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Red Sox and Cubs submit Theo compensation arguments to Bud Selig

Feb 13, 2012, 9:02 PM EDT

Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein speaks at a news conference at Wrigley Field in Chicago Reuters

According to the Associated Press, the Red Sox and Cubs have submitted written arguments to commissioner Bud Selig in regard to compensation for Theo Epstein.

The Red Sox say they were promised “significant compensation” after Epstein stepped down as general manager nearly four months ago in order to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, but the two sides never appeared all that interested in negotiating. And that makes sense given the awkwardness for all involved.

Selig has not provided a timeline for a final decision and considering that we still don’t even know what the playoff format will be this season, he presumably has more pressing matters on his plate at the moment.

  1. hammyofdoom - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:15 PM

    I’m curious as to how this will turn out. I mean trying to say how much a GM like Theo is worth in players is kinda like trying to equate real world goods to spacebucks from Spaceballs.

  2. pastortodd78 - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:18 PM

    As a Cubs fan I would gladly give up Alfonso as that serious compensation the Red Sox want.

    • hammyofdoom - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:28 PM

      Sorry but the Red Sox fans wont take the sharp stick in the eye along with the kick in the balls

  3. aaronmoreno - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    That Theo is one crafty sumbit.

  4. justthepeanutgallery - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:28 PM

    The Cubs argument that Theo is worth a bag of apples is almost insanity. Yes the Red Sox should have waited until compensation was agreed upon before letting him go, however we do not know under what pretense he was allowed to leave. If the Sox held him in Boston while demanding a top prospect and Chicago was balking, then they would look just as silly as they do now.

    The bottom line is that if you think Theo is worth 18.5M and you brought him to run the Chicago Cubs organization from top to bottom, then you clearly think he is worth something valuable. Pay up your fair compensation and move on as an organization.

    • kopy - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:56 PM

      On the flip side, if Boston let him go, why should Chicago give heavy compensation? If the Cubs flat out refuse to pay up, then what? Epstein goes back to Boston, and they re-hire him? Or would they let him go and the Cubs would hire him again anyway?

      • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:28 PM

        I’m not sure I understand what you mean….. That the Cubs should just say something to the effect of well he’s here now so now you’re not getting anything even though we made a handshake agreement to let him leave now so both organizations should move on? We all know he’s not going back to Boston. The Cubs did refuse to pay up and now its in Selig’s hand. It should have never gotten this far.

        The Cubs should honor their agreement. It doesn’t suit the long term interests of any team to be in a position of changing their agreements because the situation stands in their favor. As it stands now I’m sure their are other clubs that are looking on with interest here to see what kind of team that Ricketts and Epstein are exactly running.

      • kopy - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:54 PM

        What agreement aren’t the Cubs honoring? Obviously the Red Sox should never have let Epstein go if they weren’t certain of the return they were getting. They can’t blame the Cubs for shutting the barn door after the horse got out.

    • bigleagues - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:28 PM

      Did you help craft Cherington’s argument to Selig?

      Seriously! You just distilled what would be a very strong closing line to the Red Sox case.

      Nice work, legume. I’ve got my eye on you!

  5. mattjg - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    In my mind, Theo is writing a letter to Bud Selig about what a crappy GM he (Theo) is, and how he’s not that valuable so the Cubs shouldn’t give up much. Isn’t that the position he’s in?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      It’s more like Ricketts and Henry running the conversation.

  6. mashoaf - Feb 13, 2012 at 9:49 PM

    The Cubs should argue that Theo actually got a promotion since he is not the Cubs GM, therefore the compensation should be low.

    • bigleagues - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:38 PM

      The “promotion” seems to have come after Ricketts got permission to speak with Epstein.

      Meaning, when Ricketts negotiated the concept of compensation prior to being granted permission to interview Epstein it was thought that Theo would be making a lateral move with a raise.

      Additionally, Theo held 2 titles with the Red Sox GM & Senior VP. The difference between Senior VP, Baseball Operations and President, Baseball Operations is marginal at best. This was mostly a lateral move for Theo with a raise and responsibilities he would have had if Luchhino wasn’t between Theo and JWH.

  7. jason1214 - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:29 PM

    Wow people on here are nuts. Theo is an executive, not a player. Boston and their fan base are delusional if they think they’ll get something “significant”. Sorry sour grapes Sox fans, you’re not going to get Garza, Castro, Byrd, B. Jackson, M. Szczur, J. Vitters, A. Rizzo, T. McNutt, D Barney, etc, etc, etc.

    At best I could see RH Chris Carpenter, Jeff Baker or any # of Class-A players. And don’t give me the “Florida gave up two of their top 10 prospects” argument, Florida’s farm system is dog bleep.

    • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:40 AM

      Uhhhhm, yeah. Maybe you’re right.

      Then again maybe you don’t understand The Situation. And yes, after following this saga daily thru the end of Fall and into the early Winter and having spent several months pondering what exactly the hold-up has been, I have figured this all out . . .

      1) Ricketts asks the Red Sox for permission to interview with Epstein. Not one published report I have come across (and I have read more than I care to count from Boston to Chicago and in between) ever reported anything other than Ricketts wanting Theo in a lateral role (probably with a raise). Ricketts and Luchhino agree on parameters of compensation.

      2) Though not widely reported, Ricketts had interviewed others prior to meeting with Epstein, and as we all know, Theo’s interview knocked Ricketts ‘socks’ off. It is after the interview that the two sides begin to confirm something is afoot. We soon learn that Ricketts was so impressed that he wants to make Theo team President, with his initial primary focus on rebuilding the Cubs stable of talent. One problem . . . that pesky little compensation agreement. It was likely a simple legal memo, initialed, notarized and sent onto the Commissioners Office. That doesn’t go away just because Ricketts subsequently decides that Theo should be his President rather than the lateral move. Plus as I had mentioned previously, the difference in duties between Theo’s title in Boston (Senior VP) and title in Chicago (President) is negligible, at least at the outset.

      This, of course, begs the following question . . . in speaking at length with Epstein, did Ricketts realize his error in agreeing to compensation PRIOR to ever interviewing Theo and attempt to side-step the compensation agreement by naming Theo President – something that would likely have happened anyway? OF COURSE HE DID.

      3) After several weeks of will they/won’t they and endless (sometimes specious) speculation by pundits and fans from Causeway to the Midway and regions beyond the Red Sox release Epstein from his contract and he takes his new position on the North Side and Sawx announce Cherington as new GM/VP. Theo’s release came with the caveat that compensation would be decided between the two former co-workers. Which of course doesn’t happen. And it NEVER made any sense to me that Theo would negotiate his own compensation. He’s far too astute about public perception to have ever opened himself to ridicule. I am convinced that was a cover story for what was really happening. And what was really happening was likely a lot of legal arguing back and forth between Fenway, Wrigley and MOST OF ALL the Commissioners Office.

      Ricketts has been friendly with and sought out advice from Henry and Luchhino since even before assuming control of the Cubs. Ricketts is viewed by the Commissioner as being the panacea to Cubs demise and legendary World Series drought, just as the Henry, Werner, Otten, Luchhino were assembled to energize the Red Sox already rabid fanbase. The parallels between the two organizations are both astonishing and nauseating. Anyway, no one involved in this scenario has had anything to gain by airing specific differences publicly which, predictably, has led to endless speculation and hypothesis which I now submit have been mostly off-target if not completely naive.

      4) The Commissioner became the most important person in this saga the day the Red Sox agreed to release Theo from his contract and Ricketts named him team President. Resist the spin that the Commissioner’s involvement only occurred after Theo and Ben failed to agree on compensation. I’ll bet a bag of balls that only time Theo and Ben discussed compensation this past Fall was when Ben made good on his promise to fellate Theo for finally leaving.

      But the Commissioner has a legit stake and concern as Commissioner in the outcome of this seemingly endless dilemma. Once upon a time Managers made far less, on average than players. And now, on average, Managers are paid like back of rotation Starting Pitchers. Although the trend started prior to the Yankees late-90’s run, we mostly have them and Joe Torre to thank for the $6M per year Manager.

      As baseball’s ownership groups have transitioned over the last decade from Corporate owned to trophy assets of mega-rich individuals and their friends – Selig rightly fears a similar trend with deep-pocketed, major market teams like Ricketts and the Cubs poaching bright young executives from smaller market/revenue clubs who can ill afford to lose the astounding competitive advantage that the likes of an Andrew Friedman offers.

      THUS, the Epstein/Red Sox/Cubs saga is really nothing like the scenario between the White Sox and Marlins.In fact, in the eyes of the Commissioner, it is very much a different issue altogether.

      The reasons why compensation has yet to be settled is because it became apparent the Red sox and Cubs had reached an impasse and there were simply more pressing off-season matters for each club to attend to.

      With a nod to the priority of finalizing the Collective Bargain Agreement, the Commissioners office additionally needed to weigh all of the options presented and craft its decision so as to be as fair as possible to the Red Sox and Cubs but also in a manner that sets league policy which dissuades clubs from raiding front office talent from other organizations.

      Finally, having borne witness to the microwave coverage Compensationgate generated in October and November, we should have all realized several months ago that there was no way that Selig would announce his decision during the Hot Stove and risk igniting a chimney fire among the talking heads and fans in two of the games top seven largest media markets when there was little else to distract them. ( Similarly, I fearlessly predict that the Braun decision will be announced St. Patrick’s Day Eve – Friday night this year – just after rush hour, Milwaukee time. Half the country will be three sheets to the wind for the weekend and it will be Monday morning before anyone realizes what happened. )

      The Globe’s Nick Cafardo reported Monday morning (prior to the NBC Sports report) that the Red Sox were (off the record) ‘speculating’ that they will know the Commissioner’s decision prior to Spring Training. He also reasserts that the Red Sox brass let Theo out of his contract with the understanding with Ricketts that the Red Sox would receive a “significant” player. If there is a memo that supports this contention (as I believe there must be) then Ricketts better prepare for Hara-kiri (or Harry Caray as he may have something to say from the dead before this all dissipates into the new season).

      Why did the Red Sox clear out there only two major league Shortstop’s? Hmmmm, even I believe that Starlin Castro is a stretch. So I move onto the next most obvious outstanding off-season issue . . . the depth of the Red Sox Starting Pitching. HMMMMMM.

      I realize the knee-jerk in Chicago is not over my deep-fried hot dog! But if the Red Sox were indeed promised a significant player, and the Commissioner wants to set precedent/policy with regard to executive poaching then Matt Garza is the perfect player for Selig to make his point with.

      – Though Cubs fans need to believe otherwise to retain sanity, Garza is not quite an ace. He may yet be, but on virtually any contender Garza would, at best, slot in as a quality middle of the rotation Starter going into this season.

      – He will be 28 this season and 30 in his Free Agent season of 2014. The Cubs on the other hand are starting from scratch and while Garza would provide them with a quality trading chip down the road, Ricketts probably should have thought of that PRIOR to hiring Epstein.

      But with Garza coming off his best season, having already been play-off proven – here is the big question that seems hanging out there begging to be asked . . . if Garza is not a FA until 2014 why didn’t he and his agent demand at least a 2-year deal from the Cubs?

      More to the point, while I understand Theo had nothing to do with acquiring Garza, he is more than familiar with Garza and his makeup . . .

      “He’s a pro,” Epstein said. “And I think through all the media speculation, its important to remember how big a part of this team he is. He’s a rare, rare commodity. He’s a top-of-the-rotation-type starter. He’s proven it in the American League East. He proved it here last year in the National League Central. He’s playoff-proven. He’s a guy, when he has the ball, our team thinks we’re going to win that day. That’s important. You can’t underestimate the impact of that on a ballclub.” – Chicago Sun Times . . . just ten days ago.

      With all of that effusive praise, why wouldn’t the Cubs instead attempt to lock Garza up long term? Ya know . . . as their top-of-the-rotation type starter?! Surely entering his age 28 season with so little impact talent in the Cubs system, and having given up so much of what they did have in the way of impact talent in order to acquire Garza – it would seem to be prudent to have given Garza (if he were receptive) an early payday and postpone his Free Agency at least a couple more seasons.

      Perhaps both sides have taken a wait and see attitude, but if you were Garza would you want to be part of the Cubs 5-year plan back to relevance . . . or return to a contender ASAP?

      My bet is Garza is counting the days to Free Agency with no intention of hanging around in Chicago barring an epic series of heists and signings by Epstein and Hoyer over the next 24 months. Meaning, in the grand scheme of things . . . what good is having a 28-29 year old ace on a team that will more than likely lose 180 or more games over the next two seasons?

      One final way to look at it is this . . . who is more valuable to the Cubs? Garza or Epstein. A single Starting Pitcher or an Impact Executive with a championship pedigree and the power to affect progressive top-to-bottom organizational change?

      As justthepeanutgallery so succinctly put it . . .

      “The bottom line is that if you think Theo is worth 18.5M and you brought him to run the Chicago Cubs organization from top to bottom, then you clearly think he is worth something valuable. Pay up your fair compensation and move on as an organization.”

      And so while Hoystein would love to have Garza as a trade chip, there’s nothing he can do if Garza represents the Commissioners definition of ‘significant player’ as agreed to by Ricketts and Luchhino and who will serve as an example to other billionaire owners with their eye on another organizations Epstein.

      As Cafardo concluded Monday morning:

      “It’s astounding that this issue has gone unresolved so long. But because it has, it must mean the Sox will end up with a decent player.”

      When all is said and done, Lucchino may end up smelling like a rose in Boston with Ricketts smelling like goat.

      Garza to Boston for Epstein. Write it down.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:21 AM

        I seriously doubt the Commissioner will choose the Cubs best pitcher (or hitter) as compensation. That doesn’t even approach fair a fair deal. As good as Theo is at his job he is still MUCH more replaceable than Garza.

        I wouldn’t be surprised for it to be a minor league player or two (maybe McNutt and/or Jackson).

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        I knew this wouldn’t be a popular post . . .and I’m fine with that.

        Many of you may disagree with my contention that Garza will be the guy . . . and I may be – even more than likely to be very incorrect . . . however, my larger point shouldn’t be overshadowed by your disdain for my choice in appropriate compensation . . . the likes of Jeff Baker or Trey McNutt or Brett Jackson et al. cannot possibly be viewed as ‘significant’ compensation.

        Cubs fans should be prepared for the worst . . . that way if the Commissioner lives up to reputation as a jackass and does award an insignificant player as compensation – you can rejoice and laugh ceaselessly at guys like me.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:51 AM

        How would six years of control of 1-2 possibly average to above average MLB players not be significant return for an executive? Methinks you have significant and outrageous compensation mixed up.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        Alex K,

        Just so we’re clear – I have never seriously thought – nor written – that Selig would, under any circumstance, award the Red Sox Starlin Castro. Every team needs and exciting young star – and Castro is as rare a breed as they come . . . if he screws his head on straight he has a chance to be one of those once in a generation players you hope your team is lucky enough to land.

        Matt Garza on the other hand is not a once in a generation type talent. He is, however, very talented – still has plenty of upside and youth on his side. However, the Cubs are not a 1 or 2 year rebuilding project. This is a tear it down and rebuild from the foundation up project that will more than likely take the full 5 years to accomplish Thed Hoystein’s goals.

        Castro is a foundational piece. It’s scary to think that if all goes well, Castro will be just 25 years old as the Cubs should be beginning to bear the fruit of Hoystein’s rebuilding plan.

        Garza is not a foundational piece for the Cubs, as he will likely be entering his early/mid 30’s before the Cubs are seriously challenging for the playoffs.

        Yes, Hoystein could likely get a nice bounty for Garza come the trading deadline (if the Cubs are gonna deal Garza I cannot imagine them doing it at anything other than the trading deadline) that could significantly boost talent at the minor league level.

        But the bottom line is the Cubs are essentially an expansion team at this point in their rebuilding process. And while he gives Cubs fans something to root for every fifth day, the Cubs are likely to lose 90 or more games the next couple of seasons with or without Garza.

        What minor league talent they do have at the lower levels is arguably more important to the Cubs long term plans and goals than Matt Garza.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM

        Alex and methinks you don’t understand what constitutes ‘significant’ compensation. Significant isn’t an average MLB player . . . if the prospects Cubs fans would like to see the Sox get stuck with ever make the majors.

        As I have said elsewhere in this string today . . . ‘significant’ compensation isn’t a couple of mediocre minor league prospects that have little or no chance at ever cracking the Boston 24-man roster, let alone having an impact.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

        bigleauges- I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth about Castro, just pointing out the obvious.

        An established #2 starter is outrageous compensation for any executive. That is my point.

        I don’t think the Commissioner is going to look at the Red Sox MLB roster and think, “Wow, they could use another pitcher, I’ll choose the Cubs best pitcher as compensation.” If you think about it from that standpoint it seems crazy, right?

        Another reason the Cubs need to hold on to Garza is the return of prospects if/when they trade him. He is the best player they have that can help rebuild thier farm system. So the Commissioner sending him away for an executive would hurt the Cubs more than you are acknowledging.

        Look at this situation through any filter, besides a Red Sox centric one, and Garza is too valuable to be sent away for an executive.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        I said something about that below. Significant is a two way street. What is significant for one team can be ho-hum for another. What you are proposing is outrageous.

      • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM

        It seems to me that some Cubs fans believe that the team president/GM role can be filled by anybody. That’s fine. The Cubs didn’t think so when they agreed to a deal with Epstein. They identified their man and gave him what was necessary to sign his name on a contract. At this time the Cubs knew exactly what the Sox were looking for in return for allowing Theo out of his current deal.

      • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:45 PM

        @ Alex

        Selig isn’t going to be looking at the Red Sox roster to see what they need from the Cubs anymore than he is looking at the Cubs roster to see what is good for them to give up. He is going to read each teams letter defining their reasoning of compensation, or in this case the definition of ‘significant’, look at the list of deals or players each team proposed, and make a judgement. He isn’t in the business of team building and I bet he’s pretty ticked that it’s gotten this far.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Maybe some do, but I don’t. The reality is that an executive, no matter how good he is at his job, is much more replaceable than an established #2 starter.

        The Cubs obviously didn’t know exactly what the Red Sox wanted, because compensation hasn’t been agreed on.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:52 PM

        justthepeanutgallary- That’s my point. Bigleauges is looking at it like the process will be the Red Sox need a pitcher, the Cubs have Garza, the Red Sox get Garza!

      • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM

        Alex

        No I don’t believe BigLeagues is doing that. He has done a great job expressing his thoughts and breaking down his ideas.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        Alex, I have no idea how old you are, how long you have been following baseball, or how closely you have followed it. And ultimately our opinion means almost nothing. I don’t know what factors/qualities you place on judging the importance/effectiveness of a MLB executive. When we boil it down to the essentials, the only persons opinion that really matters with regard to Theo Epstein is Jim Ricketts. And Ricketts wanted Theo really bad. He wanted him so much, in fact, he halted the interview process and hammered out a compensation agreement in the event he would be able to convince Theo to take the job.

        That said look no further than the guy who Epstein succeeded to understand that who occupies the helm in any given front office most certainly can mean A LOT. It can be the difference between averaging 90 Wins per season and being a perennial contender or averaging 90 losses a season with no hope of seeing the light of day, no less the playoffs. Just ask Pirates fans.

        Hendry left the organization in worse shape than it was in when he inherited it.

        Finally, the business of baseball and building a contender has changed considerably over the last 10-15 years. There was a time that GMs and decision makers were thought to be interchangeable. That is no longer the case. Andrew Friedman is the best example of someone who may just be the most irreplaceable GM in baseball.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:12 PM

        Thanks for the support justthepeanutgallery!

        @Alex, truth be told . . . I had rejected the idea that Garza could or would be the Epstein compensation until very recently. Read my original post from early this morning if you have a chance and you’ll at least understand how I arrive at my conclusion – even if it ends up being completely wrong and you disagree.

        I gotto stop replying now as I have a Valentine’s cake to bake and my GF just came home early . . . and unexpected ;-)

        . . . and even then I’ll probably be checking in between ‘tasks’!

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:25 PM

        We can agree that our opinions mean nothing. At the end of the day this is all just a fun discussion.

        I think your missing my point, a bit. I’m not saying baseball front office executives/GM’s are interchangeable- that’s crazy talk. What I am saying is that no matter who the executive/GM is they are more replaceable than an established #2 starter.

        Here’s another thing I think we can agree on:

        There are rare physical skills that go into pitching a baseball that can’t be learned or achieved through any amount of practice/teaching.

        There are rare skills that go into talent evaluation and business operations that can’t be learned or achieved through any amount of practice/teaching.

        In my opinion there are a lot more smart people that could do Theo’s job almost as well as Theo than there are people that could do Garza’s job almost as well as Garza.

      • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        BigLeagues

        You’re very welcome. You have some great thoughts And the ability to put them on paper. You spent a lot of time writing and it’s the least anyone can do.

        For me, the value

      • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        BigLeagues

        You’re very welcome. You have some great thoughts And the ability to put them on paper. You spent a lot of time writing and it’s the least anyone can do.

        For me, the value of a GM is greater than a pitcher who ultimately has has a career record under .500 making 9m per. Theo’s successes (Big Papi, Ellsbury, Gonzo, Buchholz, strong drafts) and stains (Eric Byrnes trade fiasco, gorilla suit, Tony Graffanino arbitration, PIs following players) far outweigh what a 3rd starter can provide. It also irks me somewhat that this has gone on for so long and appears to be at the Cubs doing. Let’s hope this mess gets cleared up soon so both organizations and fans can truly move on

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:45 PM

        bigleauges- I read your long post this morning. It was very well thought out and stated. I see how you got to the conclusion you got to. I think you were looking at it with too much of an eye to what the Red Sox need, not what is fair compensation.

        I had another response that got lost in the interwebs to the interchangeable GM’s post. It was basically:

        There are more smart people that can do Theo’s job almost as well as Theo than there are people with the physical gifts to do Garza’s job as well as Garza. It’s not that I think front office people are worthless, I think they are more replaceable than an established #2 starter. I would guess that the Commissioner thinks the same. It seems obvious to me.

        The outcome of ths situation is probably going to be somewhere in the middle of what we both expect. This ended up being a very fun little distraction from work.

        Also, I appreciate that it stayed civil. HBT is better about that than most places, but there have been many times when even here it gets nasty. It’s nice to be able to disagree and not get called names.

  8. jason1214 - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    @justthepeanutgallery

    How exactly did the Cubs refuse to “pay up”? see LL, John Henry and the rest of the Boston management decided to make this personal to punish Theo for taking a promotion. The Cubs also know the precedent for this is not a “top” prospect, and never expected Boston to be so unrealistic in their demands.

    • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:50 PM

      Well they didn’t give any compensation for allowing him to leave his contract early. That’s where they didn’t pay up. I don’t know where you got this “punishing” from as Theo told the Boston front office that he as going to leave after his contract was done next year and John Henry understood this.

      I know Theo likes to cite precedent from a deal made 10+ years ago or so but that’s not exactly dealing with the current situation. Where you think the Florida situation has no bearing on this, I believe it has even more influence as Guillen is (I hate to say just) a manager and Epstein is overseeing the operations of an entire organization. If Chicago thought so little of that position they could have gave it to anyone instead of someone currently under contract, and in a situation where they had already starting talking about who or what was going back to Boston as compensation. They knew exactly what the Sox were looking for. To say otherwise is foolish

      • jason1214 - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM

        I don’t disagree with any of that, but it also doesn’t mean Boston is right in what they expect, just as the Cubs might be wrong in what they think they should give up.
        Thats the problem neither team can agree on “middle” ground which is why its in Bud’s hands.

    • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:12 AM

      Jason,

      If you truly believe that JWH and LL are somehow engaged in a vendetta against Theo because Tom Ricketts approached the Red Sox about interviewing Epstein then you either havn’t been paying attention to the non-fiction aspects of this saga or you’ve got an inside scoop that no media outlet has published (in a non-opinion piece).

      The fact is, as John Henry has repeatedly stated, that he knew the day would come that Theo would look to move on to a new challenge. That’s why as Josh Byrnes & Jed Hoyer departed Ben Cherington remained quietly in Boston, shadowing Theo in every aspect of job over the past couple of years. They knew that Theo would leave and the job was waiting for Cherington.

      Luchhino is and has been Henry’s right hand man. LL hasn’t gotten the pub that Theo has gotten in Boston but Luchhino accomplishments in modernizing every aspect of the Red Sox operations are innumerable & invaluable. Plus LL has an ownership stake in the team, so if he was going anywhere it would have to be his choice.

      As for Theo and taking the Cubs job – when you’ve been integral in ending an 86-year title drought to the point that the fanbase has to an extent morphed into obnoxious Yankees-type Fan (New England Edition), the chance to orchestrate that magic again – from scratch – doesn’t come around too many times a millennium. What Theo now has a chance to accomplish would go down as legend. And if you don’t think that JWH, TW and LL wouldn’t be beaming from ear to ear that their once hand-picked protege was the helm of not only the Red Sox return to prominence but the Cubs as well . . . then nothing I’m gonna say will ever convince you. Whether Theo succeeds or fails in Chicago, The Trio will come out smelling like a rose.

  9. Glenn - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM

    I heard that the Sox will get Garza, but only if they unretire #9 and give it to Garza.

  10. tone360 - Feb 13, 2012 at 10:56 PM

    @ Peanutgallery… What agreement did the Cubs not honor? Either you were there and you are withholding info or you are a little confused of the definition of the word “agreement”. I don’t mean to come of sounding like a jerk but obviously there was no agreement, just sayin.

    • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:07 PM

      Read the reports. The Cubs were told of significant compensation and names were exchanged. I’m certain, just like anyone is certain, they knew what the Sox were looking for.

      These are 2 highly regarded organizations. To think the word of the Cubs owner/management is worthless is pretty sad. The Sox didn’t think so then, I bet they, like other organizations, do now.

      • jason1214 - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:11 PM

        Again, if the Cubs were told of “significant” compensation and Cubs balked, the Red Sox, could’ve refused to let him interview. This is all nonsense, its NOT going to be 95% of the names that have been tossed around by media, not will it be in my opinion anyone off the ML roster.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:57 AM

        @jason

        HUH?!

        AGAIN, Ricketts and Luchhino agreed to the PARAMETERS of compensation PRIOR to the Red Sox granting permission to the Cubs to interview Epstein.

        It has been reported, ad nauseum, by everyone but apparently the Chicago media that the Ricketts agreed that if the Cubs proceeded to hire Epstein, the Red Sox would receive “significant” compensation. I’m no lawyer, but I do know they will spend an entire afternoon arguing the meaning of a word.

        Since so many people seem so hung up what “significant” means in the context of the Compensationgate, let us explore shall we?

        —————————————–
        Merriam-Webster.com:
        sig·nif·i·cant
        adj \sig-ˈni-fi-kənt\
        Definition of SIGNIFICANT

        1 : having meaning; especially : suggestive

        2 a: having or likely to have influence or effect : important ; also : of a noticeably or measurably large amount
        b : probably caused by something other than mere chance

        ——————————————–
        Dictionary.com
        sig·nif·i·cant
         [sig-nif-i-kuhnt]
        adjective
        1.important; of consequence.
        ———————————————
        World English Dictionary
        significant (sɪɡˈnɪfɪkənt)

        — adj
        1. having or expressing a meaning; indicative
        2. having a covert or implied meaning; suggestive
        3. important, notable, or momentous
        ———————————————-
        Thesaurus.com
        Main Entry: significant  [sig-nif-i-kuhnt] Show IPA
        Part of Speech: adjective
        Definition: telling, meaningful
        Synonyms: cogent, compelling, convincing, forceful, heavy, important, momentous, powerful, rich, serious, sound, symbolic, valid, weighty
        Antonyms: insignificant, meaningless, unimportant

        ———————————————–

        Therefore . . .

        Significant is not an untested ‘prospect';

        Significant is not a young utility player with limited upside;

        Significant is certainly not a replacement level player; and

        Significant is most definitely NOT a former All-Star with eroded skills on the wrong side of 35.

        In the context of the 2012 Boston Red Sox, a team with 3 MVP caliber and 10 perennial All-Star candidates, significant is not (no matter how much Cubs fans wish otherwise) Trey McNutt, Brett Jackson Jeff Baker, or Darwin Barney – who are, in the context of the 2012 Boston Red Sox, largely more in line with the antonyms to significant: insignificant, meaningless and unimportant.

        However,

        Significant IS meaningful, important, notable, of consequence, powerful, serious and “having or likely to have influence or effect”.

        At the ML level, in my view, there are only two Cubs who meet the standard of being ‘significant’ on their own: Castro and Garza. And while Selig can be unorthodox and a tad reckless with the integrity of the game, he isn’t completely batty that he would sacrifice one of the games most exciting young stars as Epstein compensation. So we all know that Castro is not in the discussion . . . even if he appeared on both lists.

        So that leaves Garza as the sole major league talent that would suffice the standard of ‘meaningful, important, serious, of consequence’.

        And I’m not so unreasonable I won’t leave the door open that Selig decides that two LEGIT prospects might wind up being the compensation (not the specious return which has somehow morphed into being characterized as ‘blue chippers’ that the White Sox got). So maybe it ends up being two from the following: Travis Wood, Josh Vitters, Javy Baez, Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, Dillon Maples.

        But the problem with assigning two prospects as compensation is the Cubs are very thin in terms of potential impact talent on the horizon from the farm. Which brings me back to Garza . . . if I’m Hoystein, and I’m weighing all the potential scenarios that could wind up being Selig’s decision – do I want the young, long-term controllable talent? Or do I want to keep Garza who really doesn’t fit into the rebuilding process – except as trade bait to further help replenish the talent barren farm system.

        Again, all of this doesn’t take into account what message Selig may want to send to the rest of MLB. And that ultimately may dictate how favorable or severe he is to both clubs.

        I’m sticking to my guns. Cubs fans are over-valuing Garza because Hendry gave up what was left of the farm to get him. That’s history now, and I guarantee that one way or another Matt Garza is pitching for another organization by 2014 . . . and perhaps as soon as March 2012.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM

        bigleagues- Didn’t you crap on your point of two prospects not being significant when you said that the Cubs would want the young players? Those years of control and upside are a lot bigger deal than you’re giving credit.

        In the situation you lay out you are only looking at significant one way. Jackson and McNutt are a significant price for the Cubs to pay. Jackson is pretty much MLB ready and McNutt had problems last year, but he wasn’t healthy all year, either. They both figure into the Cubs plans for the future. While that may seem insigificant to you it is very significant to the Cubs.

        You’re also ignoring that executives, no matter how awesome they are at their job, are much, much more replaceable than players.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

        Alex,

        No I did not crap on my own argument. You are failing to make a very simple, yet important, distinction . . . the Red Sox are not the Cubs.

        If we liken the 2012 Red Sox and Cubs to planets in the solar system – the Sox are Earth and the Cubs are Pluto (yeah, I know its no longer a planet).

        The Red Sox are already stockpiled with talent, have average overall talent in their farm system (but a wealth of low level talent on the rise) and despite missing the playoffs the past two seasons, have never the less averaged 90+ wins per season over the last decade, have won 2 World Series and despite the need to identify another reliable SP – are most certainly among the most prominent World Series contenders for 2012.

        The Cubs are none of those things. Although Law has the Cubs farm system ranked only a few slots below the Sox.

        Brett Jackson may be MLB ready . . . but even the most optimistic outlook on him has him being no better than an average ML OF. The Red sox have 3 of those – with far more ML experience, vying for time in RF already. So no thanks.

        And no one can seem to agree on what McNutt is or can be at the ML level. Jackson appears at the bottom of some Top 100 lists, but McNutt is nowhere to be found.

        Neither of those guys alone can be considered ‘significant’ compensation and even if they were combined, which could end up being Seligs verdict, it would still be a stretch to describe them as a significant acquisition by the Red Sox.

        Where we do agree is they are more important to the Cubs.

      • Alex K - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:07 PM

        bigleagues- And you’re forgetting that the Cubs are not the Red Sox. Like I said above significant to one can be ho-hum to another. An established #2 starter is outrageous to demand for an executive, no matter how god he is at his job. One is significantly more replaceable (hint- it’s the one in the tie).

  11. justthepeanutgallery - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Jason – Theo interviewed. The Cubs wanted him, he wanted the Cubs, and then they started talking about compensation so that he could go to Chicago. The Sox needed to move on with their off season as did the Cubs. The agreement was that the Sox would receive significant compensation once they came back to talking about what was being sent to Boston to complete the deal. That’s when Theo started his “precedent” comments and Cherington started joking that Theo doesn’t believe he’s worth as much as the Sox do. If you don’t think that Ricketts signed off on this then you’re fooling yourself.

    You’re right, however, when you say this is nonsense. But I’ll tell you this: No one will ever make this mistake again, and no one will ever think their contract or agreements with the Cubs are legitimate until the lawyers say so.

    • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:54 AM

      100% agree . . . rookie mistake by a sophomore owner. Somehow I think he and the Cubs will recover.

      One mistake in your chronology though . . . Ricketts and Luchhino agreed to the parameters of compensation PRIOR to the Cubs being granted permission to interview Epstein.

  12. nagrommit - Feb 13, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    The Yankees hired Jim Hendry. Isn’t that enough compensation for the Red Sox.

    • Panda Claus - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:22 AM

      Right before I read your response I was going to suggest to let the Yankees and Cardinals work out the compensation. Or at least maybe that’s what Selig should threaten to allow if the Cubs and BoSox can’t settle this thing by themselves.

  13. farvefromover - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:49 AM

    Watching the Red Sox and Cubs fans argue on here is like watching two bridesmaids fight over the last drunk guy at a wedding.

  14. IainRWB - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:28 AM

    Epstein was only under contract in Boston for one more year which will cap the value of any compensation.

    • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:09 AM

      Why? He was either under contract or he wasn’t. Whether it was a year or two isn’t really relevant.

      Ricketts and Luchhino agreed to the parameters of compensation PRIOR to the Red Sox granting the Cubs permission to interview Epstein.

      I can understand Cubs fans setting themselves up for disappointment, but to ignore the chronology of events and the reported facts doesn’t change reality.

      None of us really know which players are on the exchanged player lists.

      But the aspect of this case that everyone seems to be forgetting and Cubs fans seem completely misled about is the Selig factor. If he really wants to set league policy via example, then a significant player can really only be one of about 5 guys on the Cubs 40-Man.

      I’ll state it again . . . who is more valuable to the Cubs ORGANIZATION? An individual player (excluding Starlin Castro)? Or an impact Executive with a World Series pedigree and a track record of operational innovation and WINNING and with the ability to affect organizational from top-to-bottom?

      Easy answer for me and millions of Red Sox fans. . . Theo Epstein.

      • indyralph - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:11 AM

        “If he really wants to set league policy via example”

        If he really wanted to set an example, he would have acted swiftly and decisively weeks ago. All of Bud’s actions indicate he just wants this to go away.

        Your view of ‘significant’ is completely skewed by your focus on MLB rosters. When executives are talking about talent, they consider all levels. Any player who has a reasonable chance of making an impact at ML level is a ‘significant’ player to the organization. Suggesting that the bar for ‘significant’ is a borderline all-star pitcher with a reasonable contract is ludicrous.

        I’ll bet if you ask 30 teams if Brett Jackson is a significant player in the Cubs organization, at least 25 of them would say yes. That is the absolute upside of all of this for the Red Sox. I say this as a Cardinals’ fan who wouldn’t mind seeing the Cubs get royally screwed in all this.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:23 AM

        Again, why would Selig have acted swiftly and decisively weeks – even months – ago? To satiate us wannabe bloggers and sports writers who play pretend arbiter in their columns?

        Is Compensationgate more important and pressing . . .
        – Than the playoffs or World Series?
        – Than the CBA which likely occupied most of Selig’s time prior to the holidays?
        – Than the Braun PED debacle?
        – Than reviewing and signing off on all the contracts that have been signed in the last couple of months?
        – Than running through all the preparations, meetings, paperwork, etc . . . that the Commissioner must accomplish in order for Spring Training and most importantly the 2012 season to begin?!

        Uh, the answer is no. Does Compensationgate need to get settled? Yes.

        As for Cubs players that have a reasonable chance of making an impact at the ML level . . . they have exactly 3 players in Keith Law’s top 100 MLB prospects . . . with the highest being a player, Anthony Rizzo at 36th, who the Red Sox already dealt away for a truly significant player, Adrian Gonzalez. The next highest player on that list is Brett Jackson at 86.

        Not to go all big leaguin on you, but I was fortunate enough to learn a lot about how major league teams scout, evaluate value and project ‘talent’ because I was in two organizations at the AA level and interacting with players, scouts, coaches, managers and player personnel directors on a daily basis for 7 seasons.

        Trust me, ‘significant’ isn’t defined as “any player who has a reasonable chance of making an impact at the ML level.”

        By that standard anyone who playing regularly at the minor league level is just an injury or two away from the majors . . . but whether they have a reasonable chance of making an impact at the ML level is another bag of balls entirely.

        Of the prospects on Keith Law’s or any other Top 100 prospects list, only a fraction of them will ever make an *impact* on a major league roster.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        The above was supposed to be a reply to IndyRalph.

  15. IainRWB - Feb 14, 2012 at 8:09 AM

    It’s relevant because the cubs could have waited till next winter and signed Theo with no compensation due. So the value is only Theo’s worth to the Cubs *this season*.

    • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 14, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      It’s relevance lies in the fact that he is under contract. The amount of years that he is has no bearing. If Theo wasn’t allowed to speak with the Cubs they could have hired someone else to run their operations. If they decided to wait it would be different. But they understood the Red Sox position and demands and agreed to hire him this year anyway. This puts them on the hook for the compensation.

      • bigleagues - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:24 PM

        EXACTAMUNDO.

  16. jason1214 - Feb 14, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Wow, I’d say I struck a nerve. Its not going to be Garza folks im telling ya.

  17. birdman6824 - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Just my opinion, as a fan of no particular team, but baseball in general, Brett Jackson would be overcompensation. Significant starts below him and his peers

  18. hijackthemic - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Several people apparently did their doctoral thesis on this issue and posted it on this message board. Clearly a lot of them don’t have any experience in business. That’s the only way to explain this idea of “significant player” having some kind of meaning in this issue. That’s a buzzword on a blog you read kiddos, not something that means anything in a boardroom.

    You can all feel embarrassed in a week when the commissioner makes up his mind and insists the Cubs give two mid/low level prospects to the Red Sox. The compensation required is for giving Theo a year off his contract, nobody knows where the Sox got the idea that this would translate to a Major Leaguer, or even a top 20 prospect. Instead of thinking this through like an Xbox league deal between two teenagers, you all might consider that this will be a rather minor issue resolved by grown men. The commissioner isn’t giving the Red Sox any starting level talent.

    • bigleagues - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:16 AM

      HiJackTheMic:

      Excellent drive-by at the end of the thread.

      I don’t have to prove I was in the business, the Baseball America, Yankees, Giants & Eastern League Media Guides do that for me. Was I some hotshot in Player Development? Nope. But I did work more closely with the baseball side than most of the people at that level get a chance to. Downtime leads to a lot of discussions and a lot of learning. One refreshing aspect of minor league baseball is that there are very few coaches and managers who don’t love talking baseball virtually 24/7 (exception: when there are pretty girls within eyeshot). They are lifers in the truest sense of the game.

      I realize that attention spans aren’t what they once were in this age of soundbytes and a Twitter quips . . .but when the discussion around here continues to focus on who the Chicago media has speculated will be given to the Red Sox as compensation while ignoring all the other facts of this saga, and I’ve got the free-time I had yesterday, then I’m happy to reintroduce everyone to the notion of following the facts and making a conclusion.

      What I’ve surmised over the last several months is that Chicago sports media is much like the City’s politics . . . they put on a great show, but the truth – the reality – lay elsewhere. Since the Fall, one Cubs fan after another (and some NL Central flag wavers as well) have repeated the completely false and quite inane comment that John Henry is on a vendetta against Theo for taking the Cubs job. This ignores two key facts . . .

      1) Many YEARS ago (during Theo’s last contract renewal process) John Henry discussed the succession plan if the day were to come where Theo were to take another job. We have known for quite some time that Ben Cherington would be Theo’s successor . . . because as we have also known for some time, Larry Luchhino is not only the President – but an Owner. So while JWH would have rather that Theo stay on board, eventually every boy grows up to a be a man and wants to make his own name for himself. Theo was never gonna have that opportunity under LL and JWH knew and understood that. There are ZERO ill-feelings between the two.

      2) Since this is either under-reported or unreported in Chicago, as a public service, I’ll repeat this for what(?), a fourth time, in this thread and hope that it eventually sinks in . . .

      RICKETTS AND LUCHHINO AGREED TO THE PARAMETERS OF COMPENSATION P*R*I*O*R TO THE RED SOX GRANTING PERMISSION FOR THE CUBS TO INTERVIEW EPSTEIN.

      Now, allow me to provide some perspective and hopefully end the notion once and for all that the Red Sox are or have been unreasonable.

      Having leaned on JWH, LarryTom Ricketts approached the

      Ricketts is the Director of one of the largest financial services companies in the country and manages a billion dollar family portfolio.

      Larry Luchhino is a trained lawyer and experienced executive. He is John Henry’s person in charge. John Henry invented a system of trading commodities that grew into a billion dollar enterprise for him.

      These are men who not only know and understand the value of documenting business transactions, they have built BILLION dollar fortunes by doing so.

      To believe that the parameters of compensation reached between these two men is some verbal gentleman’s agreement and that the terms of that agreement having no bearing on the Commissioners decision is pure lunacy.

      MLB, by virtue of its anti-trust exemption, is a body of law unto itself. You don’t have to believe me, Google it. MLB, specifically the Commissioner, is the final word on 99% of baseball disputes. When something like Compensationgate arises, it is reviewed, studied, debated and opinions are authored by MLB attorney’s before Selig sits down to make his decision.

      ‘Significant’ in and of itself is not a recognized legal term. But that the Red Sox (specifically Luchhino) have maintained right from the start that the compensation agreed to with the Cubs in the event that they want to hire Epstein is “significant” IS – in a word – SIGNIFICANT. Again Luchhino is a trained lawyer. He has been reviewing and signing off on contracts his entire professional life.

      Releasing Epstein from his contract is NOT on a par with releasing Ozzie Guillen from his contract. The Managers market had long ago exploded on Managers salaries. Selig ( as a proxy for ownership) is concerned with the same happening for the new generation of young executives who, like it or not, have changed the way management makes decisions. And there are a handful of those young executives that are viewed as rockstars among their peers with Epstein and Cashman being the two most notable. While Epstein to Chicago is reasonably an apples to apples comparison in terms of both being large markets, what the Commissioner is concerned about, and wants to snuff out before it becomes a problem is the scenario that has (hypothetical example) Cashman leaving the Yankees and the Steinbrenners offering Andrew Friedman $10M per year and ownership stake in the team to leave Tampa.

      Take all the factors together and Cubs fans are deluding themselves into believing that two mid-level prospects will get the job done. I doubt the notion that the Red Sox ever agreed to take two mid-level prospects in exchange for Epstein.

      As I said yesterday, I concede I may be completely wrong, and I’m welcoming any all ridicule that comes my way as a result if I am . . . but I’m not gonna sit here and parrot the Chicago media speculation which is favorable to the Cubs to say the least . . . especially given the number of facts established elsewhere that have been left out of its coverage.

  19. sportsgoblin - Feb 15, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    The Cubs fans are referring to precedent, which has merit. There was a 2 time World Series winning GM that left his contract early to take a President of Baseball Operations job with another team. That was Andy MacPhail, leaving the twins for the Cubs, and the compensation was an A-ball pitcher (Hector Trinidad) with potential that never made the big leagues. The comparison to Theo and the two situations is directly on point. Legal decisions are often made based on precedent, so like I said this argument has merit.

    The Red Sox fans are hanging their hats on the fact that Selig said there would be significant compensation. Since Selig is the one making the decision, there is some weight to the idea that he won’t want to look foolish when he finally announces what this compensation is. But ‘significant’ is an ambiguous word in that it means very different things to different people in this context. Let’s say Selig gives the Red Sox the Cubs’ second round draft pick as compensation. Is that significant? Many Red Sox fans would say it is not nearly enough, while most Cubs fans would say it is too much. Make that the first round pick (#6 in the draft) and many Red Sox fans would still say it’s not enough, while Cubs fans would go ballistic.

    When urging the teams to settle this themselves, Selig mentioned that if he had to decide it, it was likely that neither team would be happy with his decision. While that may be true, I think it is guaranteed that neither fan base will be happy with what Selig decides.

    • bigleagues - Feb 15, 2012 at 11:20 AM

      That was 18 years ago. The MacPhail comparison is virtually irrelevant given the vastly different economic realities of baseball that exist now.

      And depending on the terms of the compensation agreement, may be completely irrelevant.

      • sportsgoblin - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:45 PM

        When making legal decisions, precedents are used that are often several decades old, so the fact that the MacPhail deal was 18 years ago is irrelevant. When people bring things to the US Supreme Court and are challenging the ‘constitutionality’ of something, they are comparing existing law to a document a couple hundred years old. Eighteen years is nothing. And nothing about the ‘economic realities’ of baseball make compensation of an A-ball player 18 years ago equal to a team’s best, major league starter now. Also, many of the techniques that Epstein used to improve the Red Sox have been closed by the new CBA, so his theoretical value has been decreased.

        To the other point, if something else was agreed to, then that is contract law and is a different matter entirely. If Ricketts actually offered a deal for let’s say Garza and under that premise LL let the interview happen, then this is an oral contract and must be honored. I have read nothing to indicate that this is the case, however. If LL’s only requirement was that he be ‘significantly’ compensated, then the very ambiguity of the statement renders it meaningless.

      • bigleagues - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:20 AM

        Sportsgoblin

        I agree with the last point you made and somewhat disagree with the rest.

        First your point about Epstein and the CBA is subjective and suggests that Epstein doesn’t understand how to deal with changing dynamics within the business of baseball. Any reasonable person would reject this notion out of hand as there is absolutely nothing to support that viewpoint.

        Second, I am fully aware of the vital role that legal precedent plays in our legal system. I wouldn’t expect someone to have read everything that I wrote on this over the last few days, but suffice it say you have fractured the totality of my argument to make your individual points . . . which is fine, but you seem to be missing some important perspective.

        MLB is the only professional sport in the United States which has a full anti-trust exemption. Because of this, MLB has a body of law unto itself, particularly when dealing with labor issues and disputes between franchises. Your point about precedent is well taken but misplaced. In ruling on this issue, Bud Selig is the judge and jury . . . and he can choose to base his decision on the MacPhail precedent or he may, as I believe, view it has having no real relevance in the context of the Epstein case.

        If you have been paying attention to the accounts of this case as closely as I & others have been, then you’d know that it has been reported that Selig is concerned about the Epstein deal opening a Pandora’s box of executive poaching.

        Context is everything, especially – for better or worse – during the Selig era.

        Selig is concerned because owners, particularly in smaller markets, have expressed concern that big market teams will come knocking for their hot young GM under the premise of a promotion. Compensation is agreed to and the GM is hired away becoming ‘VP, Baseball Operations’ for his new team . . . only problem is soon thereafter it becomes apparent that the VP, Baseball Operations is doing the same job with his new team he did with his former team as GM . . . only he’s making a lot more money . . . and all it really cost for that big market team was a couple mid-level prospects who likely will never have any impact at the major league level, if they ever make the majors.

        Not only is executive poaching problematic from a competitive standpoint, but left unchecked it would have the economic effect of inflating Executive salaries – something that MLB owners generally want to avoid. Who is more valuable to the Rays? Joe Maddon or Andrew Friedman? Friedman. Yet reportedly, Maddon makes more money . . . and Friedman is the one responsible for negotiating with Maddon.

        18 years ago, baseball revenue expansion was in its infancy. There was only a handful of million dollar per year field managers and virtually no millionaires in the GM’s office.

        Over the ensuing 18 years baseball revenues, franchise values and player salaries have risen exponentially – not to mention the sweeping changes that the sabermetric revolution has had on the way teams evaluate and value players. Assembling competitive championship caliber teams has also become more complicated . . . even specialized.

        From his Freshman year in college on Theo Epstein was groomed by Larry Luchhino to be a Major League executive. Epstein spent time in virtually every aspect of the business, especially Player Development, and even went to law school on LL’s advice. In other words the very best ML execs bring a very specialized and focused skill set to the table. They are no longer interchangeable parts and have FAR MORE value to an organization than two mid-level prospects.

        To liken compensation for Andy MacPhail to compensation for Epstein is to ignore all that has happened in between.

        As for whether or not this is an issue of contract law, again I reiterate that even if it is . . . it’s contract law within the parameters of MLB’s body of law and like it or not, Bud Selig – by virtue of the powers granted him in the MLB Constitution has the final word . . . and not a general court of law. So whether it was a verbal contract or a memo of understanding (which I virtually guarantee it was) really isn’t relevant so long as the parameters of compensation are clear and undisputed to Selig.

        And guess what . . . if the parameters AREN’T clear to Selig and he wants to make an example of the Cubs (or the Red Sox) he can do so unilaterally and without challenge (unless he loses the confidence of a majority of owners and is removed – which many of us have been wishing for nearly two decades, but sadly isn’t likely to happen).

        In any event, as I stated previously, Selig’s decision won’t hinge on the meaning of ‘significant’ as that word has no legal meaning. However, Luchhino has characterized the compensation the Red Sox expect to get as ‘significant’ and as a descriptive term that word does have meaning to Red Sox fans and observers. When we look at the definition of ‘significant’ (as I did way up above) it implies a top level prospect ready or near ready to contribute to the major league team or an established major leaguer. Two mid-level prospects with only

        As I, and others (justthepeanutgallery being most notable) have said countless times . . . if the Red Sox felt two mid-level exceptions was acceptable compensation and they agreed to that prior to allowing Epstein to interview with the Cubs we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now. The deal would have been settled and done with back in October. That the deal hasn’t been settled, that Larry Luchhino has gone on public record as stating that the compensation the Red Sox expect is per the agreement with Ricketts is ‘significant’ and that the Cubs have had virtually nothing to say (except on background proxy thru Chi media channels – calling Luchhino unreasonable) speaks volumes.

        Now which players would prompt Cubs officials to speak on background to Chicago sportswriters – no doubt in an effort to shape public opinion – and characterize Luchhino as unreasonable? There are only two individual players that would meet that criteria . . . Castro and Garza. I’ve already said there is no way Selig would ever sign off on Castro . . . but Garza is another case altogether.

        In any event, I have expanded my thinking since Monday though to include any combination of two of: Vitters, Castillo, Baez and maybe McNutt . . . but most likely to be Vitters and one of the others, if not Garza straight up.

      • sportsgoblin - Feb 16, 2012 at 11:13 AM

        Your point that Selig can unilaterally decide what he thinks is fair is well taken. He can. There is no appeal process beyond him.

        If you recall, Selig forced this deal to be done. The process was dragging on, with Theo in Boston while negotiations on compensation continued. The Cubs would have continued the standoff, essentially waiting out the whole year if that is what was required, at which point the compensation for Theo would be zero, since he would be out of contract. The Cubs were (and are) prepared to be not very good this year, and the distraction wouldn’t have really hurt them. The distraction might have hurt the Red Sox, who actually have something to play for this year. Selig forced the deal done to stop the ‘embarrassment’ to the league, effectively removing the Cubs from their high-leverage position. I doubt he would add insult to injury with a ruling that is too heavily on the Red Sox side.

        By virtue of Jed Hoyer being with the Cubs as GM, Epstein making more money, etc. this is clearly a promotion. If someone wants to say the Cubs want Epstein because of his GM skills, that’s fair, but that is often how promotions happen. You are good at X, so you get promoted to help us with X but to also do Y. This happens in other sports all the time, with assistant GMs becoming GMs elsewhere mid-contract with zero compensation, etc. To take a stance to stamp out promotions for management…not really sure that is a good precedent for Selig to be taking. The long-term implications could be more significant than he anticipates.

        And if significant is the word we are going after, it isn’t defined by what the Red Sox think it means. It isn’t defined by what the Cubs think it means. It is defined by what Bud Selig thinks it means. The fact that LL uses the press to promote his position and Tom Ricketts doesn’t is meaningless; they have different personal styles, with Ricketts preferring to be low-key.

      • bigleagues - Feb 16, 2012 at 6:58 PM

        sportsgoblin:

        There is absolutely some merit to your argument. However, while the process could have dragged on – there are two questions we all have to ask:

        1) So what if it did?
        2) What really created the hold up?

        My answer to 1) is this: from the Red Sox’ perspective it didn’t matter if the process completed or not. No one understands that this all business better than Theo. He signed that contract with the Red Sox and would remain under contract with the Red Sox until they released him from it or it expired.

        If Theo really did become embittered, then the Red Sox could have bought him out under the condition that he could not in any capacity do work for another MLB team for at least 12 months (or more if its allowable). And BTW, a lot can happen in 12 months to change Theo Epstein’s mind about taking the Chicago the job. What if LL, age 67 and notorious workaholic god-forbid had a heart attack or a stroke? Again, you don’t the success in business that makes one a billionaire by sitting around and hoping your top candidate will be available again 12 months from now.

        Even if the Cubs were gonna suck this year, could they really afford another year of standing pat or doing nothing? How would that play to fan base? Or would Ricketts have been forced to go back to the interview process that he abandoned after being allowed to interview Epstein? My guess is the former.

        Selig stepped in because MLB can no longer afford to have one of its most prized franchises – the games MOST LOYAL FANBASE (hands down) – as the most recognizable symbol of organizational futility in one of the country’s Top 5 economic/media markets. the Cubs could not afford to wait another year to make the kind of changes and restructuring that Epstein knows how to get done. But that’s where this was heading.

        Which brings us to the question 2) why did the issue of compensation begin to drag on? This really is everything.

        As I have nauseatingly trumpeted – the parameters of compensation should Ricketts want to hire (and Theo accept the Cubs job) were agreed to prior to permission being granted to interview Theo. We have only heard bits and pieces reported as to what that compensation could be.

        I’m under the impression, by all accounts I have read, that no player names were discussed during the compensation agreement phase of this saga. Rather, that Luchhino and Ricketts agreed on the level or qualities of a player that the two sides would feel comfortable with if the Cubs were to proceed with interviewing then hiring Epstein.

        If the only parameter was ‘viable serviceable ML SP’, then maybe not Garza . . . but certainly no one who has not yet pitched a Major League Inning would be at play here. So who? Ryan Dempster? He had OK season for a bad team and he has been durable, but at 35 I can’t imagine the Red Sox would have included him on any list. Randy Wells? Casey Coleman? Scrubs. Maholm, Wood, Sonanstine are new editions. Zambrano is gone. So that leaves Garza.

        There of course could be more to all of this that none of us have thought of . . . but I guess we’ll know soon enough.

      • sportsgoblin - Feb 17, 2012 at 8:59 AM

        Could the Cubs have waited another year? Well, of course. They are quite good at waiting. And ticket sales wouldn’t be too bad of a problem based on history at Wrigley Field. I suspect had the process dragged on, the next step would have been an end-run, where the Cubs hired Hoyer as GM, proceeded with the plan and then Epstein joins in as President when that deal is completed. A delicate tap-dance around tampering no doubt, but it happens with player signings all the time.

        I agree with you completely that if Ricketts promised X in exchange for Theo, then that should be that. If this were handled with players named in a memo, etc. we would be done by now. It’s possible that stupidly they both agreed to ‘significant’ and they both had different ideas in their heads of what that means. It is also possible that LL agreed to some lower level of compensation, let Epstein interview and get the offer and then suddenly raised his price, punking Ricketts. It’s also possible the Cubs, having gotten the guy they wanted and feeling they had leverage suddenly lowered their compensation offer. Short of Selig compelling them into taking lie-detector tests (which would make for great reality TV) I’m not sure how we find out the truth of this.

    • justthepeanutgallery - Feb 15, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      After having an evening to think about things I eventually came to the idea that we all may be looking at this the wrong way. While LL told the press that the Sox would in fact receive something ‘significant’, he may have just been posturing for the camera. Let me explain.
      Bigleagues makes multiple great points into the backgrounds of these men and I am certain that Mr Ricketts was made known of what they expected to receive in return for allowing Epstein out of his deal. Ricketts may have thought that Castro, Garza, money, or whatever was discussed was the going rate to hire one of these ‘Rock Star’ GMs and agreed to pay the compensation. Once he discussed with Theo he felt maybe this was too high and thats when they started looking for precedence in this matter.
      Andy McPhail is not a comparable situation for what resides here. No one knew what OPS was, and Barry Bonds was still a skinny cool dude in that time frame being referenced. It’s not the same. The baseball world has changed from the product on the field to the ways these organizations scout players. If your a Cubs guy or a Sox guy it goes back to the same thing…. If Ricketts agreed to pay then he should pay.
      Now I have added an element of speculation in this post and I completely understand this, but I am really believing that LL offered up the term ‘significant’ in lieu of names. I would bet money that Selig has a list of those names that were discussed.

      • bigleagues - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:35 AM

        justthepeanutgallery

        Good thoughts indeed, and not just because I agree with you!

        I took this all a step further today in a post I made under the Ozzie Guillen says Hanley is not yet 100% about 3B post . . .

        The Red Sox off season makes minimal sense if Compensationgate isn’t the first shoe to drop in a series of moves that Cherington has been teeing up since November. It makes no sense that they shed both ML SS’s in favor of two one-dimensional utility players. It makes no sense that the Red Sox didn’t go after one of the better FA SP’s.

        I can’t help but think there are some big, if not very interesting moves yet to come.

    • bigleagues - Feb 19, 2012 at 4:41 PM

      So there was a mini-development in this saga that I missed yesterday (and apparently no one HBT found compelling enough to post, but Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston had this to report:

      Red Sox Report
      Sox hope for quality prospect from Cubs
      February, 18, 2012
      FORT MYERS, Fla. — With the help of a major league source close to the situation, we can narrow down what the Boston Red Sox are asking for as compensation for Theo Epstein going to the Chicago Cubs.

      At this stage, the source says, the Sox are hopeful of acquiring one quality minor-league prospect from the Cubs. They’re resigned to not getting a major leaguer from the Cubs, and acknowledge it probably won’t be one of the Cubs’ premium prospects, like a Brett Jackson or Josh Vitters. But the source says the Sox are insisting on acquiring a prospect with a legitimate chance of making it to the big leagues as a contributor.

      The Red Sox expect a decision in the coming week, the source said.

      So it appears I am completely wrong on Garza but I may not have been too far off on my second guess of Vitters. We’ll soon see – but perhaps we’re talking Wellington Castilla or Dillon Maples (though his mechanics scare me).

  20. baboonman - Feb 15, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Wow…lots of great points on this issue…great reading.

    My feeling is that if the compensation was going to be a current Major League player it would have been done before spring training.

    As a Sox fan I like bigleagues assertion the compensation could be Garza. That would be fantastic…though I think that may be a bit much. My guess is Josh Vitters will be the compensation.

    • bigleagues - Feb 16, 2012 at 1:40 AM

      I don’t disagree with the notion of Vitters (and one other) being the guy. He is undervalued as a prospect and Epstein and especially Hoyer likely realize this.

      And if the Red Sox get Vitters I’m betting that Youkilis will be sent out of town soon thereafter . . . with Middlebrooks (who by all accounts is defensively a ML 3B right now getting a crack at the job and Vitters as a fallback (who needs some more time at AA and possibly AAA anyway).

  21. comeonnowguys - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    I still doubt they actually used the term “significant” at the time of the negotiation. And even if they did, they surely needed to lock in agreed definitions of what is considered “significant” beforehand.

    It is not the Cubs fault that the Sox had pang of seller’s remorse. Yes, the McPhail deal should serve as some frame of reference. I’d be surprised if a player above Class A was included with the package. Probably cash. Maybe a package of draft picks.

    And to those who question how on earth the Red Sox could be considered unreasonable, please point to the similar outrage in San Diego’s front office after two of their highest officials took what are basically lateral moves to join the Cubs and they did not receive Castro and/or Garza in return. Obviously some compensation is warranted, but let’s not get crazy here.

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