It appears the Cubs finally got their boy. Multiple sources are reporting that Theo Epstein will be leaving his role as the General Manager of the Red Sox and joining the Cubs to be the President of Baseball Operations. The announcement should come at some point today, while the World Series has a day off for travel. This deal has been stuck in neutral for nearly two weeks while both sides bickered over compensation. The Red Sox, in typical drama-queen fashion, asked for the moon in compensation.
Reports state that the Sox originally asked for Starlin Castro. When Cubs owner Tom Ricketts laughed in their faces (you know he must’ve), the Red Sox countered by asking for Matt Garza, the Cubs best starting pitcher. I’m sure this caused another bout of laughter for Ricketts, who again rejected the offer. So the Red Sox then asked the Cubs to take the contract of John Lackey along with Epstein. Of course this offer was rejected as well.
The final compensation will be a package of prospects that might include Trey McNutt or Matt Sczur as the center piece. The Cubs top prospect, Brett Jackson, is not believed to be part of the deal. Cubs fans should be ecstatic about this. Not only are they getting one of the best front-office minds in all of baseball, but they also will be giving up nothing more than a probable relief pitcher to do so. And that’s only half the news.
ESPN Chicago and ESPN Boston have both confirmed that Epstein’s first role as President of the Cubs will be to hire Jed Hoyer as his General Manager. Hoyer currently serves as the GM of the San Diego Padres, and before that he was the Assistant GM and Scouting Director under Epstein in Boston. Those two are responsible for gathering much of the young talent currently on the Red Sox roster. Both ESPN outlets are reporting that the Cubs will not be required to pay any compensation for stealing hiring Hoyer.
The North Siders are the lovable losers. That’s how they’ve always been pictured. They’re just happy to be there, wherever there may be. Over the last two years though, attendance has dropped. Fans are no longer packing Wrigley Field to watch subpar baseball. Ricketts has seen the writing on the wall, and he’s taken an aggressive means to fix it. Most fans probably didn’t see this hard-line stance in him, after the way he sheepishly kept Jim Hendry on board last offseason. I think we all can disregard our previous notion of the Cubs owner. Ricketts set out on specific targets this offseason and landed them, acquiring two of the top baseball minds in the game. Theo and his band (reportedly former Red Sox and current Padres assistant GM Jason McLeod is joining Hoyer in Chicago) are getting back together. This is the regime that turned things around in Boston, and now they’ll be handed the same task in Chicago. If I were a Cubs fan today, I’d be rejoicing.