Blog Entry

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Posted on: October 12, 2011 6:14 pm
 

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.

Comments

Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:08 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Um...they hadn't won in 86 years.  Stuff that happened prior to the Great Depression - when baseball was just a tad different - have no bearing on Theo's record.  To try and say the Red Sox were more successful prior to Theo because they won some World Series while the Earth was still cooling is ludicrous.



Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:06 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

They were NOT losing seasons.  They were decimated by injury last year and went 89-73.  They went 90-72 this year.  As a Cub fan, I'll take those "losing" seasons any day.

The Bartman year the Cubs went 88-74. 



Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:04 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

Theo drafted and developed a number of players.  Yeah, we will see.  I'm happy we will.



Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:03 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

This is not a lateral move for Theo.  He's getting the presidency and more power.  It's a promotion.  MLB does not want to set a precedent of a team having to give up anything significant for a promotion.  So this article is off-base.  Theo would not have accepted the Cubs' offer unless he knew this could get worked out, and quickly.



Since: Jan 7, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:01 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

The team is in bad shape?  Maybe physically - they were two strikes away (one in tampa, one in Baltimore) from making the playoffs.  They had the best record in baseball for four months.  The players whined about having to play a doubleheader in advance of Hurricane Irene.

I am a Cubs fan, and we'll take Theo.  You can have whoever. 


brian8ball
Since: Aug 3, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:59 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Jun 25, 2009
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:53 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

I'm having a tough time finding how fellow Red Sox fans can justify Theo leaving. He's done nothing but GREAT things for the organization since he arrived and this season, while disappointing, should segue into another good season with some tweaking--thanks to Theo (and Tito). Thanks for all the memories, Theo, and to anyone hating on him, find a tall building, climb on up, and jump.


When a fan of an opposing team hears or reads about Redsox fans justifying why Theo would leave or saying they are happy Theo is leaving Boston it gives us another reason to hate big market teams like Boston.  Why?  Because Theo has done a phenominal job in Boston, yet because the Redsox don't win for a couple seasons morons are all over him?  Doesn't make sense.... except for the fact that a lot of Redsox fans feel they are owed a world series every year..... which makes other MLB fans sick to their stomach.  Boston went so long without winning it all they made a movie out of it.... but suddenly a couple losing seasons and Theo is garbage?  



Since: Nov 15, 2006
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:20 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

I'm having a tough time finding how fellow Red Sox fans can justify Theo leaving. He's done nothing but GREAT things for the organization since he arrived and this season, while disappointing, should segue into another good season with some tweaking--thanks to Theo (and Tito). Thanks for all the memories, Theo, and to anyone hating on him, find a tall building, climb on up, and jump.




Since: Jan 15, 2007
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:18 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

The compensation they are talking about is not Theo's pay!!!!

It is what Boston gets in return for letting Cubs have Theo as he was still under contract for 2012 with the Red Sox.

The GM's resposibility is to get players to make up the team, that's it. The owners have to agree on how much money can be spent to put the team together, then the manager has to be the leader and get the most out of each player.

It is also the GM and his staffs responsibility to build the farm system.

Theo and Francoma's time was up in Boston, time for them to move on. Yes they won 2 world series during their tenure, but no team keeps everyone around for ever. Torre left NYY, Cashman should be gone soon.

GM's and managers move around fairlyoften in baseball.

Ben Cherrington will be the Red Sox new GM and he will be fine. They just need the right manager to get everything back to the way it was.

Cubs have many issues with pitching, and other positions at this point. They most likely won't be contenders for a few years!



Since: Oct 13, 2011
Posted on: October 13, 2011 12:16 am
 

Don't underestimate compensation in Theo-ball

I say why haven't the Cubs looked for and found their own Theo without having to pay for a used gm whose magic is gone?


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