10/18 Waiting for Theo, Day 7

On Oct. 27, 2009, a travel day during the World Series between the Yankees and Phillies, the Cubs held a news conference at Wrigley Field to announce the Ricketts family had completed the sale of the ballclub. MLB discourages teams from announcements during the World Series but made an exception for the Cubs that year. Could that happen again so the Cubs can name their next general manager?

One week ago, reports surfaced that the Cubs and Red Sox GM Theo Epstein had agreed in principle to a five-year deal. But Epstein has one year left on his contract, and the two teams have been discussing compensation and who, if any, of his staff can accompany him to Chicago. The two teams can set their own deadline to complete negotiations but Game 1 of the World Series between the Cardinals and Rangers is Wednesday night. No news conference was scheduled Tuesday for the Stadium Club at Wrigley Field.

The Red Sox apparently are trying to restock their pitching in the Minor Leagues. There were reports the Red Sox aimed high and asked for starter Matt Garza as compensation but the Cubs rejected that option. Boston was believed to be targeting right-hander Trey McNutt, who was currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League. A 32nd-round pick in 2009, McNutt battled blisters and a bruised rib cage this season at Double-A Tennessee and was 5-6 with a 4.55 ERA in 23 games. McNutt, 22, was 10-1 with a 2.48 ERA in 25 starts at Class A and Double-A in 2010.

Another arm in the mix could be right-hander Chris Carpenter, a third-round pick in 2008, who pitched in relief at Tennessee, Triple-A Iowa and briefly with the Cubs this season. But Chicago doesn’t have much depth in the system, which was evident this past season when the Cubs lost Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells to injuries after their first starts and struggled to fill their spots in the rotation.

There is some precedent. In 1994, after agreeing to terms with Twins GM Andy MacPhail to become president and CEO, the Cubs sent Class A pitcher Hector Trinidad to the Twins as compensation. Trinidad never made it to the big leagues.

Interim GM Randy Bush has handled the Cubs day to day operations the last two months, but there are decisions to be made once the World Series ends. Free agency begins five days after the final out. The Cubs staff also is on hold. Manager Mike Quade is under contract for 2012 but only hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo is believed to be signed for next year. The others have contracts that expire at the end of October.

In Epstein’s nine years as GM, the Red Sox won two World Series and reached the postseason six times. What’s that worth? Friday is a travel day for the Cardinals and Rangers. Perhaps Cubs and Red Sox followers will find out then.

– Carrie Muskat

8 Comments

It’s not worth a single prospect. It would be a mistake to allow a spoiled franchise extort prospects from the Cubs for a general manage they do not want. The Cubs need to hold firm. If they give up a single prospect it would be a mistake indicating that nothing’s changed. That the Cubs are incompentent as ever. Given time, the Red Sox will cave. They can’t afford to have a lame duck general manager return for next season.

I disagree, We are talking about one of the better GM’s in the game that knows how to build a team from the ground up. He has one year left on his contract so the Red Sox deserve something back. It would nice if it was money but the Sox clearly want prospect. Come to an agreement thats fair to both teams like the White Sox and Marlins did and everyone can move on.

Jose you are right in that the cubs can’t have a lane duck GM next season…. thats why they need to get this deal done. You are wrong in saying the Red Sox don’t want THeo… they absolutely want Theo but Theo just wants to move on while the time is right for both him and the organization. The cubs giving up a couple prospects is not a deal breaker… we can rebuild the farm system thru the draft

I want Theo Epstein as GM, that’s not my argument. Although, you give him too much credit. In the five years prior to Epstein’s arrival the Red Sox finshed second every year. They had 92, 94, 85, 82, and 93 wins in each of those seasons. Theo Epstein did not build the Red Sox from the ground up. He took an already competative team and made it better. He faces a greater challenge with the Cubs. Let’s not make his job any more difficult by giving up prospects.

is Trey McNutt going to be on the roster anytime soon? I would think Theo could find someone of similar value else where…. Jose you are also talking about 82,94,85, 82, and 93 wins in the toughest division in baseball….. not a valid point IMO… giving up prospects is the least of our troubles!!! Better prospects can be brought in by spending more money on draft picks… just like Ricketts did this year. Great move IMO…. Ya the farm needs rebuilding but you don’t do that by trading for spects or NOT trading away spects to improve the Major League club. YOu do everything you can and afford to if it benefits the ML club

Boston was a lot closer than the Cubs are but by saying he built the team from the ground up I mean he drafted superstar players, developed them, and they had/have an impact on the ML team. Cubs havn’t had a guy. Everyone knows hes not a sure bet and will win the WS but IMO hes the best guy they could have got and judging by what Boston is asking for, Boston thinks the world of him too.

Hendry already gave up quite a bit for Garza. And it seems like a good (albeit rare) trade for Hendry. I’m glad he left the organization on high note instead of a disastrous one. With that said Garza must now be considered a non-touchable commodity and building block along with Castro. Other than those two (and Jackson…?) the Cubs need to roll the dice in order to get Epstein who will be able to improve the major league club regardless of who is left in the minor leagues. Now is not the time for the Cubs to pretend they have as much leverage as the Red Sox. The Cubs’ minor leaguers have not been known to make dramatic impacts in the major league. If any of them go to Boston and become stars, good for them, I don’t think we fans will feel cheated considering what Epstein brings to the table.

GET IT DONE!!!!!!!!!

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