Epstein On Cubs, Ramirez, Papelbon, Crawford

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein joined WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show this morning and discussed a number of topics, including the Cubs, the Red Sox and the circumstances that led to his current role in Chicago. Here are some highlights from the interview:

  • "There are plenty of resources here," Epstein said, when asked about the Cubs' ability to spend. So far the Cubs have made modest free agent additions led by David DeJesus' $10MM contract, as our Free Agent Tracker shows.
  • "We've brought in multiple players in their pre-prime years who have plenty of upside ahead of them," he said of the Cubs' moves so far this offseason.
  • Not surprisingly, Epstein said Manny Ramirez isn't a fit for the Cubs.
  • Epstein said he and current Red Sox GM Ben Cherington discussed the possibility of Epstein's departure for years. To put last year's off-field issues in context, he said there were periods that were "just as unproductive and contentious" in 2004.
  • Though Terry Francona isn't currently an MLB manager, Epstein expects the skipper to land a managerial job as soon as he wants one, whether that occurs next summer or next offseason.
  • "You can get in trouble sometimes giving huge four-year deals to closers," Epstein said, after acknowledging that Jonathan Papelbon will be missed in Boston. Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon should help Boston's bullpen recover from the loss of Papelbon, Epstein said.
  • Carl Crawford didn't let his athleticism translate into performance during his first year in Boston, but Epstein expects better results in 2012 and beyond. Red Sox owner John Henry wasn't a proponent of the Crawford deal, but Epstein wanted to sign the speedy left fielder.
  • Epstein says the Red Sox should obtain compensation for his departure, but he cited Andy MacPhail's move to the Cubs in 1994 and cautioned that historical precedent suggests the Red Sox shouldn't obtain much from Chicago.

52 Responses to Epstein On Cubs, Ramirez, Papelbon, Crawford Leave a Reply

  1. Epstein needs to concentrate on his own team and not be concerned what the Red Sox do.

    • Parker 3 years ago

      I am sure he was asked about the sox. I doubt he brought them up.

    • David C. Ruckman 3 years ago

      I think his concentration is on the Cubs. The radio and TV sports shows, however, will ask him about the Red Sox because, for them, it’s relevant as his experience there is still fresh in his mind. If you haven’t noticed, Epstein & Co. have done a great job thus far with the Cubs organization and I anticipate even more. I think that is fuel for his “There are plenty of resources here” comment.

    • Sully65 3 years ago

      WEEI is a Boston Station and Theo is there for a charity event that is why he brought up the Sox.

    • Ken Roucka 3 years ago

      Thank you Kenny Williams. “He needs to keep his nose out of White Sox business”

      • Justswain 3 years ago

        Given his recent moves I agree with you;  Kenny Williams SHOULD keep his nose out of White Sox business.

  2. $20404099 3 years ago

    Theo & Co. are certainly doing what has been needed to be done with the Cubs for decades now. It’ll be interesting to watch as the Cubs rebuild saga continues. The fans need the patience to allow it to happen.

    • ubercubsfan 3 years ago

      I don’t get a lot of us Cubs fans.  We all have been patient when the status quo was to put a team out there that will be about .500 and hope for great things.  Why can’t the rest of them just be patient for 2 or 3 more years while a team builds correctly.  This isn’t a “rebuild” this is a complete build.  To rebuild implies that there was something good not long ago.  There hasn’t been for a long long time.

      • $20404099 3 years ago

        Rebuild is used because there was an entity. If this were the D-Backs sprouting out of nothing like they did, then it would be a build. But yes, patience while doing things correctly is needed. MLB will be funner if the Cubs are competitive at the highest level. The Cards/Cubs rivalry has always been better when both teams were good.

      • Ken Roucka 3 years ago

        “To rebuild implies that there was something good not long ago.  There hasn’t been for a long long time.”

        2003, 2007, 2008

  3. dwarfcatt 3 years ago

    what did the Cubs give up for MacPhail in 94?

    • Ken Roucka 3 years ago

      It was something like $200,000 and a non-descript minor leaguer that didn’t amount to anything

      • David C. Ruckman 3 years ago

        Correct. The “non-descript minor leaguer” was a class-A pitcher named Hector Trinidad. I don’t think the Cubs will get off that easy this time around. I figure the Red Sox might receive one of the prospects netted from the forthcoming Garza trade, perhaps from the Tigers.

        • BlueCatuli 3 years ago

          You’re dreaming if you think the Sox are getting anyone of significance.

          • David C. Ruckman 3 years ago

            No, if I were dreaming, the Red Sox would get no one. But because the Cubs agreed to compensate, there might be a dingy low-A reliever or infielder who comes back as the 3rd or perhaps 4th piece in the Garza deal who doesn’t quite have the luster of a Jacob Turner or Casey Crosby. As a Cubs fan, I shall remain greedy until my lifetime-old obsession with getting out of the World Series basement is satisfied.

      • timwmccann 3 years ago

        Cubs didn’t get anything that amounted to much, either.

  4. Cards_Fanboy 3 years ago

    Good things on the horizon for the Cubbies…  lol jk.

  5. Leonard Washington 3 years ago

    I agree with Theo almost 100% on all this. I think Crawford will return to form, and that the pen will be ok. I def would have liked to keep Papelbon though. Snap. I disagree about the compensation though. He was let out of his contract. Guillen netted the white Sox two prospects. Not saying they were excellent players but they weren’t that bad at all. I mean we let Theo just jump ship and start helping them immediatley we did them the favor of not stunting the teams offseason, when we could have negotiated for compensation up front before he went over. The Cubs wanted him he is the best that was available and one of the best around the league. So considering Theo’s importance to our team, and his contract we should def get at least one good prospect. Not a top prospect, but a good one. Example: Mcnutt or say Aaron Kurcz someone with good bullpen potential, not breaking the bank in anyway. They got one of the best GMS in baseball we get a potentially good reliever. Sounds fair imo. 

    • Lars Chunks 3 years ago

      Guillen left for the same position, though.  Theo got a promotion from GM/VP to President.  That’s why the compensation will be a lot less.  That being said, Andy McPhail is terrible at everything he does and should not be used as the standard for compensation.  Theo was far more valuable to the Red Sox and is a much bigger loss to their organization, which merits slightly better compensation.  My guess is they’ve already agreed to the level of player/cash, but are waiting for the Cubs to finish making trades to see what is left in their terrible farm system.

      • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

        You would think him being more than just GM would warrant more than if he was just GM. I mean he is essentially super GM over Hoyer.

      • BlueCatuli 3 years ago

        I’m not saying the Cubs have a great farm system, but they were ranked 14th at the beginning of the offseason. With the trades and additions they’ve made, they have moved up to about 12th or 11th, hardly terrible. Just because most of their best assets are in the lower levels does not mean it is terrible.

    • petrie000 3 years ago

      the Sox let him go so they didn’t stunt their own off-season as well, so the Cubs owe them nothing for a ‘favor’ that frankly speaking the Sox had no choice but to allow.

      If you’re expecting Epstein to pony up a top flight prospect out of the goodness of his heart to a team that has absolutely 0 leverage in the negotiations, don’t hold your breath.

      In baseball, nice guys wind up color analysts on ESPN.

      • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

        Not true we could have kept Theo on no problem, the front office just loves the guy so when he wanted out they let him leave. And nobody said top flight prospect but a very solid one. He is a valuable commodity to the team and was signed to a legally binding contract so to give him up to be the same for another team warrants compensation of some kind. Otherwise why not keep him another season. Guy is a pro he wasn’t gonna whine all year.

        • petrie000 3 years ago

          no, you couldn’t have kept him no problem. He wanted out, either now or at the end of next year, so keeping him would have made the entire season a complete circus. You also couldn’t have kept him AND promoted Cherington, ‘cuz no team needs 2 GMs, and spending that much money on an extra GM is just ludicrous. then you have to factor in the idea of letting a lame duck GM go out and hire your next coach and it gets even more dubious of an assertion. And if they kept Epstein but stripped him all his duties, that’s grounds for a pretty hefty lawsuit by Epstein.

          Keeping Theo would have been effectively throwing away the 2012 season for the Sox, so the argument that the Cubs should reward them for their kindness with an better compensation is silly.

          It would have been like that scene in Blazing Saddles where Bart puts the gun to his own head….

          The agreement already in place preventing the Cubs from hiring Sox personel for 3 years is already a major concession, and that alone probably worth a top 20 prospect (organizationally speaking, not overall). At this point you’re probably looking at some financial compensation just to get it all over and done with.

        • BlueCatuli 3 years ago

          Sorry, but the Sox aren’t getting even a solid prospect. You’re setting yourself for a major let down.

    • jb226 3 years ago

      Well, let me take your exact comments and flip them to the opposite perspective.

      “The Red Sox let Theo just leave and start helping the Cubs because they had a ready-made, hand-groomed replacement who was already sitting in on high-level meetings in anticipation of exactly such an event.  They knew that Theo and ownership were chaffing one another just as they had done years ago when he left the team.  It also allowed the Red Sox to get on about their business of finding a new manager and tweaking their team without being distracted by an entire offseason full of negotiations and a lame-duck and probably very angry “general manager” who was not a general manager at all.  He did great things in Boston, but moving forward had no importance to the team whatsoever and was replaced on the same day he left by his protege with fans hurling insults at his back on his way out of town.  The Red Sox deserve compensation for letting him out of his contract, but given that he was immediately replaceable, no longer wanted to be there, the unwritten rule of allowing executives to pursue promotions, Bud Selig’s desire to clamp down on executive compensation and the general lack of precedent for giving anything significant for an executive, it should be a marginal prospect.”

      But you know, ultimately it doesn’t matter what either of us think and we both clearly have our own biases (saying “we” gave you away as a Sox fan and I fully admit I am a Cubs fan).  For that matter, it doesn’t really matter what the teams think either, since they will either agree (and thus make it moot) or they will take roughly the same positions you and I did.  Since the agreeing thing is looking less and less likely, what matters is what Bug Selig thinks — and he’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want there to be serious compensation for executives.

      • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

        First off I am obviously a Sox fan, and never tried to hide it. All of that about having a replacement is super irrelevant, and ownerships relationship is also irrelevant. You can’t say that you should have to give up less in a trade for an ace just because the team might have another one. Fact is if we made the Cubs negotiate before the transfer we could have had Ben do everything it wouldn’t have held up anything. We allowed it to be smooth on your end it was gonna be fine on ours no matter what happened. And Theo could have just as easily been denied the right to go and made to stay in which case nothing about his work would have changed and we would have had another year with one of the best GM’s in baseball. Guy is a pro he isn’t gonna stomp his feet. Also some people hate when anything happens in sports. I respect Theo obviously the guy was instrumental getting us two rings. As for Seligs ruling who knows I am just speaking to what should happen. If you as an executive and a GM can demand a certain salary a certain self value, then when traded the team trading you should be able to demand a compensation that is at least in the ballpark of how valuable said person is to the organization. 

        • scott brecht 3 years ago

          then how did the cubs get rizzo at such a bargain price?  because the padres had alonso to replace his depth at first base.   

          • El_Bobo 3 years ago

            He also didn’t have a good year with the Padres in the time he was up. His value was down from the year before. Because they have Alonso means they can get less for Rizzo is ridiculous, that makes no sense.

  6. Still not sure why compensation is needed. Theo left on his own, he was under contract therefore he should pay the “compensation” owed, Cubs should have nothing to do with it…

    • 0bsessions 3 years ago

      Epstein’s contract was basically the product. Historically, when there’s a promotion there’s no compensation, but prior to being allowed to interview him, the Cubs allegedly agreed to give the Red Sox compensation, that’s why the Cubs owe them compensation.

      • Any compensation should have been determined before any deal was made.  Its kind of like letting a mechanic repair your car without an estimate and then being surprised when getting a repair bill for $25,000.

        • 0bsessions 3 years ago

          Agreed on that regard. Early in the process, I was content to see the Sox basically hold his contract hostage (Which considering the strides Epstein’s made already, could’ve drastically hurt the Cubs), but the minute they let him walk out the door without resolving it, the matter became something of either taking less than he’s worth of sending it the commissioner who will give them less than he’s worth because he doesn’t want to set a precedent.

        • Leonard Washington 3 years ago

          Thats what I said above. Needless to say I agree. The Cubs clearly wanted him to rebuild the franchise so we should have worked it out and then let him leave. Established a window for completion, and had Ben pursue players/coaches while negotiations went down. So the only people it would have held up is them giving us the leverage.

      • Philip Marlowe 3 years ago

        So really, this is Crane Kenney’s fault.

        Of course.

  7. Epstein says the Red Sox should obtain compensation for his departure, but he cited Andy MacPhail’s move to the Cubs in 1994 and cautioned that historical precedent suggests the Red Sox shouldn’t obtain much from Chicago.

    Theo has developed a sense of humor these days. He has the audacity to use Andy MacPhail as the precedent as to what the Red Sox should get is laughable. However, since he brings up MacPhail I will take it a bit further. Andy MacPhail created a huge mess in “Charm City”, Peter Angelos allowed him to do it and the O’s fans suffered because of it! The other funny thing is MacPhail also caused the O’s problems by picking up the Cubs garbage when they were done with it. At one point 25 % of the O’s roster were former Cubs and that was no good! So in spirit with that the Orioles should be compensated for all this. So I am asking Chicago to send us Matt Szczur to help alleviate the pain caused!

    PS  Since the conversation was mainly about the History of Theo’s trades, how come Anthony Rizzo didn’t come up? =P

    • burtonbball88 3 years ago

      The most you will get is a guy like Lou Montanez, and you will like it.

      • Hahahaha!

      • BlueCatuli 3 years ago

        Is he even on the team?

        • Lou Montanez:

          December 21, 2011: Signed as a Free Agent with the Philadelphia Phillies.

          Then the Orioles get him back as compensation (LOL) for Joe Jordan.
          I didn’t know Lou went to Philly till now.

      • stewie75 3 years ago


      • Philip Marlowe 3 years ago

        It’s too bad Montanez signed with the Phillies. He would have been perfect compensation for the Red Sox. At most, a corner OF to back up Kalish/Sweeney, and at least AAA depth. He’s blocked on the Cubs for the time being anyway.

    • disgustedcubfan 3 years ago

      The compensation ship has already sailed. At this point, why would the Cubs give up anybody of value?
      Boston should have held up the whole deal if they had somebody realistic in mind for compensation.

  8. petrie000 3 years ago

    As a Cubs fan who grew up during the MacFail era, i nust say you make a nuch nore convincing argument for compensation than a lot of Sox fans do…

  9. Leonard Washington 3 years ago

    You give something up you get something. If its valuable to us and you want it badly its obviously valuable to you otherwise you wouldn’t want it would you. Thus compensation is required its pretty simple stuff. Haters can put a spin on it all they want, but we lost something valuable we should get something valuable in return. Value meaning something we are likely to be able to use and anything short of a very decent prospect is not something we can use.  By very decent I mean a player with upside who could potentially have a positive career in the major leagues, not a batting practice pitcher or a career minor leaguer.

    • petrie000 3 years ago

      you give up as little as you absolutely have to, i give up as little as i absolutely have to… that’s the nature of competitive business. The one who’s best at- giving up the least is usually the one hoisting the trophy at the end. The Cubs have a very strong negotiating position, the Sox not so much….

      • Duke15 3 years ago

        Well the Sox lost all their leverage now that Theo is already on the Cubs and making moves… the comp should have been sorted out when Theo was still with the team when they were in a position to say “give us something good or you can’t have him”…. they’re gonna get shafted bad here…

    • As a Cubs fan i see where you are coming from but, if he was half as valuable to the red sox as you say then they would have rejected the cubs offer to speak with him. also during discussions you didnt try and outbid the cubs for him, you instead hired a new gm…which really screwed you over. (unless you were gonna fire ben cherrington right after you signed him to a new contract. which is unlikely to say the least.) the red sox pretty much put him on waivers right when the cubs needed a new gm.. 

    • bmoneyy20 3 years ago

      once theo sat in his office on clark and addison lost leverage. i think it was no more of our people for 3 years meant more than bs cubs prospect. larry l being himself

  10. Remember when Selig said he’d intervene if the compensation wasn’t completed by November 1st? That was a hoot.

  11. Wrek305 3 years ago

    Theo is wrong about Papolbon being missed in Boston they are better without him and if he doesn’t perform for the Philly fan he will be run out of town within 2 yrs of that contract. By then nobody will want a closer he averages 8 BS a year. He better average 50 SV a year for Philly. The Red Sox are an excellent team with Lackey gone for the year as well. Hopefully for Red Sox fans it takes him more when 12 months to recover.

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