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Theo Epstein Rumors
- The Red Sox will not be one of the teams in attendance for Scott Kazmir's workout tomorrow, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The southpaw's audition was supposed to be today, but it was pushed back.
- Korean pitching prospect Seong-Min Kim originally agreed to a $575K deal with the Orioles, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports.
- Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun hears that while MLB hasn't approved the contract between the Orioles and the 17-year-old left-hander, MLB didn't technically void it. In any case it seems the deal for Kim will not go through as originally announced.
- A Red Sox official expects compensation for Theo Epstein to be finalized "very soon," Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. The Red Sox and Cubs recently sent briefs to the commissioner's office explaining their perspective on the issue of how to compensate Boston for Epstein's departure to Chicago.
- Agent Barry Meister didn't comment on whether Tim Wakefield will accept a minor league deal from the Red Sox, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com tweets. It doesn't appear that Wakefield will accept the offer, Edes writes.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
- "Vladimir Guerrero has made it known to the Yankees that he wants their DH spot," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but Raul Ibanez remains the frontrunner. Ibanez had a slightly worse 2011 season, but the Yankees seem to prefer his left-handed bat.
- The Cubs and Red Sox submitted briefs regarding the Theo Epstein compensation issue, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and a decision could come this week.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told WEEI after the Ortiz settlement that he doesn't expect any major moves between now and when pitchers and catchers report Sunday, but added, "We're still working on some stuff." WEEI's Rob Bradford hears there's still no traction with Roy Oswalt.
- Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira will still fly to the Dominican Republic this weekend to scout six Cuban players, including outfielder Jorge Soler, he told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. The Orioles had interest in Yoenis Cespedes, but Ferreira isn't surprised or disappointed about not getting him.
- Matt Moore, Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado, Travis d'Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Manny Banuelos, Xander Bogaerts, Gary Sanchez, Brandon Jacobs, Daniel Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Dellin Betances, Hak-Ju Lee, Anthony Gose, Jonathan Schoop, Noah Syndergaard, Ryan Lavarnway, and Mason Williams are the division's best prospects, based on Kevin Goldstein's recently-released top 101 prospects list for Baseball Prospectus. Jacobs, Norris, and Syndergaard didn't merit mentions on Keith Law's top 100 or his "just missed" list for ESPN. On the other hand, Law included Drew Hutchison, Chris Archer, Enny Romero, Mikie Mahtook, Taylor Guerrieri, Aaron Sanchez, and Blake Swihart on his list and Goldstein did not.
The Red Sox haven't spent much on free agents this offseason, but new GM Ben Cherington did improve his bullpen via trade while also clearing salary by moving shortstop Marco Scutaro. The latest on the team:
- Commissioner Bud Selig still hasn't received written arguments in the Cubs-Red Sox Theo Epstein compensation case, tweets MLB Network's Peter Gammons. Gammons moderated the Hot Stove Cool Music panel on Monday with both Epstein and Cherington. Cherington said that he expects direction from the commissioner's office soon, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Explained Cherington, "There was an expectation when Theo left that the Red Sox would receive significant compensation for allowing the Cubs to hire him and we haven’t been able to agree on what 'significant compensation’ means.'"
- The Red Sox have potential arbitration hearings for Alfredo Aceves and David Ortiz, and Cherington told MLB.com's Evan Drellich he'd prefer not to publicize the dates. Ortiz's hearing is tentatively scheduled for mid-February, reported Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports yesterday. Cherington doesn't think the potential impact of the hearings would be significant, but a $3.85MM spread on Ortiz does seem significant to me for a club that recently unloaded its starting shortstop in a trade that appeared financially motivated.
- As part of a Sacred Heart University lecture series last night, Epstein said that in retrospect it wasn't necessary for him to leave the Red Sox for three months during the 2005-06 offseason as a means of determining what the organization stood for (WEEI's Ryan Hannable reporting). Yankees GM Brian Cashman, now a potential trading partner for Epstein, also attended the event. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has quotes about the executives' observations of each other while competing in the AL East.
- I've begun collecting lists of 40-man roster players with less than five years of service who are out of options. For the Red Sox, I've confirmed it's Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, Darnell McDonald, Franklin Morales, and Matt Albers.
The Red Sox requested in late December that MLB commissioner Bud Selig resolve the Theo Epstein compensation issue, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Cubs were granted permission to speak to Epstein by the Red Sox and hired him as president of baseball operations in October. Since then, the two teams have been unable to determine what compensation the Red Sox should receive for Epstein, since he had a year remaining on his contract.
Back on November 17th, Epstein said talks were "very amicable" and lots of jokes were being made on the topic. At that point, the plan was to re-engage after the Rule 5 draft, which happened on December 8th.
Last Thursday on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show, Epstein said he and new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington were trying to work it out, but they might need some help to get it done. Epstein explained his stance: "Throughout the history of baseball, there's really only a handful of instances in which there's been any compensation whatsoever for executives." He added that in those cases, "compensation has been pretty reasonable. When Andy MacPhail, who had won two World Series, left on a lateral move from Minnesota to Chicago back in '94, his compensation was the 30th-ranked prospect in the Cubs' system [Hector Trinidad] and a little bit of cash." In Epstein's opinion, "There's no precedent for major, major compensation here." The Red Sox feel that Epstein is more valuable than MacPhail or any manager, according to Wittenmyer, and CEO Larry Lucchino has at various points floated the names of Matt Garza and Brett Jackson.
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.
We wouldn’t want the biggest news of the day — that the Rangers won the bidding for Yu Darvish — to completely overshadow some secondary notes from around MLB. Here are some quick hits from around the league, starting in Texas:
- Astros GM Jeff Luhnow told fans at MLB.com that Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers and Carlos Lee are “very good players” who could help the Astros going forward. “We will look for any opportunity to improve our team in the medium and long term,” Luhnow explained, “so if there were a trade that made sense, we would consider it.”
- Brian Bixler cleared waivers and accepted his assignment to Oklahoma City, according to MLB.com's Jenifer Langosch. The Astros designated the infielder for assignment last week to create roster space for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland.
- The Cubs and Red Sox have agreed that former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein won't be able to hire anyone from the Red Sox for three years, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter).
- Angels GM Jerry Dipoto likes the depth in his team's starting rotation, but doesn't yet know whether his bullpen is a strength or a weakness, according to Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times. Ideally, the Angels would like to add a late-inning reliever and make the lineup a little more left-handed, Dipoto says.
- There's a consensus among international MLB people that the Yankees are "BIG" on Yoenis Cespedes, according to Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus (on Twitter).
- Cespedes is close to establishing residency in the Dominican Republic, reports Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. The Cuban outfielder still needs to secure a license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control since his residency is not permanent. The process could take two weeks, but he should be cleared to sign sometime in January.
Boston’s managerial search includes Bobby Valentine, according to reports today. Here are some notes on changes to the team’s front office…
- The Red Sox and Cubs won't determine compensation for Theo Epstein until after the Rule 5 draft takes place in early December, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat. "It’s very amicable. Lots of jokes about it," Epstein said. "We’ll see if we can get something done after the Rule 5 Draft.” Epstein left the Red Sox for the Cubs after the regular season and compensation has yet to be determined.
- The Red Sox are expected to remove VP of player personnel and international operations Craig Shipley from his current position, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com. Shipley, a former MLB player, pushed for the deal that sent Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell to Boston for Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez.
- The Red Sox may have interest in former Expos and Mets GM Omar Minaya, according to Maureen Mullen of CSNNE.com.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington suggested today that the Red Sox don't need wholesale changes. "This offseason is more about fixing what's under the hood than buying a new car," he told reporters. Here’s the latest on the team, starting with a note on their ongoing managerial search…
- Cherington doesn't expect to interview additional managerial candidates after he meets with Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo and Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.com (all Twitter links).
- The Red Sox have asked the Brewers to extend their window to talk with hitting coach Dale Sveum, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter).
- Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., a candidate for Boston's managerial opening, is "going to be a Major League manager, whether that's in 2012 or sometime after that," Cherington said, according to Speier.
- Cherington has exchanged messages with free agents David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald (Twitter links). However, he hasn't spoken with the representatives for Jonathan Papelbon recently.
- There's no resolution on compensation between the Cubs and Red Sox for Theo Epstein, but the commissioner's office has given the sides more leeway, according to Lauber.
- Speier explains how Ryan Madson's possible deal with the Phillies affects Papelbon and suggests the likelihood that Papelbon has thrown his last pitch for the Red Sox would increase "if Papelbon wants to dig in for a contract that clears the bar set by Madson."
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington confirmed to reporters that the Red Sox and Cubs have obtained a one-week extension to work out compensation for former Boston GM Theo Epstein. Here are some more notes from the division, starting with the Red Sox…
- Peter Gammons of MLB Network said on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show that he won't be surprised if David Ortiz returns to the Red Sox this offseason.
- Though the Red Sox have considered moving Daniel Bard to the rotation, Gammons has heard it's not likely. Jerry Spar has the details at WEEI.com.
- The Red Sox are in talks with Ortiz and, to a lesser extent, with Jonathan Papelbon, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
- It's highly unlikely that the Yankees will sign Roy Oswalt, according to Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com. The club's worried about Oswalt's injury history, according to Matthews. Oswalt had multiple stints on the DL with lower back issues in 2011.
- The Yankees are "open-minded" about the possibility of moving A.J. Burnett or anyone else without a full no-trade clause, according to Chad Jennings of the Journal News. However, the GM sees value in the innings Burnett has provided.
- Joe Pawlikowski of River Ave. Blues expects Jesus Montero to open the 2012 season with the Yankees, but he wonders if New York could obtain Mat Latos, Jaime Garcia or Jordan Zimmermann for the catching prospect.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes a detailed look at C.C. Sabathia’s vesting option for 2017.
- For the latest on the Orioles’ GM search, click here.
- The Cubs aren't focused on former Red Sox skipper Terry Francona and aren't likely to pursue a current manager, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter).
- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein reached out to Sandberg to explain why he's not being considered for the managerial job, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- GM Jed Hoyer suggested the Cubs will spend some time rebuilding their pitching staff, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Long before he was a Major League GM, Hoyer was a skilled fantasy baseball player, according to the Sun-Times. Hoyer excelled in fantasy leagues as a youngster, even against adult professionals. For fantasy news on relief pitchers, check out CloserNews.com.
- On a related note, Hoyer says he expects Carlos Marmol to close next year, according to Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
- Epstein, Hoyer and the rest of the front office are a team, but the GM remains impressed by Epstein's ability. "When he turns it on, it's pretty clear he has a gear the rest of us don't have," Hoyer said, according to Sullivan.
- Former Cubs GM Jim Hendry graciously said the team hit a "home run" by hiring Epstein, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. "Tom Ricketts did the city of Chicago and the Cubs organization a great service by hiring Theo," Hendry said. The former GM hasn't ruled out returning to the game, but he's enjoying some time off for now. Hoyer said he's looking forward to reaching out to Hendry, according to Sullivan.
- The Cubs don't have to pay Aramis Ramirez's $2MM buyout, since he declined his side of his contract option for 2012, according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.