Theo to Cubs Ever so Close

This appears just about close to being finalized. Here's the latest and to open up a new set of comments.

- Epstein and family

- Heyman tweets that there is a bit of discussion whether #cubs send cash or minor leaguers to #redsox for theo. so far boston prefers the $.

- A would be 5/$15M, ESPN There's some confusion over a $3.5M transfer bonus that Epstein would receive,  so that could be part of the difference.

- Same article says industry source said Tuesday that Cubs owner Tom Ricketts spoke with Epstein last week and that Epstein met with Cubs president Crane Kenney in Chicago last weekend (I presume to settle how much of Kenney's salary would be going to Epstein).

- Kaplan with a I can't find it now, but I think it was Kaplan reporting that Epstein's very comfortable with Wilken and Fleita.

- Kevin Goldstein (subscriptions required) goes over the state of the organization that Theo will inherit. 

- George Ofman tweets: Word from sources close to situation: Ryne Sandberg not on Theo's short list to be manager at this time

Theo did try and hire Ryno to manage Pawtucket though last year, so even if he doesn't quite think he's big league ready, possibility as a major league coach could loom. 

- and start the smear campaign on Francona, Epstein and some of the players. 

Some video of Epstein discussing player evaluation after the jump...

That's all for now folks...


Ofman also saying Quade "could" be back, can't imagine Epstein wants to piss everyone off with his first move.

Pretty good read...interesting. Curse...blah. Build a team for long term success...ignore the curse please. the cubs should... get rid of the bad players and hire my internet friends good stuff. #sarcasmhashtag

I wanted a reboot last season, but this will do.

LOL MGL...Tom Tango I could get behind, though.

I think most of those suggestions were pretty on target. I wish Theo best of luck getting someone to take Soriano and Zambrano with anything coming back to the Cubs. I'm actually pretty stoked that Ricketts is thisclose to replacing Hendry, more so than any time of being a Cubs fan. Obviously, circumstances/fate/luck have contributed to Theo even being available - if Boston makes the WC, this probably never happens. My optimism is, however, based on these assumptions: (1) Theo is President of Baseball Operations and answers only to Ricketts; (2) Crane Kenney can sit in the meetings but has to shut up when Theo says so - he has absolutely no say in anything involving baseball games, players, scouting, coaching, player development, signing free agents, trades......well, you get the point; (3) Theo and Ricketts REALLY do re-build this thing from the ground up - no quick fixes to compete. If all this happens, I really don't give a crap if 2012 is a write-off and 2013 for that matter. Wouldn't it be nice to see an organization filled with pitchers who throw 70% first pitch strikes, who have 3.5 to 4/1 K-BB ratios, who routinely challenge hitters? How about an everyday lineup where 7 or 8 players can not only hit, get on base, and manufacture runs BUT field their position at least major league average?

Those sound like rather lofty goals as we start to rebuild the system. Maybe draft smart, allocate a large portion of the budget to developing a stable and productive farm system, manage the 40-man roster to get the most out of what you have, and don't overspend on journeyman relievers or middling free agents coming off of career years would be more realistic?

Sorry, but "start to rebuild the system" is an insult to Fleita and Wilken. In high A and double A, where they separate the men from the boys, the Cub teams were #1 and #2.

In high A and double A, where they separate the men from the boys, the Cub teams were #1 and #2. the shit you come up with... Smokies have made the AA championship the last 3 years, not really a pipeline to the majors there. Daytona has won the FSL 2 of the last 4 years and had a .540 win percentage in 2010. They did have a down year in 2009.

Is Rob having a bad day or did someone hack his account and is posting as him?

I'm having a wonderful day, but I'll still call other people's bullshit out.

fight the power, bro.

take a logic class, bro.

i was looking for... "i'm not your bro, dude." i'll get my logic on, though.

There's a difference between calling out bullshit and being rude.

apologies if I offended you, there's a couple of dozen other Cubs blogs out there if you're not enjoying this one.

"Smokies have made the AA championship the last 3 years, not really a pipeline to the majors there." Nobody said it was a pipeline to the majors, more of a percolator. Think of coffee brewing slowly. You have no idea what will become of Jackson, Flaherty, Ridling, Chirinos, Guyer, LeMahieu, Smith, Thomas, Clevenger, Campana, Colvin, Barney and the others who have contributed to Daytona's and Tennessee's success. Anyway, I don't think it's necessary to rebuild a system where the most important teams--A+ and AA--were 15 and 26 games over .500, respectively. If it were necessary, it would take six to eight years and nobody here would want to hang around that long.

the point that you missed is that your litmus tests have been good for 4 years now and not giving much help to any major league club. You have no idea what will become of Jackson, Flaherty, Ridling, Chirinos, Guyer, LeMahieu, Smith, Thomas, Clevenger, Campana, Colvin, Barney and the others who have contributed to Daytona's and Tennessee's success. I have a pretty good idea.

Castro, Barney and Campana are major leaguers. In my quick list, I left out Vitters, Lake and Ha. Vitters will be a major leaguer and the other two have real potential. Not long ago you argued that Stockstill did as well as Wilken, what with Theriot, Soto and McGehee making the majors and succeeding pretty well. I pointed out that if you synch up the time frames, Stockstill only had Brendan Harris's 23 games as a September callup to show for his first six seasons as scouting director, whereas Wilken has over 600 games from Colvin, Barney, Campana, etc. When Wilken was hired, Cub fans made a fuss about his streak of 12 first-round draft picks in a row making the majors. I don't recall hearing how many of them became regulars for five years. We were impressed at the time because Cub first-rounders were longshots to have a cup of coffee in the majors. Of Wilken's six first-rounders with the Cubs, only Simpson is really a longshot at this point. If you want to raise the bar now and talk about long-term success, that's fine. But I think you're underestimating the importance to a major-league team of an organization that churns out major leaguers, period. And several of them--it's difficult to predict exactly who or how many--will be stars or near-stars. The neat thing about young players is that they get better from year to year. Explain that to a typical Cub fan, whose only experience is with players who have started to decline before they get fitted for Cubby blue.

Not long ago you argued that Stockstill did as well as Wilken, what with Theriot, Soto and McGehee making the majors and succeeding pretty well what I argued was that some of the praise for Wilken at the moment was unfounded and that at the moment his draft rate wasn't that much better than Stockstill's. Then you turned into a position player thing disregarding all pitchers on your own, which made it just as unfair as the 11 to 5 year difference, since the organizational direction at the time was to try and select pitchers. And of which at one point, mostly do to those drafts, the Cubs had more pitchers in the majors than any other clubs. But I think you're underestimating the importance to a major-league team of an organization that churns out major leaguers, period. it's better than not churning out major league talent..sure. But you know what's not expensive to find on the open market? Bench players and below average regulars. You know what is hard to find on the open market? consistently above average talent, All-Stars and elite players. I don't think the system is in disarray or anything, it's just lacking in guys that can reasonably be expected to be good regulars (B. Jackson really being the only one, maybe Flaherty, LeMahieu and Vitters) and the major league team is very much in need of that. I blame the lack of funds for the draft as much as Wilken. And several of them--it's difficult to predict exactly who or how many--will be stars or near-stars. no, that's not that difficult to predict The neat thing about young players is that they get better from year to year. Explain that to a typical Cub fan, whose only experience is with players who have started to decline before they get fitted for Cubby blue. generalize much?

"But you know what's not expensive to find on the open market? Bench players and below average regulars." The below-average players on the Cubs were acquired: Soriano, DeWitt, Byrd, Baker, Hill, Grabow. Castro, Soto, Barney and Campana--all homegrown--are average or better, as are homegrown pitchers Marshall, Marmol, Samardzija, Cashner and Russell. Of course, there are acquisitions who are average or better: Ramirez, Pena, Garza, Dempster. (Not a long list.) We need stars, sure, but we also need to be less dependent on the second-hand pieces that are acquired during famine years on the farm. Those lean years, I think, are behind us. I conveniently left out Colvin, who is obviously below average, but I've been saying for months that he needed to be back in the minors, out of the spotlight. For some reason, Hendry wanted this to be Colvin's make-or-break season.

the fact that you think Barney and Campana are average or better means you're talking about something not related to baseball. saying Soriano and Byrd are below average is a bit of a reach, overpaid, sure, well in Soriano's case. on that note, your response had little to do with that I wrote, so carry on believing that the Cubs system is in good shape to turn the Cubs around in the next 2-3 years without a ton of outside help.

"the fact that you think Barney and Campana are average or better means you're talking about something not related to baseball." Barney has numerous defenders, so I'll concentrate on the guy who doesn't seem to have any. In April, 2010, I wrote this:
In recent seasons, the Cubs have addressed their need for speed with additions like Pie or Fuld or Gathright. The next time that particular need is addressed, the call will probably go out to Campana–or possibly Brandon Guyer. The absolute least you can say about Campana is that he is on the team’s radar, that he is a prospect. Something must be wrong, then, with prospect rankings, because I can’t find Campana’s name on any list of Cub prospects. See for yourself on this [TCR] page of links. Most of the lists have ten, fifteen or twenty names, but one of them (Diamond Futures) ranks 38 Cub prospects and then throws in another 31 as unranked C-level honorable mentions. Campana isn’t in anyone’s top 10, 15 or 20, or even DF’s top 69. What is going on here?
What was going on there is the same thing that's going on here. You don't like Campana, but then you didn't like Bourn or Morgan or Juan Pierre, either. And yet, there is Pierre with 2000 hits. There is Morgan in the NLCS. There is Bourn, identified by the Braves at the trading deadline as the missing puzzle piece. And there is Tony Campana, playing in 95 games with the Cubs in 2011. So speed is "something related to baseball," right?

I don't mind Bourne, when he steals, he's successful, defense is above average and walks enough and still young. Morgan's a little older and gets thrown out too much, but I don't terribly hate him. Pierre sucks... they're regulars, but not particularly good ones, nor expensive to find. But thanks for proving my point, they're generally cheap to find and float from team to team because they're not all that valuable cause teams know they can find another player just like it without looking too hard. You can throw a dart and land Scott Podsednik or Joey Gathright anytime you want, if that's the best the minor league system is doing, it needs to do better. To paraphrase one of the prospect gurus I follow on twitter, speed is the most overrated and abundant tool in the minors. also there's no reasonable definition in the world that labels Campana as an average major league regular or better. also, prospect lists go by potential ceiling of player, not dude that will get called up and have little impact. When you're best case scenario is 5th OF, no one cares.

The idea that speed is overrated is an important element of the Jamesian playbook. All gurus sing from the same hymnal, otherwise they would be excommunicated. They live in a circular world where stolen bases are not counted in any standard offensive stat, so naturally base stealers don't look like they're pulling their weight. Naturally, Tony Campana gets excluded from a list of the top 69 Cub prospects one year before--very much on schedule--he rises to the majors. OPS and its variants are supposed to summarize offensive production, but without SBs, of course. I, for the life of me, can't see the difference between a double with the bases empty and a single plus a stolen base, except that the base stealer is more likely to score than the slower runner who doubled. Using a simple formula--total bases + walks + SBs, divided by something (games, PAs)--I am in a position to explain why Morgan and Bourn were coveted by playoff contenders, why Juan Pierre has earned $57.25 million over ten years along with the opportunity to amass 2000 hits, and why Cub fans who don't have gurus appreciated Pierre and consider Campana's specialized toolset a welcome addition to the team's arsenal. You can't explain these things, so you fall back to asserting that the player sucks or the team is stupid. Your guru can't explain these phenomena either, nor can his guru, nor can his guru's grandfather Bill James. Billy Beane must have fired his guru. In the movie, he gives a player the order, "Don't steal!" In the real world, I note that Coco Crisp set a personal best in stolen bases when he joined the A's last year, and upped it by 50% this year.

the prospect guy was either goldstein or callis, neither are Jamesian disciples. Beane loves stolen bases, what he hates is caught stealings (that's a paraphrased quote actually). It's also what your magic formula is missing. part of that speed they so "covet" is for defense though, also what your formula doesn't address and why Pierre sucks (on top of not walking enough). just about everyone has caught up to speed being overrated, doesn't mean it doesn't have its place in the game. And there are certainly a few GM's that will still overpay and overvalue it. and back to the actual point, it's the easiest "tool" to find in the minors.

It'd be awesome if Campana could put the bat on the ball often enough to be as valuable as Bourn, Morgan, or Pierre.

Charlie, Your tactics would have been above Hendry's skill level on his best day. For what Ricketts is willing to spend on Theo or Beane or Cashman or Friedman, those things would be like - pants first, then shoes. As Cubs fans, we should all reach higher. It's OK to consider any season where you don't win the last baseball game played that year a failure.

As Cubs fans in general, I would have to say we're a stupid lot. Even so, we're not half as lame as Cardinals and Tigers fans waving Homer Hankies at games during the playoffs... what a bunch of tools.

I think most of the suggestions could have been written by a 10-year old fan.

a true "work hard, play hard" kid...his dad's money didn't ruin his work ethic. he's well aware of what making dad's money can bring him, though.

He's in the trade for Theo.

I understand you're joking, but Dunston jr. couldn't be traded even if they wanted to. He was drafted less than 1 yr ago an is ineligible to be traded until next June.

I think it's signing date not draft date.

wet blanket

zombie has a nice little cottage for sale in lake forest last i heard...think of it!

River Forest, actually. Very nice 'hood.

I saw that house on the nets, it's like $300k overpriced. Lake Forest price in River Forest=no buyer.

You have to account for the fact that the house has trace remainders of Zambrano's sperm in some parts of it. That makes it a potential MLB collector's item. Think of it as an investment, not a purchase.

*golf clap*

I haven't seen the listing, but there are plenty of $1 million-plus homes in River Forest. Clevenger (C), LaHair (1B), LeMahieu (2B), Lake(SS), Amaya(3B), Ridling (OF), B. Jackson (OF), Burgess (OF), R. Jones (Util), Struck (RHSP), Jokisch (LHSP), F. Batista (RP) figured Beliveau (team minor league pitcher of the year) would get the relief spot..

Heard #Redsox wanted keep Theo, but Epstein made clear leaving when contract up after ’12 . So OK’d #Cubs: Didn’t want expensive lameduck

so the cubs are going to give $6.5m this season to get a suit? i hope that the $3.5m comes out of a non-player budget concern at the very least. a GM is gonna cost upwards 1-2m anyway for a club of this size...3m is an eye-roller, but expected with this name brand GM.

We will make that up in not rostering guys like Neifi, Glendon and John Grabow.

Nothing wrong at all with having any of those guys on the roster. Paying them a combined $8 million, and giving them 450 PA's and 120 high leverage innings is a different story.

that Jay Jackson "may" be the player headed to Red Sox...or one of the players or a player along with cash...or just an unfounded rumor.

hearing #redsox insisting theo can't take other boston execs with him. That seems fair as part of agreement. #cubs Ask his contemporaries who they most respect and Epstein’s name surfaces more often than any other because of his player-development history, scouting savvy, statistical acuity and the simple fact that good people want to, and like to, work for him.

Best GM in baseball knows better than to sign the best player in baseball, right?

i dunno if the best GM in baseball will have 20-25m+ to blow on the best player in baseball without some crazy backloading on a contract...or a griffey jr style "pay you til 2024" type contract. RF/3rd/1st/SP with immediate need...yow.

Cubnut tweeted this lie from the Sun Times today "A key for the Cubs to land Epstein is a title that represents a higher rank, presumably of comparable standing to ‘‘president,’’ in part to assure he’s not making a lateral move, as baseball protocol dictates. In practice, sources said, it’s to assure that Epstein would have the authority to keep meddlesome Cubs president Crane Kenney out of baseball business. Multiple high-level executives from other organizations said they viewed Kenney as an interfering, credit-seeking suit with little baseball acumen and an impediment to landing a top general manager. Despite chairman Tom Ricketts’ vow that Kenney operates independent of baseball operations — and that Kenney wouldn’t be involved in selecting the new GM — a Cubs source said Kenney remains involved in the process. Ricketts recently lauded Kenney’s efforts in that process to members of the organization, the source said."

imo, it's highly likely theo will be president and kenney reassigned to do the "president stuff" that theo has no business dealing with. it's not uncommon in the game. Somebody may have already posted this (if so, apologies) but it really sums up how I think/feel about this move. Gist: Cub-world has been burned too often the last 8 yrs (or so, tee hee) by getting the 'big name'. That said, if the man can capture lightning twice, we'll build him a bronze statue... #jadedevenforTheo

Their drunks were better than ours in 2003

Aramis speaks out regarding his multiyear beisbol contract manifestado...

ESPN sports center video interview of Bruce Levine waxing about GM packages, Quade, Sandberg, Fielder/Pujols, starting pitching after Garza & Dempster.

And to follow up on my serious of questions about "When do you think..." When do you think Bruce Levine's body was no longer able to supply his brain with oxygen? I am going with January of 1999. Totally arbitrary, but that dovetails nicely with the question.

old video with Alyssa Milano interviewing Theo on TBS Hot Corner.

I have a question--in reading many Boston-related baseball posts since the regular season ended, they sure seem to have some hate on for Jon Lester. Why? Unless I'm missing something, he makes just $6MM/year and his stats have been nearly identical for 4 straight seasons now. 15-ish wins, 180-190 IP, 8-9 K/9, ERA low to mid 3's, WHIP 1.2-1.3, lefty, in baseball's toughest division. What gives? I'd take him for a #2 or #3 slot in the Cubs rotation in a heartbeat.

I'd have to think that Lester would give Garza some damn stiff competition for staff #1.

pretty much... for those that forget (like me), Lester lost both games he pitched against Garza in the 2008 ALCS. he's not Tim Lincecum, Halladay ace material, but he'd be the #1 on a lot of teams.

A little familiarity breeds contempt, and a little he needs to make 34 starts, throw 230 innings and finish top 3 in Cy voting 'cause he's a fuckin' Red Sawk, ain't he?

Good. We'll take all three of them too.

Just because we can... What's the over/under on how long it'll take Cubdom to start calling for Theo's head? I put it at two years... If the Cubs aren't playing in Oct 2013, people will be on this very blog making donut jokes, and using the phrase "At least Hendry ______". Just sayin.

And those people would be idiots. This will take 3-4 years min.

What leverage do the Red Sox have at this point? ZERO - the Cubs should offer $24K in compensation. If the Red Sox ask for too much, the Cubs should just wait a year to get him. Are the Red Sox going to take Epstein back and pay him $6M ($3.5M balloon payment, plus $2.5M salary) for one year when he doesn't want to be there and has stated he's leaving? Why would they want him making their decisions for the future? The only compensation they'll get is something for appearances sake so MLB is happy.

Koyie Hill will make Boston's pitchers drink better.

I would think Hill would be ample compensation, but if the Bosox play hardball I would include DeWitt and Baker, too.


Perhaps the compensation is not so much for releasing Epstein from his current contract as it is for allowing him to take along with him a key lieutenant or two who would be a big help to him in his new job in Chicago.

I'm sure Theo can find a gorilla suit in Chicago too.

Recent comments

Subscribe to Recent comments
The first 600 characters of the last 16 comments, click "View" to see rest of comment.
  • crunch 8 hours 1 min ago (view)

    semi-interesting winter league note...

    trey mcnutt (yes, that guy) is having a hell of a winter league in mexico (one of the less talented winter leagues) so far as a closer.  15.2ip 8h 4bb 24k, 0.57 era.

    giants signed him to a minor league deal a couple weeks ago.  he never went anywhere.  he's been consistently playing ball in the minors and indie league ball since he was last a noteworthy player.  last season he played in the OAK minor league system.  30 years old now...


  • jdrnym 14 hours 57 min ago (view)

    Brad Brach signs with the Mets for $850K but the Cubs are paying $500K, per Ken Rosenthal. Wasn't his 2020 club only supposed to be on the hook for league minimum?


  • crunch 15 hours 34 min ago (view)

    when he got to the mets he suddenly learned how to throw with control (small sample size etc).  last year was not a fun bullpen year...


  • crunch 17 hours 51 min ago (view)

    Yeah, I've made myself familiar with a lot of the changes, but AZP's posts have both added more information and cleared up stuff I didn't fully grasp.  I appreciate the hell out of it.  Thanks Phil, thanks TCR.


  • bradsbeard 19 hours 33 min ago (view)

    Looks like Savant has his breaking pitch classified as a curve while Fangraphs calls it a slider. Suppose by ST he could have made everything over in the pitching lab, so who knows!


  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 50 min ago (view)

    Again, none of these rules (including the one that requires a pitcher to face a minimum of three batters or else record the final out of the inning) have been officially approved.  

    I think one possible caveat that might be added to the three-batter minimum rule would be that the pitcher can be replaced prior to facing three batters or recording the final out of the inning if the other team puts up a pinch-hitter. 


  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 54 min ago (view)

    Ptchers would also be treated differently under the new rules as far as the Injured list and Optional Assignment to the minors is concerned, with pitchers having to spend at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on the Injured List before being eligible to be reinstated and at least 15 days (up from 10 days) on Optional Assignment before being eligible to be recalled (inless the pitcher is being recalled to replace a pitcher on the 26-man roster who has been placed on an MLB inactive list).  


  • Arizona Phil 19 hours 54 min ago (view)

    SONICWIND: As the rule is proposed, prior to the start of each MLB regular season a club must designate all players on its Opening Day 26-man roster as either a "pitcher" or a "position player." A maximum of 13 can be designated as pitchers (14 pitchers max when rosters expand from 26 to 28 beginning on 9/1). 

    For players who come up during the season, the club must designate the player as either a pitcher or a position player when the player is placed on the MLB active list roster. 


  • Arizona Phil 20 hours 7 min ago (view)

    BRADSBEARD: Fangraphs shows the CT as his primary pitch in 2018 with the SL & FB (and an occasional CH) as his secondary pitches, with no CV at all. I guess I'll find out for sure in Spring Training. 


  • Sonicwind75 21 hours 23 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, thank you as always for the detailed information.  How is the "cannot be a pitcher" part of the rule to be enforced?  With a few two way players and the increasing amount of mop up innings being handled by position players it seems like there could be a gray area there.  What is preventing a team from stashing an athletic relief pitcher as a "5th outfielder" that could be a pinch runner and play a passable OF when needed but could also provide them with extra relief pitcher.  Anytime I hear of a new rule I always think of how Bill Billichek would circumvent it t


  • bradsbeard 21 hours 23 min ago (view)

    AZ Phil, looking around Baseball Savant, it looks like Winkler now primarily throws a low 90s cutter, a 4-seamer that he throws a little harder (but is less effective), a curve and a sinker. The slider and change haven't been a major part of his repertoir the last two years. The cutter has been really effective the last two years but it looks like he lost command/effectiveness of his 4-seemer and curve last year For whatever reason  


  • bradsbeard 1 day 43 min ago (view)

    They just signed this guy:


  • Hagsag 1 day 2 hours ago (view)

    There seems to be a lot of player movement so far. Too bad the Cubs aren't involved.


  • Arizona Phil 1 day 17 hours ago (view)

    Beginning in 2019, a club must wait a minimum of seven days before it can place a player who was claimed off Outtright Assignment Waivers during the off-season back onto waivers, so because he was claimed off waivers on Wednesday 11/27, yesterday (Wednesday 12/4) was the first day the Cubs could place LHRP C. D. Pelham back onto Outright Assignment Waivers, and so tomorrow (Friday 12/6) is the first day the Cubs can send Pelham outright to the minors (if he was placed back onto waivers yesterday).


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    A Competitive Balance draft slot can be traded only during a period of time starting on December 2nd and extending up until two hours prior to the MLB First-Year Player Draft (MLB Rule 4 Draft), so don't be surpised if these draft picks are traded during the off-season.

    Keep in mind that the slot cannot be traded for cash unless it is a financial adjustment made to offset the salary of one or more of the players involved in the trade.


  • Arizona Phil 2 days 14 hours ago (view)

    The active list roster limit changes scheduled to go in effect in 2020 have not yet been officially approved. Same goes for the three-batter minimum (or else record the third out in the inning) for relief pitchers.