire Mike Quade and Mark Reagins. 

  • Tom U

    Brett Jackson was 3-5, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, and a caught stealing in USA’s 5-0 win over Panama in the World Cup. Jackson is hitting .333 for the team, whose record is 4-3

    • Dorasaga

      And lead-off every game, which is quite encouraging for Cubs fans. I know there are broadcast out there, but yet need to find an online stream. If anyone can help us out here…

  • Neil

    Cubs in AFL – Monday results (10/10): Vitters (1B): 1-for-3, 2B, R, BB; LeMahieu (3B): 2-for-4, 2B , R; Lake (DH): 0-for-3, R, HBP

  • John G
    • paulcatanese

      It sure does John, why would Epstein turn the Cubs down? I agree he has a very limited future in Boston, and the Cub job is a savior for him. If that is true, I would lower the perks to get him here as he will be hard pressed to get a job with another team at the figures the Cubs are offering, definatly not offer players in exchange. the article is very convincing as far as his value and should be adjusted as such. Ricketts should be smart here and use the position to his advantage and not Boston’s.

      • Tony_Hall

        And that is why this is a negotiation between the Cubs and Theo, and the Cubs and the Red Sox, and really the Red Sox and Theo.  

        As in all negotiations, he who blinks first…that is what is taking so long, no one is blinking.

        • J Daniel

          Great post, Tony.  I am starting to think he will re-sign with the Sox or the Cubs deal would have been done already.  Why is it taking so long?

          • Tony_Hall

            I think just the opposite, that the longer it drags out, the harder it will be for the Red Sox to keep Theo.

            How would they explain all the comments, they have made, plus not coming out for all this time, saying he not going anywhere.  When a team has no intention of letting someone leave, they say if pretty clearly and quickly.

          • J Daniel

            NO question that by not saying no they have allowed Theo to talk with the Cubs.  But, maybe they know his heart is in Boston and it is all negotiations?  Right away when there was no statement being made I knew they had allowed the Cubs permission.  My question is, why is it taking so long?

          • John G

            Let’s put it in terms we can all understand. Some good looking woman asks your wife for permission to use you to father her child. Thinking that you either love her like crazy or that you are going to leave her anyway, she grants permission to the other woman. You accept the opportunity to “date” the other woman. There are two possible results for your wife, neither of which are good for her so she wants some kind of compensation, like maybe the other womans younger, good lookng brother, in return. Since you agreed to “date” the other woman, that means you aren’t as committed to your wife as she thought, so your options are limitless. You either land the other woman and have many babies, or you now have the possibility of playing the field for the best looking woman you can find, except you have to go through a year living with your wife who can’t stand you now. You really like the idea of having a baby with the new woman, knowing full well that she has never been able to conceive and may never, but you are still willing to take on the challenge. If after a few years of trying, she still remains childless, you leave her and move on to another woman.

            Does this make sense now?

            I didn’t think so.

          • Tony_Hall

            Wow – not sure how that is in terms we can all understand.  I’m confused did the guy go with new woman, for good, or just date.

            I’m pretty sure my wife would say no to the request.  It probably is dependent on how much time I am spending on here that day.

          • John G

            We’re still waiting to find out. They’re negotiating. The question you should be asking is “Will the woman ever have a baby?” and if so, “Who will the father be?” and “Will it happen in our lifetime?”

          • T_Leise

            I’m pretty sure if I asked my wife that, I wouldn’t be around to see if the woman ever had a baby in my lifetime.

          • paulcatanese

            John, my wife for sure would say no to the request, as I am totaly commited to her, she tells me that every day,and can have no such ideas.

        • John G

          Epstein is the one in the driver’s seat. Followed by the Red Sox, with the Cubs bringing up the rear. My point is, Epstein has a contract with the Red Sox. He is going to be paid next year, no matter what. The Red Sox have to pay him unless there is some kind of out for non-performance. i.e. Epstein can just tell John Henry, “Let me out of the contract or I’ll sit on my ass while you pay me.” The Red Sox can let him out of the contract but they want some kind of compensation, be it financial or players. The Cubs have no leverage at all, except to give in to whatever the Red Sox want. They can decline, but then they are still without a GM and in limbo. The Red Sox know that, and the Cubs know that the Red Sox don’t want to go through a year with a lame duck GM. Meanwhile Epstein sits back and says “This is my price. Fight over me.”

          • Tony_Hall

            I believe Theo is in the drivers seat.  If he tells them he wants to take the job, would you want to say no, and then have your GM, unhappy in that he just told you he doesn’t want to work for you anymore, but you are forcing him to honor the last year of his contract.  

            The Red Sox have total veto power, but if it is a promotion, it would be unprecedented to not let an employee take the promotion. 

    • cc002600

      Wow….that article sure seems to imply a done deal……or that all the
      signals point to Theo coming here.

      I just hope the cubs don’t give up any players…..any good players….that
      would be so stupid……….a worthless A or AA prospect, fine….but nothing

      • Anthony


        get in the batters box and try to hit it

        • cc002600

          Dude, get the chip off your shoulder

          I was speaking in relative terms

          Holy cow, cool your jets

    • J Daniel

      yes, or he is doing a great hard ball effort with the Sox?

  • Anthony

    43 Wins over the past 4 seasons is what separates the Red Sox over the Cubs, or 10 wins per season.

    A Gm/Pres whatever can make a difference, a Manager can make a difference, coaches, MILB instructors, scouts all can make a difference, but its all about the players and production more than anything.

    Theo or any other candidate is NO GUARANTEE that winning will be the result.

    To make up 10 wins over 162 games really takes one very important thing, pitching, and the following:

    A couple current players producing slightly above career average, a few players having average seasons, and all players putting money and ego aside in favor of wanting to win. Easy to identify those who DO NOT by watching lack of hustle, laziness, whining, complaining, and flappin their mouths off.

    All the players are talented in every organization and the line between winning and losing is a fine one. It is managements job to focus on extracting the best from each player, it is up to each player to focus and motivate themselves to be the best they can, because once they have gotten paid, money isn’t the motivator anymore, just a crutch!

    You don’t need 9 players with all 5 tools(who walk alot as some posters feel is every Cub prospects weakness????)……….to win baseball games.and swing a 79-83 record to 89-73. You need players who want to win more than anything else, and have fun doing it!

    • Tony_Hall

      Have you played in the minors?  Or have a close tie to someone who did?  Just curious.

    • paulcatanese

      As far a the Cub players walking a lot, the Brewers and the Cardinals havent read that part of the instructional manual, two first pitch hitting teams. But Anthony a good well thought out post, as I have thought anyone who signs a contract to play professional baseball are at least one out of  thousands of ballplayers and I compare them to a golfer they reach a plateau and thats as far as they can go, and cutting their handicap from a 1 to plus 2 is sometimes not plausable.

    • cubtex

      well said!

      • Anthony

        thanks cubtex, and paulcatanese, cutting a HDCP would be from 1 to -2, or 3 strokes per 18?

        Tony, lets just say that baseball bonus and salary rarely equates to winning in baseball.

        I understand FAN frustration. But the FAN has to realize that a CUB WS Title will not directly change their lives, unless they laid a ton of cash in Vegas with great Odds. This is a business first, the entertainment business for profit. Why would any sane person pay $5.00 for a hot dog and $7 bucks for a cheap beer?

        How do you think the “actors” salaries are paid? They are paid from the FAN emotions(silly expenditures) with the hope of actually maybe winning a Title that really only fulfills a players goal of the ultimate success! The FAN is paying to be entertained, Civic Pride?, actually thinking they are a part of it?

        Fans only Watch, cheer, complain, judge, criticize, comment, manage via the internet, and in effect, are entertaining themselves during the grind of a season. But, they love baseball, even if they can’t play it at the required level.

        If Theo takes the job, it will be for one MAIN reason. To have the right to say the Curse was broken under his watch(EGO). But if it happens in 2012, the core of the Title has lots of Hendry/Fleita in it, wouldn’t it?

        CUBS Fans, be happy. We are still exiting from the steroid era, and the numbers are still self-correcting themselves, no more 2B guys hitting 40 bombs, no more inflated batting averages, and soon everyone will have a new standard to evaluate what a player brings to the field. What this does is change the environment of both MLB and MILB with a better basis and level playing field.for the cream to rise to the top.

        • Tony_Hall

          You didn’t answer my question, and I know that bonus and salary rarely equates to winning in baseball, but it does move you through the system faster.