Could Theo try to get the band back together?

Now that Theo Epstein is almost officially a Cub, the next step is getting the band back together. Though Theo was the front man, the Boston model was never a one man show. First on the list appears to be Jed Hoyer.

According to Gordon Edes, Epstein and Hoyer are very close.  Their working relationship is said to be one where different ideas are thrown back and forth rather than a passive kumbaya session.  Hoyer is his own man who isn't afraid to speak up, and that's a good thing for Theo and the Cubs.

Landing Hoyer shouldn't be as contentious as getting Epstein.  The Padres owner Jeff Moorad is said to be good friends with Tom Ricketts so negotiations should be much more amicable.  Additionally, Moorad is close with AGM Josh Byrnes and would have no problems bumping him up to GM.  Many feel Byrnes may have been the scapegoat in Arizona and even say he was fired simply for not firing manager AJ Hinch.   Considering Moorad's friendship with Byrnes, it isn't a stretch to think that he believes he deserves another shot at GM and is willing to clear that path.

Another name to keep your eye on is Jason McLeod one of the VP/AGMs on Hoyer's staff.  He joined Theo's staff in Boston in 2003.  In 2004, he was named Director of Amateur Scouting and he is the man credited with some of the outstanding drafts early in Epstein's tenure.  His first draft included former MVP Dustin Pedroia and his drafts were consistently ranked among the best in baseball by Baseball America.

It's unknown whether McLeod is being considered along with Hoyer or whether he was just an alternative to him.  It's also uncertain what that would mean for Tim Wilken, who is currently the Cubs Director of Professional and Amateur Scouting.  Epstein is believed to be high on both Wilken and Oneri Fleita (Farm Director and the Director of International Scouting) and it's expected that he will keep them both.  However, the Boston model entails more specialized roles, whereas the Cubs have typically kept it lean in the front office, so we an expect that some roles will change.

Epstein has agreed to come because he will have complete control of baseball operations, so I look for him to divide up some of those responsibilities.  It's possible Wilken and Fleita will have their roles changed where they will focus on a particular area rather than try to cover a large spectrum of duties. That is, of course, speculation, but it stands to reason that if Ricketts and Epstein are going to follow the Boston model, they aren't going to have one guy wearing multiple hats.

Everybody will have a clearly defined role and there will be room for collaboration amongst the people filling those roles.  The increased communications amongst departments is simply a better way to do business than the Cubs have done in the past.

The man who shouldn't be forgotten here is Tom Ricketts himself.  He's the man who's footing the bill for all of this to happen, the guy who brought Epstein in specifically so he can install this model.  In that sense, because of the cooperation with an ownership that cares about winning, Epstein will have a greater chance of succeeding than Andy McPhail ever did.

It's an exciting time to be a Cubs fan.  It's a new era, one where the Cubs are becoming a first rate organization with top people, top facilities, and a communication structure that is much more modern and specialized than any we have seen in our lifetimes.  Nothing is guaranteed but it appears the Cubs may be well on their toward building a winning organization.

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  • Will be really interesting to hear the full chronology after the facts all come out. The Padres communications--assuming they exist, which everyone is--have been extremely close to the vest, which does indicate amicableness. I wouldn't expect that to be so easy, though, as I am sure the Padres have no more interest in looking like chumps than anyone else. And we all know the cliches about doing business with friends. You are right, though, that this is an exciting time. And I say now, in the glow of the off-season, it will even be much more entertaining to watch the Cubs next year, knowing the wheels are spinning properly in the background at last. (not that any of this will make watching Soriano play left field for three more years any easier).

  • In reply to johnbres2:

    Agreed the Padres don't want to look like chumps, but the difference here is the word fair.

    Boston didn't want to be fair, they wanted to profit. The Padres are more likely to want to seek fair value. That alone should make it easier. The fact that they are keeping this discreet and not leaking to the media already makes those negotiations (if they exist!) much more professional and business-like.

    And hopefully the Cubs eat Soriano's contract and move on...but thank God it's going to be Theo and maybe Hoyer making that decision!

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    "MLB already has told the Cubs that they can have a news conference on Friday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation." ~ Bruce Levine

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Woohooo! Great news and I'm glad this is almost done. Front office will be key, then manager, then on to the players...which I think we are all looking forward to!

  • It will be interesting what the Cubs new chain-of-command will
    look like. I hope everybody will in place for the Cubs
    "Organization meeting" in early Nov. What plan they come up
    there will be a blueprint for their future.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Couldn't have said it better myself!

  • The future is now!

  • Wait til this year?

  • Finally!! This is coming to an end and the Cubs can move forward. Like you said John, the Red Sox were never interested in being fair, they wanted to come out this the unquestioned winner in the negotiations . It's clear they are pissed off Theo is leaving and wanted to gouge the Cubs. The Padres are a different matter, Jeff Moorad and Byrnes are friends, going back when Moorad was the President of the Diamondbacks when they hired Byrnes. The whole Byrnes to the Cubs thing seems to have been plan B if the Cubs did not get Hoyer. I love the idea of Theo getting some of his old Boston crew back, like I mentioned before that Red Sox front office from 2003-2008 might have been the most talented ever

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Reports on compensation are: no major leaguers, no BJax, No Szczur, No McNutt. Still some guys I'm terrified to lose, but looks like it should be something resembling fair in the end.

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    This set up is better for the Cubs, and it is bettter for Theo. As PBO he doesn't have to deal with the everyday grind of the GM. It leaves him free to oversee the whole of baseball operations. Although, I could see Theo and Hoyer splitting some of the everyday duties so that neither gets burned out.
    I think that bringing in more staff and specializing while still having some cross over will produce better decision overall.

  • Also, Levine reporting that there will be "no compensation for Hoyer". Really? That can't be right can it? I know both sides would like to get that done, but that wasn't what I expected.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    I saw where Kaplan was speculating that it was McNutt who will be going to the Red Sox.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I saw that too. If I were the Red Sox, I would want Rusin. He seems the most polished and ready to go.

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    In reply to dgedz27:

    True, he is more polished, but Rusin doesn't have as high a ceiling. He is a poor man's Jamie Moyer in his prime at best. McNutt gets comparisons to Roy Halladay at that age because of very similar build and stuff.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    McNutt's more like Ricky Vaughn right now...can't find the zone. Velocity bounces all over the place too....not to mention durability issues already. High Ceiling yes, extremely low floor too. With all the thunder they got over there, I want 6 solid innings of 3-4 run AL ball...that wins you 15 a year with the Red Sox.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Saw that too but he was just speculating. He's been great so far but looks like Levine may have source this time

  • Epstein: It's 106 miles to Chicago. We got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.
    Hoyer: Hit it!!!

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    In reply to Zorb:

    That is so awesome Zorb. I loved that movie.

  • In reply to Zorb:

    Lmao, Zorb!

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    "It has been determined jed hoyer will go to chicago with theo and be #cubs gm. not sure epstein trade finalized yet tho 3 minutes ago" ~ Jon Heyman via Twitter

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    Nick Cafardo and Mike Silverman are both reporting that Red Sox sources are telling them that there is no deal, and they aren't close. Maybe we all just got jerked around again?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Sawx leaking with agenda again, as usual

  • Word is McLeod is coming WITH Hoyer...

  • That's what I heard too, the old gang IS coming back together, minus Byrnes. As for the stuff coming out of Boston.....I don't believe anything coming from there at this point.

  • Can you imagine the pitch Ep threw out at his homeys?

    "You guys ready to make history, again? Who's with me?"

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Absolutely! They've got to be looking at this as a great opportunity to recreate what they did in Boston. The environment is ripe for change, they just need to bring in the right people.

  • Lester Munson is saying the Cubs are giving three prospects up. Anyone else reporting this?

    http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/sports/mlb/cubs/theo-epstein-chicago-cubs-deal-boston-red-sox-general-manager-announcement-20111020

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Nobody that I've seen. Not sure how to feel about it. If it's three guys then it's probably lesser quality...i.e. no Jackson, Szczur, or McNutt.

  • Such signs of optimism, I can hardly stand it. Time for me to get up from the couch, throw away the potato chips, dump out the beer, discard the Twinkies, put out the cigarette and open up the blinds. Time to open up the windows, get a haircut, shave, get on the treadmill, eat fruits and veggies, take the blood pressure meds, and realize that maybe it COULD happen in my lifetime after all.

  • In reply to kansasblackhawk:

    Hilarious! It's going to be tough getting used to this.

  • I must say, I used to have a lot of respect for Boston. Not so much anymore. They are run by a couple of creeps. All of this propaganda, and smearing that's going on. Nothing good coming out about their own club, just smearing other people and the Cubs. Peter Gammons is really looking like a fool. The Cubs have been 100% business and have been extremely professional. Where his Red Sox are acting like spiteful little babies.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    I think the Red Sox arrogance will be their downfall. Big market or not, I could see that team taking a dive in a few years, if not sooner

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree. To say this absurdity has hurt the Cubs is flat out idiotic. No wonder Theo jumped at the chance to come aboard.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Yeah, the Cubs don't look like they're hurting, do they? They just got 2 more top executives!

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Agree totally and really disappointed in Gammons especially. It was obvious he was a Red Sox homer but I didn't know he was a Red Sox tool.

  • In reply to kansasblackhawk:

    It's crazy. Gammons has been beating his anti Cub drum for a while now too. When the Cubs extended Fleita, he jumped right on the Score and was bashing the move, saying no GM is going to want to go to the Cubs with an owner that's making decisions like that. Between that, calling the Cubs farm bottom 5 in MLB, calling their actions absurd etc..etc.. it's obvious the man's got an agenda.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    We all knew the Fleita extension didn't matter here, though!

  • Gordon Edes reporting it's done...

    Hoyer coming here to join Theo, Byrnes GM in SD

    And Edes is a Boston writer I trust.

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    Kaplan is now backing off his article of last night.

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    This is interesting.

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/10/angels-met-with-andrew-friedman-.html?utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=twitterfeed

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If Friedman goes to LA, I'll be shocked.

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    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2011/10/epstein-to-join-cubs-soon-hoyer-to-follow.html

    "2:18pm: The deal is done, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com (on Twitter). Hoyer will join Epstein in Chicago and Byrnes will become the Padres' new GM."

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    If true, then doesn't Henry look the fool. Can you say "dysfunctional?" Good! I knew you could!

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Good to hear Michael, let's hope this is the real thing this time!

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    Eades is reliable. I wish we knew about the compensation.

  • Looks like the Cubs players going to Boston still have to clear their medicals.

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    In reply to dgedz27:

    Yeah, Kaplan just tweeted about that, and he specifically wrote "players," but which ones is all I care about right now.

  • Gordon Eades is the only writer from Boston I really respect now anyway, so this looks done. I'm sure in the next couple of days we will hear of more Epstein proteges and/or other people coming here. I think the Cubs will give up 3 "decent" prospects instead of 1 or 2 really good ones, sounds okay with me. As a franchise , the Red Sox have lost my respect, the way they trashed Francona and tried to screw Epstein and now, badmouthing the Cubs. I'm sure it was them who were saying the Cubs were amateurs in negotiation and that Crane Kenney was really in charge ,when we know Randy Bush was involved as well. This kind of hubris behavior has a way of blowing up in people faces, and it will for the Sox in the coming years. As for Peter Gammons, he's turned into a willing tool for John Henry and Larry Lucchino.

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    In reply to Steve Flores:

    Steve, I think, when this is all said and done, it's going to be a long time before the Cubs and Red Sux have any sort of dealings again. To much unnecessary minutia has gone on because of the way this was handled by Henry and Lucchino.

    I told John going into this last week that I could see the Cubs and the Red Sux making some deal that would help both teams, but I don't see how that is possible now.

  • Neither do I Mike , the Red Sox's slash and burn philosophy is really pissing me off. Epstein, knowing how the Red Sox treated him, will not be so eager to deal with his old team again. This whole deal will leave a lasting bad taste the Epstein and Ricketts mouth.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Who's all rooting for the Yankees now over Boston? Never thought I'd ask that question!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I am. I hated everything Boston besides the Red Sox before. I'll just add them to the list.

  • In reply to dgedz27:

    Me too...actually I'll be rooting for Tampa first...and Toronto because I think they can contend next year...then Yankees.

  • Just to clear up guys...

    Jed Hoyer is done deal. Epstein is almost done, player(s) getting physicals. You gotta like dealing with SD!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Would still be nice to know who the players. Does that mean Vitters isn't one of them since he was playing today?

  • In reply to CubsBullswin:

    I'm not going to rule Vitters out, but I doubt he's in it. Not Boston's kind of player anyway. The only reason I can see them taking him is just to save face and say they got a top Cubs prospect.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    CubsBullswin...also want to add that Boston's best prospect, Will Middlebrooks, is a 3rd baseman...I'm thinking more and more it's not going to be Vitters.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's true good point plus as you said he not the type of player they like. Tho I still doubt Vitters ends up at 3rb base in the long run.

  • John, you are really doing yeomen work in these trying days for cub fans. It sounds like I will have a press conference to tape tomorrow after all. Patiently waiting for the names. Wonder if Ricketts will have this chapter in his autobiography. You should be glad your running this and not working for those people in Boston.

  • In reply to Leo the Lip:

    Thanks Leo the Lip. I have my eyes peeled for those names, so as soon as I get them I will let you guys know. I'll write a comment here first and then a write up on the prospect(s) we gave up soon after.

    I am glad I don't work for Boston. I'd have to be a schill and write whatever they tell me to write.

  • You better John or Larry C will bitch slap you! I have a feeling that one of the prospects will be sort of surprise, a person who we didn't think of.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Me too

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    BTW , I meant Larry L will slap you.....I really need spell check.

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    According to Levine via Twitter, it won't be Jackson, McNutt or Szczur going to Boston.

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    It seems pretty evident now that Hoyer was coming to the Cubs all along regardless of what happened with Epstein. We also can be fairly sure that Ricketts interviewed Hoyer when the Cubs ended the season out in San Diego. It seems to me that Ricketts kept this in his back pocket and pulled it out at the most opportune time. Perhaps he anticipated difficulties with Boston more than we thought he did. Once the rumors about Hoyer got out and started to pick up steam, Boston didn't have a leg to stand on. The Cubs could have walked away from the negotiating table and left Boston to pay Epstein his $7.5M.

    Kudos to Tom Ricketts!!!

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    And they still can walk away. It's appearing more and more like, once again, we've had the rug pulled out from under us. I'm hearing that, every time the Cubs people think they're close to wrapping this up, the Red Sux people come back and demand something they've already been told the Cubs are not willing to give. It's a negotiating tactic of the looter and moocher, and if you are parent, you recognize easily. The idea is to where the opponent down. You can patiently hang tough and wait it out for a while, but at some point, enough is enough, and you've had your fill. At that point, you either give in or give up, if that is a viable option.

    I'm not for giving up on Theo becoming PBO, but I don't think it would be a bad idea if Ricketts went ahead and sowed up the deal with Hoyer and the Padres and had an announcement and press conference tomorrow at Wrigley Field. I think doing so would have a positive affect on the negotiations with Boston, and if not, then getting up from the table and walking away is at least a realistic option. At this point, I'm all for burning the Red Sux, even if it means we don't get Theo for a year.

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