Cubs Notes: Epstein, Byrnes, Pena

The Cubs and Red Sox are now discussing compensation for GM Theo Epstein. Here are the latest Cubs-related notes as we await an official announcement about the leadership change…

  • There’s a “good chance” that Epstein hires Padres executive Josh Byrnes to work with him in Chicago, according to Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres (on Twitter). Byrnes, the D’Backs’ former GM, worked with Epstein in Boston.
  • Carlos Pena told the Chicago Sun-Times that he's excited to see what the Cubs can do under Epstein. Pena, a free agent after the season, hinted that Epstein's presence makes Chicago an even more desirable place to play.
  • Bradley Woodrum of loves the Epstein hire for the Cubs, but wouldn't trade prospect Brett Jackson for the rights to the new GM.
  • Check out Tim Dierkes' preview of the Cubs' offseason.

64 Responses to Cubs Notes: Epstein, Byrnes, Pena Leave a Reply

  1. Please, please finalize this soon.  This is one press conference I’ll be thrilled to watch.

  2. Rick Garcia 4 years ago

    Since Epstein is the new GM does he get to decided who the Red Sox get as compensation?

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      that’s how it worked when beane was going to go to the red sox, but reportedly that is not how it’s working here. ownership on both sides seems to be doing the negotiating, albeit by proxy

      it had to have come up with theo and ricketts when they were discussing the whole thing, though. there’s no way he doesn’t have at least some influence here

  3. xcal1br 4 years ago

    Let the era of respectability begin. . .

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      seriously. a lot gets lost in the fray with all the yapping about the details, but if you were told last winter that by next offseason hendry would be gone and theo epstein would be your GM, how happy would you be?

      i’ll be rooting for the cubs turnaround

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        Me too and somewhere.. Harry Carey is gonna be in the bleachers.. Drunk off his rocker hollering this summer as well for his old team, knowing the Cubbie fans now have  chance at something down the road.

      • Philip Marlowe 4 years ago

        “Hendry would be gone and Theo Epstein would be your GM…”

        I have the weirdest boner right now.

        • start_wearing_purple
          start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

          And the award for creepiest poster on mlbtraderumors goes to…

      • DebaserTN 4 years ago

        Agreed…though it may be wise to temper the excitement a bit.  Let’s not forget all the other saviors who have preceded Theo. 

  4. Just call it a day give Jackson and a DSL prospect and move on. A prospect probably has a under 10% chance of making it in the show but Epstein will turn the Cubs around to a respectable franchise in a few months.

    • cubs223425 4 years ago

      When you’re talking at the start, maybe. However, we’re talking a guy who played really well in AAA and is the top prospect on the team, and possibly MLB-ready today.

      With Jackson, his odds of making the MLB roster at some point are 99%, and probably 90% for 2012.

  5. NorthSideIrish 4 years ago

    Not sure either side really has leverage here. Cubs fans will riot if this falls through over the compensation. But the Red Sox probably aren’t real eager to welcome Theo back as a lame duck GM and have to tell Cherington “Just kidding about the promotion”.

    I’d like to see the Cubs hold on to B. Jackson, Carpenter, Szczur, and McNutt (just in case). Maybe send Boston some combination of Jay Jackson, Cleavenger/Castillo, and Lake. But the sad truth is, the Cubs don’t have many prospects who would help the Red Sox in the next few years.

    • 0bsessions 4 years ago

      “But the Red Sox probably aren’t real eager to welcome Theo back as a lame duck GM and have to tell Cherington “Just kidding about the promotion”.”

      I don’t expect that’d happen. In all likelihood, they’d likely shuffle Epstein off to somoe other position and stick with Cherrington. Epstein’s already on record that he planned on leaving next year anyway and if they were willing to eat the contracts of Rentawreck, Lugo, Smoltz and Penny (And Lackey in all likelihood), they’re probably fine with eating $4 million on Epstein.

      • johnsilver 4 years ago

        Cub fans are acting like this guy Jackson is an overpay. Take a look at what the Pirates paid for example for a field manager (Chuck Tanner) at the top of his game in 1977 to Oakland and Charlie “O” as compensation.. Manny Sanguillen, one of the best defensive catchers to grace the field that i have ever seen and multiple time AS performer as well.

        Pirates wanted Tanner, O’Finley named the price and the Pirates paid it. Cubs are no different with a GM, who is at least as important as a field manager, as well as one of the top ones in the game.

        No reason to settle on cheap. let Epstein do nothing for a year and the Cubs find someone else for at least a year if they want to play this game.


        Even stick some coal(lackey’s contract) into the mix. Give them like 3 days to make up their mind on a player Boston wants and after that? they take lackey PERIOD or no deal.

        • jb226 4 years ago

          You know, I was of the mind that nobody had any particular leverage in this because neither side can afford to let it fail, but I’ve changed my mind after reading these two ridiculous posts from two of the biggest voices arguing the Red Sox have it.

          Apparently instead of getting something, whatever that may be, and saving $7MM on Epstein’s salary and bonus, Red Sox fans would rather get nothing, stick Theo Epstein in a broom closet for a year while his job goes to Cherington and pay him $7MM for the privilege of hurting the Cubs.  The phrase “cutting off your nose to spite your face” comes instantly to mind, because this is some of the most idiotic stuff I have seen written on this site — and we have some doozies from a lot of posters. I guess this is the difference between being a professional and being an armchair executive.

          If this is the best that Sox fans can come up with, I’ve changed my mind.  The leverage obviously belongs to the Cubs.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            Ridiculous sentiments.  We have no problem shelving Theo if we don’t get serious compensation.  In case you haven’t noticed, we have needs within our organization and we happen to have the guy the Cubs want.  He’s nothing more than an asset, and we rightly expect to get paid handsomely for handing him over.  Your side is being entirely unrealistic in terms of what you’re willing to offer.  I can see us walking away from the table.  It is NOTHING to us to eat a contract under $10MM.  We don’t have to let Theo go and we won’t, short of receiving serious compensation; significantly more than the ChiSox got for Guillen.

    • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

      Actually, we have no problem sending Theo on special assignment for a year.  He can comb the isthmus of Central America for talent for a year, while we make Cherington the “acting GM.”  We are going to be demanding something on the order of Jackson, McNutt and Carpenter.  The Cubs better prepare to part with “serious” top prospects, or there’s not gonna be a deal here.  Theo is your perfect candidate in so many ways.  But if you want him this year, there’s going to be a heavy, heavy cost.  Just be thankful we aren’t demanding Starlin Castro, or demanding that you take John Lackey and his abysmal contract.

      • $17857693 4 years ago

        Are you on crack? we’ll be lucky if we get B-Jax

        • Philip Marlowe 4 years ago

          He is on crack. 

          My 2 cents – I’d rather take Lackey and let the BoSox pay part of his salary than give anything up. He’s a wreck in Beantown – maybe a change of scenery would do him good. If it doesn’t, well, crap pitching is nothing we haven’t dealt with before.

          • 0bsessions 4 years ago


          • $17857693 4 years ago

            The only thing is that the cubs are already trying to get rid of big contracts.. I believe Lackey would do better in CHC because it’s not like the spotlight in Boston, but the sox would only pay about 18-20million of the contract, leaving the Cubs with about 11 mil a year on a guy that will post a losing record and an era north of 4.50, the cubs want to leave as much $$$ open for epstein as possible.

          • soxfan0928 4 years ago

            Why do people keep forgetting that Theo is still the Red Sox GM? 

            The Sox have ALL the leverage here. If the Cubs don’t want to pay for Theo via Brett Jackson, or another top-level prospect, fine, you don’t get Theo. No big deal, Theo comes back to Boston.

            You all act like Theo has never left before….

          • $17857693 4 years ago

            Yes, but when he left the first time, it was a lateral move, not a promotion

          • soxfan0928 4 years ago

            When he left the first time, it was over a contract dispute and he quit. It wasn’t a lateral move at all. He was just giving himself leverage. 

            And when he quit, they promoted Hoyer to be acting GM. They didn’t have a problem demoting Hoyer back to Assistant GM and reinserting Theo as GM at all. Which is why the Sox have the leverage. They still own one of the best GM’s in baseball, and if the Cubs want him, they aren’t going to get him for some mid-ceiling, low level pitcher and a bag of balls like most Cubs hope.

            If Theo was the Cubs GM and the Sox were looking to hire him out from under the Cubs ownership, all these fans would be demanding someone like Will Middlebrooks or  a top prospect. 

            I would give up WMB for Andrew Friedman, Billy Beane, etc in an instant. A MiLB player is no guarantee by any means. Andrew Miller was as sure of a thing as you could ask for, and look at him now. GM’s, on the other hand, provide much, much more stability and assurance with much less risk, especially when it’s going from big-market team to big-market team.

          • slider32 4 years ago

            Hello, Theo is  not coming back to Boston! Holy Cow, eat more chicken!

          • soxfan0928 4 years ago

            Ok. He will if the Cubs refuse to give the Red Sox a fair deal. Sorry pal.

          • Guest 4 years ago

            lol no

            hey i was traded to the cubs, no just kiddin!


          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            Ok, you take Lackey and his contract, plus we get McNutt, and that would work.

          • $17857693 4 years ago

            Stop embarressing yourself. you act like Theo is a god. Yes, he is a top 5 gm, but no gm is worth taking on Lackey’s contract…let alone getting one of their TOP prospects…

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            The market sets the price, not me.  I just have the good sense to recognize it and you obviously don’t.  I’m not embarrassing myself in the least.  I’m not passing Theo off as a G_d.  He’s an asset, a better asset than Guillen is.  We are entitled to far more compensation than the ChiSox got.  Stop being ignorant.

          • Your “good sense” to recognize the market price seems wildly out of proportion to what all other fans, reporters, columnists, and shadowy unnamed sources seem to report. It’s somewhere in between “Brett Jackson is too much to give up” and “Brett Jackson is a reasonable price.” Trey McNutt is not coming to the Red Sox, whether you put it in the first person plural or not.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            David Kaplan – @thekapman on Twitter – of CSN-Chicago, just confirmed what I’ve been saying all along.  Here’s his Twitter post:

            “Just spoke to a GREAT source on the Theo compensation talks. Red Sox are asking for an insane package of players. Cubs are saying no way.”

            The BoSox are not going to accept some dreggs here.  I fully believe they are prepared to walk away and spend the next year convincing Theo to return to the Boston front office.

        • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

          No dude, you’re on crack.  Guillen got the ChiSox 2 top 5 prospects.  Are you seriously arguing that Theo is worth less than him?  Ridiculous.  Put down the pipe.

          • $17857693 4 years ago

            Theo is worth more than Guillen. YES! but you forget the Marlins have been brain dead since 2003… Epstein is worth B-Jax IF we give him 2-3 guys to bring along with him without any restrictions.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            First of all, even transactions conducted by a brain-dead MLB team set a market price measurement.  Second, the Marlins package for Guillen was not out of line with other previous non-player swaps.  John has noted that the Pirates coughed up their starting catcher for a field manager, which is worth more than 2 top 5 prospects.  You are seriously undervaluing Theo.  If B-Jax were a potential star, then maybe he alone would match up here.  But that is no where near the case.  Starlin Castro, alone, would be enough, but since we are limited to prospects, and mostly dregg prospects at that (the Cubs having traded some of their best to get Garza), their top 3 prospects are barely worth what Theo is.

      • NorthSideIrish 4 years ago

        I doubt Epstein’s contract allows him to be reassigned or sent on special assignment. I think they pay him to be the GM or they pay him to go home and lose him without compensation. 

        And if the Sox aren’t going to let him bring any front office personnel with him, then they will get even less from the Cubs.

        • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

          Nice guess, but wrong.  Even if we let him out of the contract, we can lock him up with a non-compete for 2 years.  Either way, we have all the leverage and the price will be high.  Its time for the Cubs organization and fanbase to get real.  Guillen fetched 2 top 5 prospects.  Theo is worth more than him.

          • lol non-compete?  wrong. 

            First, non-competes must be signed by the employee at the time of employment (or in this case, in his contract).  There’s nothing you can do regarding a non-compete after the fact.

            Second, non-competes are intended to protect a companies intellectual property.  When companies try to use them in order to restrict competition or prevent an ex employee from making a living, they are almost always voided by the courts.

            What you describe is exactly that.  If this falls through, it would mean theo has to be GM or you release him from his contract.  It’s as simple as that.  Face it, the Red Sox have no leverage.  You’ll get a mid level prospect and some cash.  Top 3 prospects is a pipe dream.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            You are misstating Massachusetts law. A non-compete covenant can be signed at any time during the employment. The consideration for the non-compete, in favor of the employee, cannot be the promise of “continued employment” if it is signed at any time after the commencement of employment. That means that giving Theo at least $10 at the time he executes the non-compete does away with the mid-employment execution issue. The Sox can and likely would impose a valid non-compete upon Theo if they were forced to release him without adequate compensation from the Cubs.

            In addition, during the period of his existing contract, the Sox can
            withdraw their permission for any further contact between the Cubs and Theo, where the tampering rules would begin to apply once again.

            Non-competes, as opposed to non-disclosure/confidentiality covenants (to protect intellectual rights), are designed to protect an employer’s legitimate business interests, which are often termed as good will, business relationships and such, but not limited to those specific interests. The Sox would have no trouble showing that a non-compete, barring Theo from being GM of the Cubs, would protect their legitimate business interests. After all, they could demonstrate that they were entitled to compensation for releasing Theo and that the Cubs declined to offer reasonable compensation, which is worth millions of dollars to the club. They could show the agreement was intended to prevent the Cubs from being unjustly enriched at the expense of the club, which is a
            legitimate business interest.

            Massachusetts courts routinely uphold such agreements, though the term of the non-compete enforcement period varies from judge to judge and from industry to industry.

            The Sox have all the leverage here.

      • xcal1br 4 years ago

        Wow, just the kind of response that makes all Boston fans look like buffoons. If I were a Boston fan, I’d be embarrassed by this.  Jackson, McNutt AND Carpenter???  For a GM that doesn’t want to work for you anymore?  Talk about seriously overvaluing your assets.  Worst case scenario, Cubs promote someone to interim GM for a year and take Theo for nothing next year.  I want Theo NOW, but I’m a Cub fan, I’m patient by nature, lol.

        • soxfan0928 4 years ago

          Definitely isn’t “overvaluing” your assets. Overvaluing your assets is saying you’d rather have one player than a GM who will bring you an elite team that is a world series contender on an annual basis.

          When Theo was hired by the Red Sox, I believe Jorge De La Rosa was the Red Sox top prospect. He was 22 in his first stint in AAA ball. I would happily have traded JDLR for the teams that Theo has put together year in and year out.

          • roomwithamoose 4 years ago

            I’m not sayig anything bad about Theo, but he did take over a team that won 93 games, and was contending. Yes he made it better,but saying the cubs will become annual contenders is quite a stretch. It might take a couple of years, and yes I do think they improve drastically this year, but might need more time under him to become contenders. The flaw in your logic is your implying they become insta-contenders

          • soxfan0928 4 years ago

            I didn’t say it would start next year. But once his draft selections and trades start to come to fruition, the Cubs will be competing for the NL Central and WS every single year. 

        • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

          Promote your interim GM then.  Let’s see Ricketts do that.  Are you seriously arguing that Guillen is worth more than Theo is?  That’s ridiculous.  IF you want Theo, get serious about paying for him, or its not gonna happen.  And if the shoe was on the other foot, you Cubs fans would be doing and saying the same thing.  Hypocrite.

          • xcal1br 4 years ago

            Who mentioned Guillen?  That was a ridiculous situation in and of itself.  Anything Florida gave for Guillen was an overpayment.  Comparing Guillen and Epstein is asinine.  Guillen is not a good field manager.  Epstein is a great general manager.  See the difference?

            First of all, if we already had Epstein, we wouldn’t cut bait with the man just because he had one unfortunate season (which was beyond his control anyway).  Secondly, I don’t argue that the Sox should get SOMETHING of value for Epstein, but all three of our top three prospects?  Does that not sound ludicrous to you?  It should.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            I mentioned Guillen because, despite what you think, that deal set the market expectations for non-player swaps, and those are rightly OUR expectations, whether you like it or not.  You admit that Theo is worth far more than Guillen, so prepare to pay a substantially heavier price than the Marlins did for Ozzie.   You’re not pointing out to me something that wasn’t inherently recognized in my argument.  You, after all, asserted we were “overvaluing” Theo.  In light of the Guillen swap, that assertion is preposterous.  Your top 3 prospects sounds right in line with the proper compensation for Theo.

            We are not cutting ties with Theo.  He has come to us asking to be released.  I just heard John Henry (principal owner) on radio saying he tried to convince Theo to stay, and saying he wishes Theo would remain here for the next 20 years.

          • bbq1959 4 years ago

            you ain’t nuttin but a loser

          • stl_cards16 4 years ago

            You are going to be one sad dude.  I look forward to your apology for filling this thread with nonsense by early next week.

          • Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

            I don’t think I’ll be apologizing, since I haven’t been filling anything with nonsense, but congrats on making it to the World Series.

  6. nycub 4 years ago

    I’m glad you’re excited, Carlos. You’re not coming back.

    • Philip Marlowe 4 years ago

      I don’t necessarily think bringing Pena back is a bad idea. He’s patient, high-OBP, affordable, and only requires a one-year contract. I’ll take him over Prince or Pujols and their $200MM albatrosses any day. 

      • nycub 4 years ago

        Well, we are looking to rebuild this club. Spending big money on someone like Pujols or Fielder will build a Cubs team of the future. Spending 8-10M on Pena for a year is wasted as, it is likely, the Cubs aren’t going to make any sort of playoff run in 2012. If we aren’t going to pick up a big free agent contract in Pujols or Fielder, it is wiser to tap LaHair at 1B for a ridiculously low price. 

        • start_wearing_purple
          start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

          Well Theo will have money to play with right away so I suspect that he’ll go all in on Fielder but I wouldn’t expect much after that in this year. Cubs are still a few years away from being a true threat even if they add Fielder.

          • slider32 4 years ago

            Theo will get Fielder and trade for a top pitcher like Shields, they could offer Tampa Castro and sign Reyes.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          except that with a good performance he can bring back cheap young talent talent in a trade or a draft pick. cheap young talent is what a rebuilding club needs

          i understand the frustration with having money and not spending it since the price of your tickets surely won’t go down, but locking up a superstar just because you have money to burn will burn your team in the long run

  7.  Woodrum is putting one minor leaguer ahead of a top GM?  Crazy.

  8. johnsilver 4 years ago

    Nice pickup if he can get his buddy Byrnes back. Also might mean that Henry and Luccino are putting the brakes on him getting his hands on some people he wants in Boston?

    • $17857693 4 years ago

      The only thing he’ll get from Boston is maybe some of the medical staff, and other low profile guys, he won’t bring scouts or anything like that, unless something miraculous happens, the Red Sox get B-Jax or the Cubs take Lackey and pay most of his contract

  9. rockfordone 4 years ago

    Theo – will start to build the Cubs on the mound. That is where the game is played. Carlos will be like Tony Jr. (above) gone.

  10. “There’s a “good chance” that Epstein hires Padres executive Josh Byrnes to work with him in Chicago, according to Tom Krasovic”

    Interesting because of earlier comments made from CEO Jeff Moorad, saying he will not permit contracted personnel to talk to other teams regarding lateral moves.

  11. Bobby P 4 years ago

    I really hope we don’t resign Pena. Great guy, decent OBP guy. But he’s a Boras client and it wouldn’t be prudent if you were going to rebuild to sign this guy.

  12. bbq1959 4 years ago

    Steve in Ma since when in the hell do you own the Red Sox. If you do not own them you have no reason to act like you work in the front office.

  13. bbq1959 4 years ago

    Steve in Ma when did you start working in the front office of the Sox. Since when do you decide what the hell the Sox want.

  14. Steve_in_MA 4 years ago

    I’m relatively certain that if I look up your posting history, I will find that the “self-righteous” ronson has used the term “we” when talking about his favorite team.  I know that we want far more than the Cubs are willing to offer, and I know the talks are bogged down over the issue, so I do know that we (BoSox) are demanding multiple prospects as compensation.  Further, Lucchino has put out the statement that he is demanding “serious” compensation.  Do I know which players for sure are on the table, of course not, but I have a very good idea about who is being discussed, given the Cubs’ very limited resources.  And the end result is going to look a lot more like my suggestions than any of these one-prospect floats.  You may not like what I have to say, but I have a rational basis for saying it, so its not coming from out my a**.

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