Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Epstein Talk: The Past 24 hours And New Rumors

Let’s run down some facts and rumors of the Theo Epstein to Chicago Talk in the past 24 hours-

- Congrats to the Boston Herald for first breaking the news by says Theo Epstein is on the “cusp of leaving his job as general manager of the Red Sox to accept a position with the Chicago Cubs that is believed to include powers greater than he has in Boston.” This set the blog and twitter world on fire and created the domino effect that we witness last night into today.

- Epstein did not originally agree to the complete deal as reported last night; just the parameters but the deal was signed this morning.

- Many reports stated it was a “done-deal” and to a certain extent they were right. Saying that is basically like asking the hottest girl to prom and getting shut down and taking her best friend. You are still going to the Prom with a date she is just the original hot girl you were going with.

- An announcement could be as early as Thursday but Friday seems like it is getting the most buzz.

- Crane Kenney got blasted by some baseball execs and the media was there to report them. Here is what they said-

*****Epstein's responsibilities and title would "assure that Epstein would have the authority to keep meddlesome Cubs' president Crane Kenney out of baseball business."

*****Multiple high-level execs from other organizations view Kenney "as an interfering, credit-seeking suit with little baseball acumen and an impediment to landing a top general manager."
- Despite the criticism from execs, Ricketts said Crane Kenney was involved in the process and applauded him for doing a good job.

- Mike Quade was not informed or in on any discussions regarding the GM search. Is anyone really surprised? Sometimes I wondered if Quade was ever informed he was a ML Manager throughout this season.

- The Cubs contacted several other GMs while trying to land Theo Epstein and they were Andrew Friedman, Rick Hahn, Dan Evans, Jerry Dipoto, and Kim Ng. But the Cubs got their first choice as GM.

- The Cubs will not give up Brett Jackson or Starlin Castro as compensation to the Red Sox. Several reports indicated last night and early this morning that the Cubs would pay cash and maybe give a minor league player not on the 40 man roster.

- It looked originally like the Cubs would sign Theo to a 3 or 4 year deal but Epstein expressed interest in building a team not purchasing one so the Cubs added a year.

- Theo and Tom have the same outlook/vision for the Cubs in the next 5 years. It was originally rumored that Ricketts would have to increase payroll to have Theo come aboard but that report was proven false.

- Theo Epstein will have to ask permission from the Boston Brass to take current Red Sox employees with him.

- Red Sox owner John Henry has an opportunity to stop the bleeding by signing Epstein to an extension and granting him a promotion but chose not to because he did not want to keep an employee that does not want to be there.

- Theo Epstein approved of the extension for Fleita and retaining Tim Wilken. He has high praise for both!

- Epstein met with the Cubs front office on two occasions that included Tom Ricketts, Crane Kenney, Tim Wilken, Oneri Fleita, Ari Kaplan, and others. Quade was not in any meetings.

- The Cubs signed Theo to a 5 year 20 million dollar contract which includes the Cubs picking up the conclusion bonus in Theo’s Red Sox deal.

- Theo Epstein will likely have the title of General Manager and President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs. Theo will only have one man above him in his field and that is owner Tom Ricketts. Crane Kenney will have no say in the Baseball Operations side of things and Theo Epstein will have no say in the Business Operations side of things. Crane Kenney will have his title adjusted from Team President to President of Business Operations for the Chicago Cubs.

- If Tom Ricketts hired a GM like Rick Hahn then he would have likely hired a separate President like a Pat Gillick.

- After the dust has settled and Theo is named the Cubs GM at his introductory press conference he along with other Cub officials will decide on Mike Quade’s fate with the Cubs.

- It should be noted that Theo Epstein was seeking Ryne Sandberg to come to Boston last season to manage their AAA affiliate. So it is likely; because of Sandberg’s connection to the city of Chicago, the Cubs, and the fan base, that Ryno is the favorite to be hired as manager once Quade is presumably dismissed.

- Rumors are out there that Theo Epstein will go level by level to determine who to keep and who should pack their bags. The entire coaching staff for the ML Cubs is likely to be dismissed even Rudy Jaramillo.

- Some reports are that Theo Epstein will change the dynamic throughout the Cubs system to make them a more of a complete team. Revamps include promoting and putting coaches in place that teach good plate discipline, better fundamentals, better defense, and a winning attitude.

- Theo is rumored to wanting to create a family feel much like what the Phillies model but would like to keep the Cubs “in the family” according to sources. This is one of the many things Tom and Theo agreed upon and got both very excited about. The premise is that the Cubs front office would like to put together a Cubs family throughout the entire minor league system starting at the top and going down to A ball. Which means the idea of having Ryne Sandberg as you manager, a former Cub like Mark Grace at hitting coach, and pitching Coach Rick Sutcliffe would not be out of the realm of possibility. It also could mean bringing back more former players for ST and to bring in former players and/or coaches in positions in the minor leagues. It should be interesting and exciting to see the changes coming up in the Cubs organization.

Until Next Time…

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For those without twitter Theo Epstein is the next Cubs GM
For those without twitter. E

Cubs Rumors: Epstein, 3rd base, Pitching, and other notes

Here are the latest Cubs notes from today-

- The Red Sox are pushing Epstein and the Cubs to come up with some sort of announcement whether it is accepting a job or declining it. The Red Sox are in a bad position at the top of the organization because they are waiting on Epstein and the Cubs and because of that they have put their manager search on hold. Their seems to be some regret and anger on the Red Sox part for allowing an interview to take place but it goes against their philosophy to decline an interview for a position higher than what the employee already obtains.

- The Red Sox have mentioned assistant GM Ben Cherington a lot recently almost like they are prepping Red Sox nation for him to take over the GM reigns when Epstein bolts for Chicago.

- The Cubs may have “at least” 3 possible replacements for Aramis Ramirez via trade (besides David Wright). Here they are-

· Alex Rodriquez- Rumors out of New York say the Yankees are growing tired of Arod and his lack of production, injury concerns, defensive decline, and off the field issues which may cause the Yankees to shop Arod. He has 6 years 143 million left on his contract which would be near impossible to unload unless the Yankees take on a similar contract or pay over half of Arod’s contract to get a deal done. I can see a Soriano and Zambrano for Arod deal but the Cubs would be basically trading 4 years 72 million for 4 years 143 million. So essentially they would take on 2 years 71 million if the Yankees did not pay any of his contract. So a deal might be pretty hard to do.

· Mark Reynolds- He could be traded to make room for some of their young up and coming corner infield prospects. Reynolds can play both 1st and third so he would be a nice addition for the Cubs considering he hit 37 homers last year. He has not hit below 32 in the past three years but with that you get his high strike out totals that have not dipped below 200 until this year. He plays OK defense and is nice power from the right side that would have the sting of losing Aramis Ramirez production hurt less. I could see the Orioles liking some young prospects or even a package around Randy Wells and Tony Campana in return for Reynolds.

· Kevin Youkilis- The guy has not been able to stay healthy recently and getting up there in age which is why it was reported yesterday that the Red Sox may entertain offers for Youkilis. The Red Sox might be starting a large overhaul and introducing some of their young minor league talent to the big leagues. As reported yesterday the Red Sox are growing more confident in young 3rd baseman Wil Middlebrooks. At age 22 Middlebrooks last season went from low A to AAA hitting 23 homers, batting .285, and playing decent defense. If the Red Sox do shop Kevin Youkilis then expect the Cubs to call because he is the best stopgap for younger players in the system to develop. Youk will make 12 million next season and has a $13M club option for 2013.

Bruce Levine had his chat today and here is the latest from him-

· He says the Cubs may have some competition from the Angels since they are looking for a GM as well.

· Levine says if the Cubs lose out on Epstein it is not the end of the world. He names DiPoto, Ben Cherington, and Rick Hahn as other candidates.

· Bruce once again stats he does not expect the Red Sox to receive compensation if the Cubs hired Epstein and I agree. Although he says in a worse case scenario the Red Sox get a mid-level prospect but nothing more.

· He does not see the Cubs going after Fielder. I do think they will go after him and land him.

· Crane Kenney will not be replaced as Team President for Theo but both titles could be altered in the form of President of Baseball Operations and President of Business Operations.

· Bruce thinks the Cubs could add John Danks, James Shields, or J.A. Happ this offseason via trade because they value is low and upside is good.

· Levine sees Aram landing with the Angels, Red Sox or Marlins. I think the fish and Angels are the best bet.

· Bruce thinks LeMahieu could be a fit a third for next season. Defensively I agree but not offensively.

· The Cubs will eat a good portion of Z and Sori’s contract to get a trade done.

· Bruce says if Epstein is the next GM we will find out this week.

· Bruce also does not see the Cubs going after C.J. Wilson.

Until Next Time..

Monday, October 10, 2011

Theo Epstein Rumors

If you follow anyone in relation to the Cubs on twitter (especially me) you know the Theo Epstein rumors have really heated up. Here is the latest news in the past 24-48 hours-

- A fan thought he saw Theo Epstein at a Starbucks in Chicago, but "Theo Epstein" denied it.
- There is no way the Cubs offer Starlin Castro for Theo and the Red Sox know that.
- The Red Sox have granted permission to speak to Mr. Epstein.
- Some Red Sox fans think they are better off with Larry Luchinno taking back some the responsibility that Epstein took from him and name Ben Cherington GM.
- The Red Sox are trying to get some quality in return for Theo Epstein by expressing displeasure in information being leaked to the media that the Cubs asked to speak to Epstein. If the Cubs do have to give up something which I am not entirely sure they will; it would likely be a minor league pitcher like Jay Jackson.
- There are numerous reports that Epstein has been or will be offered a GM/President of Baseball Operations position with the Cubs which would be move up not a lateral move which the Red Sox would have likely denied Epstein to interview.
- Buster_ESPN on twitter says this from a rival GM "If he met with the Cubs, what it means is that if he gets the offer he wants, he's gone [to Chicago]." That would be great news for Cubs fans.

If you like unconfirmed rumors then read this next section. I have received more emails telling me rumors and news in the past 48 hours via email, direct message on twitter, and by text message than I have in my 5 years writing for Hot Stove Cubbies. Some rumors have been confirmed while others are still awaiting their approval. So, listed below are the rumors that have not been confirmed or collaborated by another source. These by no means should taken as news, just by what it is, a rumor.

- The Cubs have offered the job to Theo Epstein and he has accepted but they are just working out the contract details.
- Theo Epstein is a smoke screen for the entire process and to keep guys like me busy and off the trail.
- If Theo does commit to the Cubs it means Tom Ricketts has agreed to increase payroll to match what the Red Sox current payroll is which is 164 million dollars. That would be a increase of 30 million of this year's payroll. And if true then the Cubs have 90 million to spend just on 2012. That is enough to get a Cubs fan gitty! With that number the Cubs could afford to sign Fielder, Sabathia, and CJ Wilson with some money left over.
- The Cubs have already interviewed Friedman, Hahn, and Beane.
- Ryne Sandberg will be announced as the new manager along with Theo Epstien.
- There will be a press conference held at the break between the Championship Series and the World Series to announce Theo Epstein as the new GM but Theo is already at work because he has accepted this position.

As you can see some of these rumors are pretty far fetched so take them at face value.

Until Next Time...