Cubs Agree To Deal With Theo Epstein

11:56am: There's some discussion as to whether the Red Sox will obtain minor leaguers or cash from the Cubs, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). It appears that the Red Sox prefer cash.

10:00am: The Cubs' overall payout to Epstein will be closer to $20MM than $15MM, because they're responsible for paying a $3.5MM conclusion bonus that he had negotiated into his contract with the Red Sox, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney. MLB has monitored the Cubs' negotiations with Epstein, since there's concern that his deal will change the market for general managers. Epstein's salary will be similar to the one the Red Sox paid him, Olney notes (on Twitter). He was the Cubs' first choice and has met with them twice.

8:13am: Theo Epstein has agreed on a five-year deal worth more than $15MM with the Cubs, according to WEEI's John Dennis. The deal could be finalized this week, once the teams work out compensation and the Cubs decide on a title for the longtime Red Sox GM.

The Cubs were "on the cusp" of a deal with Epstein last night, but Boston's ownership still appeared interested in retaining Epstein. However, Jon Heyman of SI.com hears that Red Sox owner John Henry isn't the type to "chase" if he knows someone wants to leave (Twitter link).

The Cubs won't surrender Major League players or take on bad contracts in the deal, but they may send prospects and/or cash to the Red Sox. It appears that Epstein will need Boston's approval to bring employees with him.

Ben Cherington, Epstein's current assistant GM and likely replacement, spoke to MLBTR for our GM Candidates seriesAlex Speier of WEEI.com chronicles Cherington's rise through Boston's organization.


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240 Comments on "Cubs Agree To Deal With Theo Epstein"


CooperMurray16
3 years 10 months ago

YES!!!!!!!!

Casor_Greener
3 years 10 months ago

If he brings a title to Chicago, he will go down as the greatest to ever do it.

The greatest Executive in Sports history

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Now that may be a bit of hyperbole, but there is no denying that he would be an all-time legend if he adds the end of the Cubs streak to his resume as well.

Casor_Greener
3 years 10 months ago

Dude, ending the Red Sox and the Cubs streaks? No one can match that feat…

I don’t care for either team and normally I don’t think winning when one has access to some of the greatest number of resources is that big of a deal, but to do it twice with star crossed franchises is pretty undeniable.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Imagine if he does it with the Cubs and then goes to Cleveland?

Casor_Greener
3 years 10 months ago

LMAO, now that would be something….

nycub
3 years 10 months ago

And signs Charlie Sheen as pitcher. Winning!

mikecarlucci
3 years 10 months ago

Actually signing any good player out of a prison league would be impressive enough.

ellisburks
3 years 10 months ago

Look up Ron LeFlore.

ironnat
3 years 10 months ago

Bringing a title to the Chicago Cubs? – the only competition was over a hundred years ago – good chance he’ll be the greatest.

Infield Fly
3 years 10 months ago

You gotta love a guy who is willing to take on another “impossible” challenge (although in reality he’s already got quite a legacy and does not have much to lose).

I like it!

Dave_Gershman
3 years 10 months ago

Cubs fans are happy because they’re finally winning something in October

MaineSox
3 years 10 months ago

Oh snap!

PWNdroia
3 years 10 months ago

Amazing how the Red Sox’s offseason changed so fast…

ejr
3 years 10 months ago

totally. I’d love to get in a time machine to go back to August 30th and just TRY to convince someone that by October 12th Theo & Francona would be gone and the playoffs included the Rays not the Sox. 

It would be easier to bring a dinosaur to the future and teach it to play piano on that giant keyboard at FAO Schwartz.

3 years 10 months ago

Depends on how big the dinosaur’s feet are I would imagine.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 10 months ago

John Hammond brought you the dinosaur, so the rest should be easy.

Rabbitov
3 years 10 months ago

Changed from what? 

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

…and how quickly Theology has gained in popularity in Chicago. 

3 years 10 months ago

Changed about as fast as that collapse….

3 years 10 months ago

HUZZAH!!

soxfan0928
3 years 10 months ago

The only reason Henry and Co. let Theo walk was because of how highly they regard Cherington. 

gunsnascar
3 years 10 months ago

what now guy

I have 1 thing to say ……………………………………………. I told ya so!

johnsilver
3 years 10 months ago

Don’t forget the GM factory they have already produced the last few seasons, not to mention Epstein himself was a protege of Kevin Towers himself. Must be the style.

Just wish they could have forced lackey onto the Cubs, yet another Cubs tye contract, or made them swap lackey for Garza…

YanksFanSince78
3 years 10 months ago

Or how much they really don’t want to keep someone who doesn’t want to stay.

I said it yesterday but it befuddles me how ppl who don’t want Theo want Cherington when he clearly learned from Theo and was groomed by him.

3 years 10 months ago

go cubs

iamsynecdoche
3 years 10 months ago

Wow, what a shift between last offseason and this one, especially considering the team still won 90 games. Crazy what a difference one bad month can make. 

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

I am absolutely stunned by the implosion.  First the team, now management.  Two months ago the toast of the town. Now…

What an ugly end to one of the best regimes this team has seen.  Good luck Theo.  

Glove Affair
3 years 10 months ago

True, except that it is quite possible that there was much more going on behind the scenes all along and we just didn’t get to see it until the Sox hit the fan.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Oh, I agree.  I also think this sort of stuff has been going on for some time.  If you really think about it, it’s got to go back to the Carl Everett days, at least.  Then Manny.  Why should this current batch surprise us?  Just keeping the tradition of having clubhouse sh*theads alive.  This group just managed to bring a little more panache to it and extended the damage a bit further.

philpbarnes
3 years 10 months ago

Damn. Well with Tito gone, and now Theo gone too, lets just go into full rebuild mode. Sod it. Build around Pedroia, Ellsbury and Gonzo. 

Congrats to the Cubbies. If there is ever a guy who can break your curse, this is him. Imagine if he becomes the man who helps break both the Sox and the Cubs drought? Wow. 

BoSoxSam
3 years 10 months ago

Really? Rebuild one of the best lineups in baseball??

And how exactly do you even do that? You plan on TRADING Crawford, at his lowest value and with that contract? Ha.

The lineup is too good to just implode things. And trying to build around those guys would be nice, IF they had the farm system the Rays had and knew a bunch of kids would be ready in a year or two, but they just don’t. They have an average system, and trying to rebuild like that will take more than 2-3 years.

All Boston needs to do right now is find their new hires, get a manager who can drill some discipline into this crew, make minor tweaks offensively and overhaul the rotation. Make Kalish and Reddick duke it out for right field (maybe even have them be a R/L platoon!), keep Mike Aviles for utility, drop Varitek to give Lavarnway the 1/3 playing time that V-Tek got this year, pick up Scutaro’s option, and maybe bring in some bench depth. Then for the rotation, Beckett, Lester and Buchholz are all relatively solid, assuming they stay healthy. The trick will be seeing either how they can minimize the damage Lackey will bring with him, or seeing if ANYONE would risk trading for him. Either way, I think they’re gonna stretch Aceves out in ST to give him a shot at winning that 5th spot, and then they either go all-out for Wilson or (gasp) Sabathia, or they try and find a more reasonable 4th starter option. Even if Lackey stays, that way he’s regulated to spot starter duty until he can prove he can pitch better than that, at which point they can put Aceves back in the bullpen.

LF: Crawford
CF: Ellsbury
RF: Kalish/Reddick
3B: Youkilis
SS: Scutaro
2B: Pedroia
1B: Gonzalez
C: Saltalamacchia/Lavarnway (well that’s a mouthful)
U: Aviles

1. Lester
2. Beckett (or Sabathia/Wilson if they go all-in)
3. Buchholz
4. maybe resign Bedard
5. Aceves/Miller (oh god)/Tazawa/Doubront

Bullpen:
Papelbon (gotta resign him)
Bard
Jenks
and then cobble something together with in-house and FA options. Not too worried about creating a new bullpen every year, that’s usually the safest option anyway.

Phillies_Aces35
3 years 10 months ago

You could trade Youk and bring up Middlebrooks… that’s one way… but the best option is probably just to put Youk at DH and let him swap out at 1st/3rd. Or you could put that kid Lavarnway (?) at DH when he’s not catching.

I agree, no real reason to dump the line up.

soxfan0928
3 years 10 months ago

Yeah I don’t understand the whole “Rebuild” concept.  I don’t know of a single team in baseball who wouldn’t take the Red Sox lineup right now, so why blow it up completely?

What they do need to do, though, is trade Ellsbury while his stock is so high, especially because it’s now come out that he only has one guy in the clubhouse (Lowrie) that he feels he can get along with and trust. Hello, Red Flag. Ellsbury will almost certainly be gone when he hits FA, so why not get as much back as you can for the guy?

Use him in a 3-team trade for Felix. Use him in a deal with the Angels for a guy like Dan Haren (Both Haren and Ellsbury have contracts through 2013, so neither would be a “rental”). Go sign a guy like David DeJesus (high OBP guy) to be your leadoff hitter if you don’t want to use Crawford in that aspect.

There are an abundance of options to replace Ellsbury, but selling high on him now and getting an elite SP in return (even if it means tacking on prospects to the deal, which it will) is the way to go.

philpbarnes
3 years 10 months ago

Sorry I was being (mostly) sarcastic. 

It is clear though that Youk is going to have to DH in the near future, so really there’s only one spot for him and Papi. They could trade Youk for some pitching, because lets face it, they need a 3/4 starter to bolster the rotation. I like the idea of getting Matt Garza. If they have the belief that Middlebrooks could contribute after maybe a year in Pawtucket, then they’d need to then find a stop gap 3B. 

The farm system is fine. The reason it looks weak at the top end is a result of the success in the last couple of years of prospects graduating and now being in the bigs, and the fact that the strength of the system is in the low minors. 

Kayrall
3 years 10 months ago

The Cubs need starting pitching almost as badly as the BoSox do.  I do not see a You for Garza trade working out…

mmontice
3 years 10 months ago

Very true, however, unless the Cubs sign him to an extension, he could be long gone by the time the Cubs are ready to compete again.

The train of thought of those who want to trade him is get a few high end prospects that will be ready to roll in the 2014 season.

redsox927
3 years 10 months ago

well i don’t see how you can have a “L/R platoon” when both players are lefty hitters.

That being said, I don’t think either of them are going to get the chance to be everyday players b/c they are lefty hitters in a lefty heavy lineup.  What the sox need to do is find a right handed hitting full time RF. i don’t know who, and i don’t know how; but Kalish and/or Reddick aren’t your answers there.

BoSoxSam
3 years 10 months ago

Whoops, my bad. Had it in my head that Kalish was right-handed for some reason.

I still think Kalish/Reddick get to duke it out for RF. Boston proved this year they needn’t be too concerned about the left-heavy lineup; players like Ells, Ortiz and Gonzo had great numbers against lefties, and we beat up on the big guys we were supposed to lose to, CC for example. Again, any lineup flaws seem to be minor ones right now, and personally I’d be uncomfortable to trade away one of those two kids unless they got a -great- return, and it would make little sense to stick them in AAA indefinitely. Kalish can’t go anywhere with his stock being pretty low, but maybe someone will bite for Reddick. But unless Boston can get some solid pitching out of it, I would prefer to see them stay and both get chances to prove themselves in the big leagues.

Rabbitov
3 years 10 months ago

Either sarcastic or the basic reason why the Sox fan base is not well respected. 

bringbackandruw
3 years 10 months ago

your trolling abilities are amazing

Rabbitov
3 years 10 months ago

Keep coming at me bud.  I stated my opinion he stated his.  If you can’t talk openly about sports then where can you? 

This is an area for fans to talk sports, not to sit around and practice their manners.  If you don’t like it, go back to your One Tree Hill message board and leave me alone. 

EDIT: Also let me add that I respect a ton of Sox fans on these boards. Its section that gets the bad reputation, hurting the reputation of the fan base as a whole.

bringbackandruw
3 years 10 months ago

Gee thanks for pointing out “This is an area for fans to talk sports” i could have sworn this was a seminar on Women Revolutionaries in 19th Century Russia.  I’d go on but its entirely too late for this. Ill leave you to troll on my friend. 

Ben_Cherington
3 years 10 months ago

think anyone will believe my real name is theo?

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Why are you holding out on us- we know it’s you.  Dish all the dirt now.

3 years 10 months ago

Looks like John Dennis got Theo’s 1040 a year early.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

I think you meant W-2

ellisburks
3 years 10 months ago

I think he meant WD-40.

mgnyc11
3 years 10 months ago

One of the reasons that professional sports is so incredible.  Think about if the Redsox had one more win this season, would any of this had happened?  1 win, a .6172% difference could have created a completely different history for 2 people.  Unfortunately though, last I checked Theo does not have incredible magic powers so even he wont be able to break the 100 years of complete loser history of the SCRUBS!

BoSoxSam
3 years 10 months ago

Theo would likely still leave, because the Cubs would still offer him the contract, and John Henry would still not force Theo to stay if he didn’t want to. Francona might not have left, though.

Lunchbox45
3 years 10 months ago

not necessarily, the cubs need a GM pretty soon and if the sox were still in the playoffs they wouldn’t have been able to talk to eps.

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

I figure if the Cubs were so enamoured in Epstein that they were willing to give him five years out of the gate and potentially give up compensation for him, they probably would’ve been willing to wait a few weeks.

Lunchbox45
3 years 10 months ago

and begin the offseason with no Gm?

perhaps i guess, however they might not have thought he was available had the team he put together made the playoffs and got to the world series

bmoneyy20
3 years 10 months ago

they played the entire season w/o a gm, manager, or pitching coach

Lunchbox45
3 years 10 months ago

lol

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

Agreed with Sam. This one looks like it was apparently an innevitability. Tito leaving would almost certainly not have happened, but the Cubs would’ve offered this opportunity regardless of the Sox’ collapse. It’s an outside shot that Epstein may not have been interested had the Sox made the playoffs, but it probably would’ve still happened, just a bit later.

johnsilver
3 years 10 months ago

I get the hint that there is/was still power play going on now with the change between Epstein and Luccino. Guess it really never did go away after all.

Gumby65
3 years 10 months ago

…and Ned Colletti weeps.

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

Considering the proposed likelihood of this scenario occuring, I’m now going to start operating under the delusion that Luchhino gets pushed out, Cherrington takes his place and we end up luring AA or Friedman away.

A guy can dream, right? I mean, this absolute nightmare I seem to be stuck in can’t go on forever.

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

Heh, I’m with you in dreamland. I’d love to see what Friedman can do with a larger budget. But realistically my guess is they’ll name Cherrington as GM pretty quickly, probably before the end of the World Series.

BoSoxSam
3 years 10 months ago

A nightmare? While I agree that sounds amazing, the current likelihood of Cherington becoming GM doesn’t sound -bad-. Things generally have still been going pretty well, no need to go into panic mode. 😛

0bsessions
3 years 10 months ago

Until the boat stops rocking, I’m calling it a nightmare. I’m a big fan of both Epstein and Francona. It’s hard to call the last month and a half anything but an unmitigated disaster as a Sox fan.

I’m willing to give Cherrington a chance if he’s made full time GM, but this is an absolute disaster so far. A lot of it also depends on who Epstein manages to bring with him. If anyone from his player development team goes with him, we’re boned.

BoSoxSam
3 years 10 months ago

I see what you mean by nightmare; I just mean there is still a lot of positive stuff to work with, and once we get our new GM/manager, I’ll be excited to see what happens this year, because it really shouldn’t take too much to go from a 90 win season this year to a 95-100 win season in 2012. And I’m a huge Francona/Epstein fan too. That’s part of why I’d be very excited to see Cherington take over, as he’d be the most likely candidate to continue Epstein’s managing style, and probably have the best chance at retaining most of the front office staff. I’m just worried that if we brought someone new in for that job that maybe Cherington would start looking towards maybe the Orioles open position, and we might end up losing both of them. Plus, with someone new, Epstein may have better luck coaxing other parts of the staff away, as the new GM won’t have a rapport with them yet.

However, if the new GM is somehow AA or Friedman, I take all that back. Let them do whatever. But generally, I’m not too concerned with Cherington taking over; it would make me nervous if they were clear on -not- giving him the job, because then I would be unsatisfied unless they made a huge move like getting Friedman.

I’m more concerned about the manager position, simply because of these reports coming out of players not taking good care of themselves, not getting along, etc. I would love to see a Kirk Gibson kind of character take the job, and go Drill Sergeant on the players for a while. Either that or someone like Dave Martinez, who can bring a lot of excitement and unconventional thinking thanks to working with Maddon.

Basically, while I see there is a lot of cause for concern after losing Epstein and Francona, I think there is a lot of exciting possibility here. We just gotta wait and see who gets these two jobs first, though.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

Like a few others here, I’m just amazed at how fast it went sour.  Two months ago one was left wondering how long they’re going to lock them both up, even if they fell eventually short of a 3rd title.  The speed at which the unfathomable has happened is astounding. 

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

Oh well.

Good luck Theo. Thanks for your hand in 2 World Series titles and everything else. Good luck in bringing a title to Cubs and becoming a legend.

studio179
3 years 10 months ago

Well done. Thank was a class statement. Some Sox fans are trashing Theo. I suspect more because he is leaving, not because they really dislike his hand in the titles. Although, every GM has people who dislike them and Theo is no different. 

The Sox completely blew it this year, but they are in good hands to return. Theo leaving is not a dismantle of the organization by no means. My Cubs are in a sorry state and Epstein has work to do. The Red Sox will bounce back and contend, no problem. 

start_wearing_purple
start_wearing_purple
3 years 10 months ago

I still go back to the argument that without him the Sox would probably still be waiting for a World Series win. The organization flourished under the leadership of both Theo and Tito and while it’s sad to see them go I’d much rather remember them both as what I have seen them as for years, as great Red Sox leaders who will hopefully be one day enshrined in the Red Sox HOF.

The fact is both are leaving on their own terms and accomplished a great deal.

3 years 10 months ago

oh god

Kayrall
3 years 10 months ago

Not the GM I was looking for, but 2 titles in 9 years with Red Sox is enough to sell me.  I just don’t want the “Red Sox” name attached and linked to every free agent signing and trade he makes.

NorthSideIrish
3 years 10 months ago

So how do you think Mike Quade’s morning is going?

Still curious to see if Theo hires a GM too or if he’s filling both roles. 

studio179
3 years 10 months ago

My guess is Quade woke up still trying to get Hill and Grabow in the game today, even though the season is long over.

Seriously, he knew his fate the day it was announced Hendry was gone. Quade will get paid next year regardless. One year with him at the helm seemed like seven or more. Like many, I just could not take another year of it.

Encarnacion's Parrot
3 years 10 months ago

And the rest of the AL East GM’s hold hands singing Kumbaya.

bobskube
3 years 10 months ago

The Cubs gained so much just by firing Hendry.  I don’t think Theo’s all that great.  Certainly a good GM, but vastly overrated IMO. 

A good hire to be sure, but it’ll be overblown.

bobbybaseball
3 years 10 months ago

What he brings is an organizational philosophy that includes valuing advanced metrics, something that Hendry disdained. And he understands the need to have a philosophy that permeates throughout the entire org. Hendry wanted to win, but he flew by the seat of his pants far too often and didn’t have a plan.

gradylittle
3 years 10 months ago

Since when does John Dennis report things? Anyway, good for Theo. If I were him I’d get the hell out of this city as well. Things are a mess, and I don’t mean that in a talent stand point, I mean about the article that just came out. Beckett, Lester, Lackey in the clubhouse drinking beer and eating chicken during a game. It’s amazing. Good for Theo, I’m gutted to see him leave but I don’t blame him.

woadude
3 years 10 months ago

Can we put that whole thing to rest? Who here does NOT drink beer? Forgot the 04 season already when they were taking shots of Jack Daniels to keep warm? They are grown men, let them drink a few beers, who are you their mothers?

gradylittle
3 years 10 months ago

They’re athletes who get paid dollars that you and I can only dream of. The least they can do is not drink during a damn game. What they do afterwards I can careless. I just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Rabbitov
3 years 10 months ago

Sox fans already in panic mode.  I am wondering how bad the fan-base will really get. 

gradylittle
3 years 10 months ago

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

GoAwayNow
3 years 10 months ago

What’s with all the hate dude? Chill.

East Coast Bias
3 years 10 months ago

Ha! You call that hate? You should hear him talk about the Yanks, which he hates just as much as the Sox. He’s an Orioles fan.

GoAwayNow
3 years 10 months ago

I was referring to the hate in general. Never anything positive from the russian bunny.

chico65
3 years 10 months ago

His spirits should be lifted soon.  I heard Smirnoff is coming out with a carrot-flavored vodka.

Rabbitov
3 years 10 months ago

Its not hate.  I think the Red Sox fan base is panicking. You chose this, out of every comment I’ve ever made to comment on?  

Rabbitov
3 years 10 months ago

Hey man, nice sweater!

studio179
3 years 10 months ago

Then he should be happy Dandy Andy stepped down.

gradylittle
3 years 10 months ago

If I was an Orioles fan I’d be pissed too.

Rabbitov
3 years 10 months ago

No, you are off on this.  I hate the Yankees far more than the Red Sox. 

MaineSox
3 years 10 months ago

I didn’t want to see Theo go, far from it actually, but I don’t feel panic at all.  Actually it’s kind of liberating, in a “I just lost my job and have no idea how it’s going to turn out” kind of way.  I’m still upset about Theo and Tito going (and the way it all happened), but I’m excited to see what the next chapter brings.