Theo Epstein Rumors

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.

Theo Epstein Press Conference Quotes

We've heard a lot from new Cubs president Theo Epstein today, as the team held a press conference this morning.

  • "It truly feels great to be a Cub today," said Epstein at the introductory press conference.  He considers his new job "the ultimate challenge."
  • "Our goal will be to build the best scouting department in the game," explained Epstein.  He stressed "sustained success" and noted that the Cubs' 2011 draft marked a "clear philosophical change" in his eyes.  Epstein will also be able to grow the Cubs' baseball operations staff.
  • As a first step with the Cubs managerial situation, Epstein intends to meet with Mike Quade in person over the next week.  Epstein also intends to "take a creative look at the big league team."
  • A third party may ultimately be required to determine the compensation Boston receives, but Epstein considers the teams' relations to be amicable.
  • Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said today in a welcome statement, "In his new role, Theo will be given the resources and opportunity to build a strong foundation and the winning culture that our organization and fans deserve."  At the process conference Ricketts added, "I simply cannot imagine a better person for this job than Theo Epstein."
  • The following bullet points are highlights from an op-ed piece Epstein wrote for the Boston Globe.  Epstein writes, "The reason I am leaving has nothing to do with power, pressure, money, or relationships. It has nothing to do with September, either."  Instead, he points to a Bill Walsh suggestion that coaches and executives should seek change after ten years with a team, to create a new challenge for the individual and a fresh perspective for the team.  Initially, the plan was for assistant GM Ben Cherington to take over the Red Sox after the 2012 season, and those discussions with ownership began this summer while the team was thriving.
  • The combination of the Red Sox needing a new manager for the long-term and the challenge presented by the Cubs prompted Epstein to leave earlier than he initially planned.  Epstein has complete confidence in Cherington to address Boston's clubhouse issues.  Epstein admits, "Things did indeed happen in the clubhouse that do not have a place at the Red Sox or anywhere in sports. But the reports about team-wide apathy and indulgence are exaggerated."
  • Epstein feels that Cherington is more prepared for the GM job than Epstein was nine years ago, and the Red Sox "remain one of the preeminent organizations in baseball, with an extremely bright future."

Front Office Notes: Orioles, Cashman, Cubs, Padres

Theo Epstein is officially the Cubs' president of baseball operations and the Red Sox have announced that Ben Cherington will be Boston's next GM, but there's still lots of front office turnover on the horizon. Here are the latest details from around MLB:

  • De Jon Watson's interview for the Orioles' GM job will take place on Wednesday, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). I spoke to Watson, the Dodgers' assistant GM, last month. He's up against Jerry Dipoto of the Diamondbacks and Tony LaCava of the Blue Jays.
  • Chase Headley and Heath Bell told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune that they expect a smooth transition from Jed Hoyer to Josh Byrnes when Hoyer leaves the Padres to become the Cubs' new GM.
  • Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune explains that Cubs president Crane Kenney will move exclusively to the business side now that Epstein is the club's president of baseball operations. Kenney is a polarizing figure in Chicago and the role he played in obtaining Epstein is unclear, according to Sullivan.
  • Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times says letting assistant GM Randy Bush go would be a mistake for the Cubs.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman met with Hal Steinbrenner in New York today and Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the sides expect to be able to complete a new deal for Cashman with relative ease (Twitter link).

Quick Hits: Padres, Orioles, Wilson, Sizemore

Here are some Quick Hits as the Rangers have evened up the World Series 2-2..

  • Even though Padres GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod are headed to the Cubs, Baseball America's Jim Callis told Dan Hayes of the North County Times that the club should still be able to maintain their strong farm system.
  • When speaking to reporters, Commissioner Bud Selig didn't rule out the possibility of a collective bargaining agreement announcement before the end of the World Series, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter is a big admirer of what the Blue Jays do which leads many to think that Tony LaCava will land the GM job, tweets Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated.  Jerry Dipoto is also in the mix for the job.
  • C.J. Wilson is well aware that his scheduled start in Game 5 of the World Series could be his last with the Rangers, but his impending free agency is the furthest thing from Wilson's mind, writes Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest.
  • Cubs pitcher Ryan Dempster hopes that Theo Epstein sparks a cultural shift in Chicago, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune.
  • The Indians' biggest need this winter is a productive hitter that they can slide into the middle of the order, writes Paul Hoynes of The Plain Dealer.  Preferably, that hitter would play first base, third base, left field, or right field.
  • It could be worthwhile for a team such as the Giants to take a one-year flier on center fielder Grady Sizemore, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.  Shea also runs down his predictions for many of this winter's top free agents including Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and C.J. Wilson.
  • If Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. lets  Albert Pujols walk now after his mythical Game 3 performance an angry uprising from St. Louis fans is inevitable, writes Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-1024-cubs-epstein-dempster–20111024,0,3092647.story

Epstein, Hoyer, Cubs Links: Saturday

The Red Sox officially announced last night that GM Theo Epstein had resigned from his position to take over as the the Cubs president of baseball operations. Both teams will hold press conferences on Tuesday; the Cubs to introduce Epstein, and the Sox to likely announce that Ben Cherington is taking over as GM. The two sides have "reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined" and the issue will be "resolved in the near term."

Meanwhile, the Padres have officially granted the Cubs permission to speak to GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod. San Diego has already agreed to a list of players from which they will choose their compensation package. Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes is expected to replace Hoyer after the World Series, and the Cubs will not raid the Padres' front office any further. As news trickles in about the three-way GM carousel, we'll keep track of it all right here, with the latest up top…

  • Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe cautions Red Sox fans not to expect a "windfall" in exchange for Epstein. Abraham expects Boston to receive two or three prospects, or one prospect and a complementary Major Leaguer like Jeff Baker.
  • Dan Hayes of The North County Times says (on Twitter) we're unlikely the learn the full list of players the Padres can choose from, but a source confirmed that Starlin Castro and Andrew Cashner are not on it. That's not surprising, the Padres are expected to receive minor leaguers in exchange for letting Hoyer and McLeod leave.
  • In a pair of tweets, WEEI.com's Alex Speier notes that because he is coming in as an outsider, Epstein is likely to value the Cubs' prospects differently than those already in the organization. That could lead to a swift resolution of the Cubs-Red Sox compensation talks.
  • ESPN's Buster Olney points out (on Twitter) that Epstein will cost the Cubs about the same as what Alfonso Soriano makes per month. He calls it a "huge per-dollar talent grab" for the north siders.
  • With a handful of front-office types and a manager changing teams this offseason despite being under contract, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders whether the Red Sox could seek another team's manager to be their next skipper (Twitter).

Theo Epstein To Officially Join Cubs

The Red Sox and Cubs have announced that, effective immediately, Theo Epstein will take over as the Cubs' new President of Baseball Operations, according to a joint press release by the two clubs.  Both organizations will forego further comment until Tuesday, which is the next scheduled non-game day in the World Series.

The press release indicates that the two sides have "reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined" and the issue will be "resolved in the near term."  If the two sides cannot work out an agreement in the next few days, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com (via Twitter) hears that Bud Selig could step in and act as an arbitrator.

The Red Sox will announce their next GM at a presser Tuesday and it is expected to be Assistant General Manager Ben Cherington.  Meanwhile, Padres GM Jed Hoyer is expected to leave San Diego in order to assume the same title under Epstein.  Hoyer will reportedly bring assistant GM Jason McLeod along as well.

The Padres have granted permission to the Cubs to speak with Hoyer and McLeod, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times.  The Padres have a pre-agreed list of Cubs players to choose from as compensation and no other employees will be taken, Hayes tweets.  Meanwhile, San Diego won't officially christen Josh Byrnes as GM until after the end of the World Series, says Hayes (via Twitter).


Theo Epstein Rumors: Friday

The Cubs and Red Sox have been working toward compensation for Theo Epstein for days without resolution. The Padres are heavily implicated as well, since it appears likely that GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod will join Epstein in Chicago with Josh Byrnes becoming San Diego's new GM. Though today's World Series off-day would be an ideal time to announce an agreement, we'll have to wait if there's nothing for the sides to announce. We'll keep track of the latest rumors right here with the most recent rumors up top:

  • Commissioner Bud Selig has not yet interceded in the talks between the Cubs and Red Sox, tweets Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe.
  • The Red Sox and Cubs are working hard to complete a deal and there appears to be some progress, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (Twitter links). There's lots of optimism that the sides will complete a deal.
  • It's "doubtful" that the sides will resolve the deal today, according to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald.