Blog Entry

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:14 pm
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Talk about a golden autumn for general managers. Billy Beane goes Hollywood in "Moneyball." Theo Epstein is about to go Wrigleyville in "Cubbyball."

What's next, the Martin Scorsese HBO documentary treatment for Brian Cashman?

Make no mistake, the Red Sox are on the verge of completing their most historically impactful deal since owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919.

Whatever side you're on in what suddenly has become a vengeful Theo Divide, the facts are that the man constructed two World Series winners in Boston. Whether or not he's run his course, whether he fueled the Red Sox's downhill slide by signing free agents John Lackey, Julio Lugo and Carl Crawford, he still brought two World Series titles to town.

You agree to allow that man out of his contract so he can move to the Cubs, it is a pivot point in franchise history.

While the principles for both the Cubs and Red Sox remained underground Wednesday, indications were that Epstein and the Cubs are handshake-deal close, if not even deeper into their budding new relationship.

Which does not necessarily mean it becomes official tonight or even tomorrow, for one very large reason.

Compensation.

That's the next step in this enormously complicated transaction, and it is significant enough to probably delay this deal from being completed for at least a day or two, and possibly through week's end, or the weekend.

Where Boston owners John Henry and Larry Lucchino are concerned, even if they've run their course with Epstein, both industry sources and Lucchino's history suggest that the Red Sox will extract a significant price from the Cubs before allowing Epstein out of the final year of his Boston deal.

Few in the industry are as sharp and as ruthless as Lucchino, whose negotiating tactics one industry source described as "conceal and delay" until usually gaining what he wants.

There are at least two schools of thought in the industry regarding what the Red Sox ultimately will demand from the Cubs.

The first goes like this: The Red Sox are loaded financially, and as such, will demand players in return. This isn't a franchise that needs more money.

But the flip side is this: If Boston receives, say, two second-tier players in exchange, then those players always will be linked to Epstein. And if he wins a World Series with the Cubs and the players fade as second-tier prospects usually do, then that becomes a lifetime source of embarrassment for the Red Sox.

Whereas, if an organization already flush with cash simply takes a few million back in compensation, that money will fade into history no matter what Epstein does in Chicago. Without a human face a prospect (or two or three) would bring back, the Red Sox could position the post-Theo narrative however they wish, explaining that they used the money to sign Free Agent A or toward Blue Chip Draft Pick B.

Though it happened more than a decade ago, it is instructive to look back to the end of the 1995 season, when Lucchino was president of the San Diego Padres and then-general manager Randy Smith turned in his resignation on the last weekend of the season so he could become Detroit's GM.

Because the Padres held a club option on Smith's contract, Lucchino refused to accept his resignation -- even though it was believed at the time that the Padres were not going to pick up Smith's option. Arduous negotiations then began for Smith's exit.

Lucchino finally allowed Smith to leave, but only after ensuring that Smith, in Detroit, would not be able to poach San Diego's front office, nor its farm system.

The separation agreement included a one-year moratorium on Detroit claiming any Padres players in the Rule V draft, as well as an agreement prohibiting Smith to take any Padres employees with him to Detroit.

A month later, the Padres did not renew the contracts of Steve Lubratich and Randy Johnson, and Smith hired Lubratich as an assistant GM in Detroit and Johnson as a special assistant/major-league scout.

"Larry's tough, there's no question about it," said Smith, now the Padres' director of player development, Wednesday from Arizona, where he was seeing San Diego's Instructional League club. "He's smart, and he's tough."

Right now, before they can finalize the deal with Epstein, that's the next path through which the Cubs must traverse.

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Comments

Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2011 6:24 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

 Most of his moves the last few years have actually been very poor and the first World Series was partially a result of the Ramirez trade which he openly inidcated he would not have made. He made great changes to the organization from the scouting to the system, but the Red Sox are set up for success no matter who is in charge. He will be great for the Cubs also, but the Cubs are in no postion to trade prospects-they have too few as it is.


Boston has won way too many games and had way too much success as an organization the last few years to say that most of Theo's decisions were very poor. Slice it and dice it any way you'd like, the bottom line is the Redsox were more successful with Theo then they were for years before he got there.  But anyway, you're allowed your opinion.....

Here's where it gets easy though.... when a team that has been as unsuccessful as the Cubs have been wants a GM that is still under contract with a well known and very successful team like the Redsox, that team must and will pay up.

They will give up prospects... how many? I don't know.  Top or mid level or lower level or a mix of all of the above? Not sure... but I guarantee you the Cubs will give prospects up for Theo....  because they have no choice. 



Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 8:31 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

My point is the REd SOX have reached a point of no return with Epstein. There is no way they can ask him back now and all of Boston realizes this. I will reiterate that the Cubs know he is not going back to Boston and should in no way give any top prospect to get him. It is  not a matter of the CUbs hurting the Sox, the Sox damaged themselves by all the leaks and disparagement members of management have done the last week or so.  And for the record, Theo is far from infallible. Most of his moves the last few years have actually been very poor and the first World Series was partially a result of the Ramirez trade which he openly inidcated he would not have made. He made great changes to the organization from the scouting to the system, but the Red Sox are set up for success no matter who is in charge. He will be great for the Cubs also, but the Cubs are in no postion to trade prospects-they have too few as it is.



Since: Jun 11, 2010
Posted on: October 14, 2011 2:50 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Wing, I think the best thing Theo can bring to the Cubs, is building the farm system, but make no mistake, he is not Superman, he makes mistakes, and some big ones, I would think the Cubs Scouting dept would be key to this whole transaction, and part of this is who Theo brings with him, and who the Red Sox allow him to take. also, I have to think there is someone in the Cubs organization, that giving the chance can do the same or a better job than Theo. The Cubs would be foolish to Compensate other than cash!



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

If I am the Cubs I say no to any major player request and let Lucchino deal with the backlash and uncomfortableness of having to keep for another year a lame duck GM who wants out of boston and likely has zero trust for his owners anymore. 

No, that's not how these things work.  The Cubs as an organization don't improve if Theo is forced to stay in Boston.  The Cubs don't improove or benefit in any way if Boston sucks next season.  But on the other hand the Cubs have a great chance of improving if they have the right leadership in place, a guy like Theo goes a long way towards that goal.  The Cubs have to think of what's best for the Cubs and not how they can hurt the Redsox because that doesn't even factor into anything at all in this.  Theo is a great GM in my opinion and did great things in Boston the last few seasons.  The Cubs desperately need a good leader to help get them to the next level.  If the Cubs say no to Theo today, there is no guarantee that when his contract runs out a year from now that other teams won't outbid the Cubs and go after Theo in a big way.  Now is the time for the Cubs to get this guy, and if they want to improve their team they'll do exactly that.  If that means giving in to the Redsox then that's what you do.... put all your pride aside and make it happen Cubbies.... 



Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:07 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

I dont care how great a negotiator Larry Lucchino thinks he is, he simply shot himself in the foot here with his leaking negative info about his management team. If I am the Cubs I say no to any major player request and let Lucchino deal with the backlash and uncomfortableness of having to keep for another year a lame duck GM who wants out of boston and likely has zero trust for his owners anymore. 



Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:49 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

So hitting 28 HR's, only 80 RBI's, walking 101 times, striking out 161 times, OPS of .810 and a BA of .225 from our cleanup hitter who made 10 million for this year is just dandy?

I'll meet you half way here.  Yes, .225 from a cleanup hitter is disgusting... terrible to say the least.  But the 28 hr's and 101 walks is pretty good if you ask me... I know 10 million seems like a lot of money but this is MLB man... overpaid players all over the place.  No hard cap means players make retarded money....... crazy, insane money and sometimes they don't deserve it.   It's not his fault he's batting 4th though.... move him down to 6th and you're better off. 

All I'm saying is there are a lot worse players on the Cubs then guys that hit 28 hr's and walk 100 times.... so if the guy you responded to meant to say the team has worse problems then Pena, I agree 100 percent.   If he's saying that Pena should continue to bat in the top 5 of the order, then I disagree completely. 



Since: Aug 18, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:02 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Meanwhile, Matt Snyder and his "blog" say a deal and compensation aren't close.



Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 14, 2011 7:16 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

You mean Andy MacF-A-I-L ??



Since: Jan 3, 2010
Posted on: October 13, 2011 9:46 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

How did it work out for the Cubs the last time they brought in a GM that had two world championships under his belt in a five year span?  Oh, he just exited as the Orioles president??



Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: October 13, 2011 8:58 pm
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

The Red Sox are cursed. No matter what they do they will mess up. Even if they were somehow able to get a few frontline pitchers to shore up their very weak and embarrassing rotation if Epstein takes the Cubs to the WS and wins it..then all of Boston will be mad that the Red Sox owners kicked Epstein to the curb. What you guys might not know is that Epstein did not want Carl Crawford but John Henry said "Giddyup...let's do it. Go get Crawford. He is the missing piece to our puzzle". Epstein is his own man but ultimately he has to answer to the guy who signs his paychecks. 


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