NL Central Notes: La Russa, Furcal, Epstein

Here are a few items of note regarding the NL Central as the Redbirds threaten to take a 3-2 series lead over the Brew Crew in the NLCS …

  • Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is hinting at returning to manage St. Louis in 2012, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN). Prior to Game 5, TLR was excitedly discussing the talent the Cards have in place for next season, and he also mentioned recently that he will hold a charity event in January at the team's Winter Warmup, according to the report. La Russa and the Cards have a mutual option for 2012.
  • Cards shortstop Rafael Furcal reiterated that he'd like to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, according to Matthew Leach of Furcal, an impending free agent, and the Cardinals expressed mutual interest in working out a new deal last month, though nothing came to pass.
  • While the Cubs and Red Sox continue to haggle over compensation and other details of Theo Epstein's potential move the Chicago, one GM told Buster Olney of that the North Siders should hold firm on giving up little for Boston's GM (Twitter link). "What are the Red Sox going to do — bring Theo back? No way," said the GM.
  • Albert Pujols has reestablished his negotiating leverage, opines Olney (via Twitter), who finds it hard to believe the Cards will let him walk if they reach or win the World Series.

40 Responses to NL Central Notes: La Russa, Furcal, Epstein Leave a Reply

  1. TLR has a mutual option on his deal, I believe.

  2. bobbybaseball 4 years ago

    How stupid – you don’t base a decision of that magnitude on such a small smaple size as performance in the playoffs. If the Cards give Pujols 8-10 years they are digging their own grave. Is he a great player? Of course. But no one knows how old he is and he will likely go into decline in a couple years. Plus the Cards simply can’t afford to pay him and field a competitive team unless they bump up payroll.

    • start_wearing_purple
      start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

      Is it not just as stupid to say he’s lost leverage based on the first prolonged slump of his career? As for the small sample size in the playoffs, well he’s hit like this throughout his career in the playoffs, says he’s a guy who won’t crumble under pressure unlike some other $200M players that shall remain nameless.

      • jjs91 4 years ago

        No one crumbles under pressure it just looks that way because of the short sample size. Players perform one way in all situations. Pujols number have nothing to do with how he does in the clutch they are just a reflection of himself. Clutch is purely an invention of the media.

    • lefty177 4 years ago

      have you ever heard him talk in an interview? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t lie about how old he is

    • Yeah, Pujols is a one-hit wonder!!! Are you Bobby Valentine??

    • vtadave 4 years ago

      Small sample size? You mean like 10 years?

      • bobbybaseball 4 years ago

        Yes. Each playoff run is a small sample as compared to the full season. And what I see is a guy who is still great but is coming off his worst-ever BA, SLG and OBP.

    • Owner is a Billionaire… He can afford any player he chooses to sign. For all we know he might be considering increasing payroll to about 120 Million.

      • TheHotCorner 4 years ago

        Not saying the Cards won’t offer him a worthwhile contract but the owner being a billionaire means absolutely nothing because there has never been a billionaire owner who kept the payroll in check.  Oh wait…Jeff Lorie….Carl Pohlad…

        • Being a billionaire means everything… and what does mean absolutely nothing is what other billionaire owners have not done.

  3. Sniderlover 4 years ago

    I know Pujols is having a fantastic post-season but I would still be careful if I were the Cards.

    Pujols is still one hell of a player but he is starting to decline. His 7.5 WAR last year was was his worse since his sophomore season and this season he has put up a 5.1 WAR which is the worst of his career (jesus, what a beast!). His power is declining a bit and he posted a walk rate under 10% for the first time in his career though 9.4% is still pretty good.

    I can’t see how it would be a good idea to sign him on a 8-10 year deal. 

  4. Well that rival GM doesn’t understand the situation in Boston or his name is Brian Cashman and it’s wishful thinking.  Someone higher than Theo (maybe ownership or LL) decided not to excercise Francona’s contract and didn’t address the fact Theo was going into his final year of his deal.  Theo knew he could potentially be let go next year, so decided to hear what the Cubs had to say…he’d either take the Cubs job or use it as leverage to force the Red Sox’s hand and offer him a deal.  When the Red Sox granted him permission and didn’t address his contract, Theo knew he wasn’t wanted (or at least wanted bad enough, like get rid of LL, despite Henry pretending he wanted him for the PR battle) and the Cubs job is intriguing enough that he left. 
    The Cubs leaked the contract agreement to their fans and they’ve achieved a crazy buzz in the city…they’d take a MAJOR PR hit if they blew it now.  The Red Sox could always reconcile with Theo later (he did leave the team for a few weeks only to return and sign a long term deal) or put him in a glorified consultant role for a year and still put Cherington in the GM seat.  The Red Sox only have to drag this out for a week or two and the Cubs will either walk away or cave.  Theo obviously doesn’t want to go back to Boston, so when push comes to shove he’ll advise they compromise…and Ricketts is known to have Theo as his #1 guy so that will be perceived as a failure.  The Red Sox don’t have ALL the leverage, because they want to just cut ties and move on, but they have more than the Cubs and lose nothing by waiting as long as possible and seeing if they blink.  The RS don’t care if they agree to the compensation now or in a month…time is on their side, while every day that goes by is opportunity lost on assembling Theo’s staff.  Whoever can afford to wait the longest wins the leverage battle in this situation.

    • imachainsaw 4 years ago

      you’re omitting the fact that Theo told BoSox he wasn’t coming back after his contract was up. and that brings leverage back down to 0%.

      • start_wearing_purple
        start_wearing_purple 4 years ago

        The fact is despite Red Sox fans saying the Sox have leverage and Cubs fans and anti-Red Sox fanatics saying the Cubs have leverage, which let’s face it that’s exactly what’s been going on this whole time since none of us REALLY know what’s going on… neither side has particularly a lot of leverage.

        And honestly I still think this isn’t about what the Red Sox want out of the Cubs, I wouldn’t be surprised if they accepted a couple of million in cash and maybe a AAAA prospect. I’m betting this is all about the Sox making sure the stars of the front office that made Theo look even better stay put.

      • I was omitting it because it doesn’t matter in compensation talks.  You’re saying the Cubs have leverage because Theo is going to leave after this year anyways, right?  The Red Sox have already moved on, they have a plan for life without Theo, they don’t care if he leaves RIGHT NOW, why would they care that he might leave after next offseason if the Cubs pass?  If the Cubs don’t want to offer anything of real value, the Red Sox aren’t just going to accept it because “they won’t get anything else”.  Ozzie Guillen wasn’t going to back in Chicago regardless and that didn’t change the compensation at all.

        • Vinestal 4 years ago

          Ozzie Guillen has nothing to do with this trade. The only reason the Marlins gave up what they did was because they were under the threat of being in deep crap for tampering, which they knew they were completely guilty of since they had been talking to Guillen for months without permission. Boston needs to take some money and a middling prospect and let Theo get out of the circus they are creating up there before they really piss Theo off and he starts talking.

        • jayrig5 4 years ago

          It’s been said multiple places that the Ozzie deal was as sweet as it was for the White Sox because the Marlins were afraid of tampering charges being levied against them.

          Considering the Cubs went through all the proper processes, I doubt that’s applicable here.

          And if the Red Sox declined to let Theo out of his contract to go to the Cubs now, they’d have a lame duck exec who would cost them around $3 million in salary and another $3.5 million in a parachute bonus at the end of the year, and then he’d be gone anyway.  

          The Cubs could in theory just let Randy Bush run the team for a year and then hire Epstein for nothing.  Everyone in baseball would know that’s what was happening.  Cubs fans would know it’s what was happening.  

          And if you want to argue that the money means nothing to the Red Sox, well, I guess, but they’ve taken a ton of PR hits already, and I don’t think they want to advance a perception that if you come to work for them, no matter how much good work you do, they won’t let you leave for an above-lateral move.  That’s a very fast way to turn off talented, ambitious people.

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            “if the Red Sox declined to let Theo out of his contract to go to the
            Cubs now, they’d have a lame duck exec who would cost them around $3
            million in salary and another $3.5 million in a parachute bonus at the
            end of the year”

            they don’t care about this. they have lost epstein either way, there’s a new acting GM no matter what. the question is whether they get something worthwhile from the cubs or they get a top exec back for an extra year. there’s no reason whatsoever to accept rags just to lose him early

            the cubs however can lose something meaningful: that same year of epstein and a year of the progress he brings with him. maybe they don’t care about that enough to trade something significant, that’s plausible. but they are unambiguously the ones with something to lose here

      • bust0ff 4 years ago

        And you are omitting the fact that the Cubs want Theo now, not next year when his contract is up. Time is money.

        • Sawksfan 4 years ago

          Exactly, the Sox can wait and haggle as long as they want and let Cherington take over in Boston while the two sides go back and forth. Meanwhile the Cubs are in a holding pattern until this gets sorted out. Advantage Sox.

    • Vinestal 4 years ago

      The Cubs in no way have to cave to the demands of the RedSox. Boston has made it clear that it’s ready to move on without Theo and the Cubs have made it clear they want him here. Ricketts could easily run the team under it’s current placeholder GM (Randy Bush) for another year. They could aslo bring in Josh Byrnes (who was rumored to be coming in under Theo’s new Chicago front office anyway) as a temporary GM for a year until Theo is out from under contract. Then the Cubs and Theo Epstein could completely gut the RedSox front office of whomever Theo wants to bring with him. Most of Theo’s inner circle are working under 1 year deals and without any kind of agreement to stop them from leaving,
      as they would have with this trade Boston could see a mass exodus of it’s best and brightest. Who wants to work for an organization that drags it’s people through the mud the way the RedSox have after this season? The RedSox need to think twice before they try to ask for the moon here. Cub fans realize that 2012 is not a prime opportunity for us to compete anyway and we know Theo is worth waiting for. Ricketts has the whole hearted support of his fans, and one way or another he will get his man.

      • gunsnascar 4 years ago

        You sir know of what you speak.

      • wakefield4life 4 years ago

        How do the Red Sox not have all the leverage here?  We can all hypothesize what management would do in the interim (if “ifs” and “buts”…), but the facts are that Theo is the Red Sox GM until the compensation deal goes through.  If the talks fall through, Theo’s contract with the Cubs is null.  The Cubs want something the Red Sox have, and something the Sox value very highly.  If the Sox don’t get equivalent value, then there is no point to agree to the compensation.  The Cubs holding firm against the Sox means Theo doesn’t go to the Cubs.  When his contract is up after 2012, talks can resume again, but what’s to say Theo wants to go to the Cubs when that time comes.  He wants to now, so the Cubs have to deal for the present, not what might happen in the future.

        And better yet, the Cubs tipped their hand when they leaked the contract.  The Red Sox know exactly where the Cubs stand and exactly what the Cubs need.  That’s the epitome of leverage.  What do the Red Sox want?  Oh, they want money, or they want players, or the the value of the players depends on how many advisers go with Theo, but the Sox don’t want to give up any advisers…..We don’t know what the Sox want, and that’s something only the Sox are going to know.  The Sox know what the Cubs need and the Cubs have no idea what the Sox want – that’s the kind of leverage that exists in negotiations.  And the Sox can deal or not at this point, because cash compensation isn’t worth giving up Theo.  The Sox organization (as much as it pains me to say) doesn’t need more money – they need talent.  That offer needs to be upped real quick or else the Cubs will have to wait until after 2012.

    • East Coast Bias 4 years ago

      lol do you really think Theo and Brian are enemies like He-Man and Skeletor? 

  5. gunsnascar 4 years ago

    “the North Siders should hold firm on giving up little for Boston’s GM (Twitter link). “What are the Red Sox going to do — bring Theo back? No way,” said the GM.”

    enough said

    • soxin10 4 years ago

      Can’t the same be said the other way?  how does Chicago back down from this and tell the city we are still looking for a GM. I think both sides have an equal amount to lose if the negotiation breaks down.

  6. Joshua Edwards 4 years ago

    Fact is, neither side has a GM right now. And neither side can play chicken for very long because they both need one. So the notion that one side can wait and the other can’t is ridiculous. 

    Besides, both teams are already headed in their respective directions, they have the same negotiating power. 

    Fact: Theo isn’t going back. The Red Sox can’t leverage the deal to force him back because they know he will just walk away from them (for the THIRD time). What are the Sox gonna do? Hold the one year remaining on his contract hostage, not let the Cubs sign him, and hope he decides to do some work for them? Won’t happen. They’ll take as much as they can get. The Cubs will give as little as possible. The deadline for the deal to get done will force both hands to compromise.

    Both sides will feel a bit cheated. 

    But it doesn’t matter, because everyone knows Cubs prospects aren’t going to work out. The Sox would be better off with the cash.

    Brett Jackson isn’t penciled to be an all-star, just a “potential” ML starter. So it’s not like the second coming of Jacoby effing Ellsbury is at stake here.

    The Sox already lost the centerpiece of the deal: THEO effing EPSTEIN.

  7. Shu13 4 years ago

    at the end of Theo’s deal next year he was going to demand the title PRESIDENT be added to GM and that isn’t going to happen in Bawston…currently he has GM/VP…

    IMO the Cubs have the leverage b/c they can always hire an interim GM and just sign Theo next off season when his contract is up….

  8. CubsFanFromIndy 4 years ago

    It’s pretty obvious from my name where my loyalties lie, but considering all the bantering from both sides, it’s pretty obvious neither side in these negotiations have very much leverage. Both sides would take a PR hit from this promotion disintegrating, so hand over a couple mid-level prospects just like the Marlins did and move on. The guys the Marlins gave up had terrible seasons, so their value plummeted. The Cubs need to give up at least something of value, but don’t need to sell the farm based on the precedent the Marlins and White Sox set.

  9.  Theo has cost the Sox $500Million in bad salaries, except for Gonzo. You think “icing” him for a year at $7Mil will lose Henry any sleep? And do you think Ricketts is going to put a minor leaguer or two ahead of signing one of the top GM’s? Alas, the Sox will screw it up, have to take Theo back, will allow him to keep his job and the Boston fans and media will have them for lunch. 

  10. $6101468 4 years ago

    I thought all the soap operas were pulled off the air only to see and read the continuing saga of Theo, Cubs and compensation. Personally why even stand in the guys way? Let him move on as Sox already have a GM in place. But, then again, this is baseball and any stupid, foolish and damaging PR can easily be found.

  11. jjs91 4 years ago

    Olney really stresses postseason numbers to much, but in this case it’s not really a big deal because pujols stock shouldnt be that low anyway. His opinion on wilson number costing him 15 or more million is a much bigger deal. 

  12. stl_cards16 4 years ago

    Furcal has been really solid with the Cardinals. I hope he returns next season. Makes a lot of sense.

  13. James Grenard 4 years ago

    I think both him and Albert will be back.

    • slider32 4 years ago

      I agree, they  will be back along with La Russa and Duncan!

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