Theo Epstein Rumors

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.

Quick Hits: Astros, Angels, Cespedes

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.

Red Sox Front Office Notes: Epstein, Shipley, Minaya

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 Notes: Manager, Varitek, Ortiz, Papelbon

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."

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Oswalt, Sabathia

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…


Cubs Notes: Hoyer, Epstein, Ramirez

The Cubs will have a new manager in 2012, but it won't be Ryne Sandberg. Here are some links for Wednesday, as Cubs fans imagine their longtime second baseman in a Cardinals uniform…

  • 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.

Cubs Notes: Ramirez, Zambrano, Epstein

Today the Cubs introduced two of the top assistants for president of baseball operations Theo Epstein. They named Jed Hoyer their executive VP and general manager and Jason McLeod their senior VP of scouting and player development. Here's the latest from this afternoon's press conference:

  • Though Epstein didn’t rule anything out, he said free agent third baseman Aramis Ramirez will probably not return to Chicago. “Likely he'll be moving on," Epstein said, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter links).
  • Epstein says he had an enlightening conversation with Carlos Zambrano’s agent and is looking forward to speaking to the right-hander himself, according to Wittenmyer.
  • The Cubs expect to reach a decision on manager Mike Quade’s future within a week, according to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com (Twitter links).
  • MLB may give the Cubs and Red Sox an extension to determine appropriate compensation for Epstein, Boston’s former GM, according to Muskat.
  • Hoyer stressed the importance of building from within today, according to Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald (on Twitter). "Relying on external solutions to building a winning baseball team is a bad idea, and it's something we need to get past," the GM said.

Red Sox Notes: Youkilis, Pitchers, Epstein, Freese

The Red Sox are now under new GM Ben Cherington's watch, and they figure to again be one of the most active teams during the offseason. Here's the latest from Boston…

  • WEEI.com's Alex Speier spoke to sources both inside and outside the organization who said the Red Sox are not expected to move third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis will turn 33 next month, and although he's missed time with injury in each of the last three seasons, he remains productive (.258/.373/.459 in 2011) and affordable ($12MM in 2012 with a $13MM club option for 2013).
  • Within the same piece, Speier notes that the Sox will "almost surely kick the tires on [pitchers] with the stuff and/or track record that suggests an ability to compete in the American League East," as long as they're open to short-term contracts.
  • CEO and team president Larry Lucchino appeared on the Dennis & Callahan show this morning; Jerry Spar of WEEI.com provides a transcript. Among other things, he said talks with the Cubs about compensation for Theo Epstein are taking so long because "the parties have different views of what is significant compensation."
  • Meanwhile, Bud Selig told reporters (including Scott Miller of CBSSports.com) he expects the compensation dispute to land on his desk this coming Tuesday (Twitter link).
  • David Freese is busy providing the Cardinals with postseason heroics, but Tom Krasovic of Inside The Padres says the Red Sox had a loophole deal in place to sign the third baseman for $90K before the 2006 draft. The commissioner's office stepped in and nixed the deal, however.

Front Office Notes: Tigers, Epstein, Red Sox, Padres

Here are some notes from front offices around MLB, as the Angels continue interviewing candidates for their GM job…

  • Tigers assistant GM Al Avila told MLB.com's Jason Beck that he's happy to stay in Detroit, where the Tigers have a good thing going under president and GM Dave Dombrowski. The Tigers denied the Orioles and Angels permission to interview Avila this offseason and have made similar denials in the past. For more on Avila’s development as an executive, check out my piece about him from August.
  • Andy MacPhail was a two-time World Series winner when he went from the Twins to the Cubs in 1994. He told Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago.com that he sees similarities between himself and current Cubs president Theo Epstein, but says it’s now a "different kettle of fish" because fans  generally have higher expectations.
  • Epstein promised not to raid Boston's front office to staff his baseball operations department in Chicago, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe.
  • Earlier tonight, the Cubs and Padres confirmed that San Diego GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod will leave the Padres to accept positions with Epstein in Chicago. Meanwhile, Josh Byrnes is becoming the Padres' new GM.  
  • The Padres will acquire compensation for Hoyer and Byrnes after this December's Rule 5 Draft, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (on Twitter).

Front Office Notes: Red Sox, Minaya, Cashman

The Cubs and Red Sox introduced the new leaders of their respective baseball operations departments today. Theo Epstein met with the media in Chicago and Ben Cherington did the same in Boston. Here are some more notes from front offices around MLB…

  • Epstein sounded extremely confident in Cherington’s ability to bring the Red Sox back to the playoffs. “He’s had such a well-rounded development,” Epstein said of Cherington. “He’s got so much integrity. He’s so bright. He’s got great management skills of people. This guy is going to do a fantastic job.” Alex Speier of WEEI.com has more quotes from Epstein.
  • Speier hears from an insider who won't be surprised if the Red Sox and Cubs need the help of the commissioner's office to resolve the issue of compensation for Epstein.
  • Former Mets and Expos GM Omar Minaya is one of top candidates for the Angels’ GM job, according to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (on Twitter).
  • The Yankees expect to have a new deal with GM Brian Cashman by Monday, according to Andrew Marchand and Wallace Matthews of ESPNNewYork.com.
  • Newsday's Ken Davidoff explains that Rangers executive A.J. Preller rooted for the Yankees before getting his first job in professional baseball. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes spoke to Preller earlier this month for our GM Candidates series.
  • The Diamondbacks announced that they promoted Junior Noboa to VP of Latin Operations. Noboa, Arizona's first ever international hire, enters his 18th season with the organization. He has overseen the acquisition of players such as Miguel Montero and Gerardo Parra.
  • For the latest on the Orioles’ GM search, click here, for notes on MLB managers click here and for more front office rumors click here.