SBD/October 14, 2011/Franchises

Epstein Deal Held Up As Cubs, Red Sox Discuss Compensation

In deal for Epstein, Cubs are expected to give Red Sox cash or minor league players
The "slow process" of Red Sox Exec VP & GM Theo Epstein moving from Boston to the Cubs continued Thursday "as representatives of the teams discussed compensation," according to Abraham & Cafardo of the BOSTON GLOBE. The Red Sox are "expected to get either cash or two or three minor league prospects in return" for Epstein. The "quality of those prospects could be tied to how many front office staffers are allowed to accompany Epstein to Chicago." Once Epstein's move "becomes official, the Red Sox will name" team Senior VP & Assistant GM Ben Cherington as his replacement. There are "no indications that the Red Sox will be able to unload a bad contract on the Cubs" as part of the compensation package (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/14). Sources Thursday said that Cubs Chair Tom Ricketts "is handling the negotiations with the Red Sox regarding players who possibly could be exchanged." The Cubs "could send cash or a combination of players and cash." The Cubs reportedly "will not surrender any" major league players (MLB.com, 10/13). WEEI-FM’s John Dennis reported Thursday was "not a good first day of negotiations." Dennis: "My understanding is, from a couple of baseball sources here in Boston, Ricketts is talking about doing it with cash and the Red Sox are talking about doing it with prospects” ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 10/13).

THE REPLACEMENT: YAHOO SPORTS' Tim Brown noted Cherington was first hired "as an intern in 1997." Cherington, 37, "has served the club in many capacities over 14 years, the past three as Epstein’s lead assistant" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/13). ESPN BOSTON's Gordon Edes cited a source as saying that Epstein "has yet to inform most of his staff whether he is headed" to the Cubs, "despite widespread reports that he has accepted a five-year deal to relocate." Edes noted Epstein "has always valued a strong core of trusted voices around him, so it would seem a given that he will seek permission from the Red Sox to take a couple of people with him" (ESPNBOSTON.com, 10/13).

OWNERSHIP SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED: ESPN’s Gene Wojciechowski called Wednesday's Boston Globe report a “smear campaign" against former manager Terry Francona and added Red Sox ownership "should be embarrassed by how this is shaking out." Wojciechowski: "Do you think if the Red Sox had advanced to the playoffs, we would have ever heard word one of this? Absolutely not. A smear campaign happens when something goes wrong and somebody has to blame somebody. Sox ownership is blaming the wrong people.” Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said Red Sox management has “decided to turn on their own.” The information in the Globe article “had to come from someone within the organization,” and management is “trying to dismiss their own role with what’s happened with the Red Sox” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 10/13). WEEI's Dennis called the current atmosphere around the Red Sox a "cesspool" and said that could have impacted Epstein's decision to leave the team. Dennis: "I think he looks at this and says this may be a longer fix than I’m willing to get involved with” (“Chicago Tribune Live,” Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 10/13). Meanwhile, in Boston, Bob Ryan wonders, "Has one amazingly awful month undone the good work of the previous seven years?" Ryan writes Red Sox fans "now realize they were asked to root for what has been revealed to be an unrootable team. So will it be instant forgive and forget when we all reconvene next April for the Fenway Park 100th anniversary season?" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/14).
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