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GM Notes: Theo deal "basically done", Hoyer, Kenney, Gammons

GM Notes: Theo deal "basically done", Hoyer, Kenney, Gammons
Epstein and Hoyer

Time for some early morning news and notes on the Cubs GM soap opera.   Some of the news is conflicting, but the stuff I heard and read late in the day indicates that the Cubs are finally on the brink of making this all official.

  • I seemed to spend much of the day making my case on why the Cubs shouldn't be so quick to hand over top prospects as compensation.  It began with Rosenbloom and was fueled by Peter Gammons, who said that McNutt would be the 25th ranked prospect in Boston's system.  Apparently he forgot that BA had the Cubs system ranked slightly higher than the Red Sox.  Prospect experts Jim Callis of BA and Kevin Goldstein, along with the site Fangraphs all disagreed with Gammons.
  • Gammons also caused something of a flap by suggesting that the Cubs were represented only by Tom Ricketts and Crane Kenney, and that they had no knowledge of the Cubs prospects.  The implication was that the Cubs were unprofessional and that Kenney was holding up negotiations.  There are two things that make me highly doubt the accuracy of that story.  The first is that his assessment of McNutt and the organizational strength of both teams was so ridiculously off base that you have to wonder where he's getting any of his information and secondly, he works for NESN which is basically an arm of the Red Sox empire.  I have no problem believing Kenney was there, but it was almost certainly for the business end of the spectrum.
  • Despite this bump in the road, Cubs fans should soon be able to exhale.  There were reports from multiple sources throughout the day that the Cubs had made significant progress in the compensation negotiations.  David Kaplan tweeted this late Wednesday night...

@thekapman: I just spoke with two excellent sources on Epstein negotiations and it appears deal is basically done with announcement of agreement tmrw.

  • John Morosi of Fox Sports tweeted...

(@jonmorosi) Source believes #Cubs -- #Padres talks are going smoother than #Cubs -- #RedSox.

  • Morosi's tweet, of course, added some fuel to the fire that the Red Sox, specifically Larry Lucchino, were the real cause of the delay and that the Padres were much easier to deal with.  It's also been said that Ricketts has a much closer relationship with Padres owner Jeff Moorad than he does with Red Sox ownership.  Moorad is also said to be very close with Josh Byrnes, so he could be okay with letting Hoyer go so that Byrnes gets his opportunity to be a GM again.

Well, it looks like this could all get resolved by tomorrow sometime and we can move on to more on the field concerns, although there will certainly be some front office positions to be filled.   There will also be that certain little matter of the Cubs managerial position to address.  Stay tuned.

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    Something tells me the ice has thawed and this is the real deal.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Agreed. Seemed that some kind of breakthrough was made and then it went smoothly from there.

  • I was very skeptical about Hoyer coming over, especially since it was Heyman who first broke the story. Now it not only looks possible but probable. What a coup it would be if TR can pull this off. One of the things that always bothered me about the Cubs was their small front office staff. It looks like TR is finally going to do something about it. Hopefully he doesn't stop with Epstein and Hoyer. Keep 'em coming!

  • In reply to Zorb:

    Who'd have thought Heyman would hit on one?

    Agreed about the small front office. There was a time when Hendry didn't even have an AGM (or a baseball man above him).

    And yes! Keep them coming, the more sharp minds the better. Hopefully they see this as an opportunity even if it's not necessarily a promotion.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Think Coppolella is still a possibility?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    I'd say he's a serious longshot at this point. Same kind of thinker, but Epstein looks to be rounding up people with whom he's had previous experience.

  • I have to admit, though I am still a Andrew Friedman fan, getting Hoyer, sounds just as good. Boy, I am getting real excited now, and can't wait to see the Cubs develop into a perennial winner!

    It really sounds like TR is going to take us to the promised land! Kind of hope it happens before the world ends in 2012, but hey, oh well. ;)

  • In reply to pkm613:

    Friedman would have been nice too. There were a lot of guys I liked...Coppolella, Cherington, Hahn...

    But it's hard to complain if it's Epstein and Hoyer. Looks like they're getting the band back together...or at least part of it. Can't wait to see how they fill out the rest of the staff.

  • It sounds like it's finely going to happen. Hopefully the Cubs didn't give in and, end up giving to much. I also hope once they decide to hire a new manager that it is Ryne Sandberg.

  • In reply to CubsBullswin:

    I have a feeling it was a pretty fair deal in the end. Very curious to see what compensation will be too.

    I'm not sure on Sandberg. I still think he's a long shot even with the past Theo connection. It may be more likely they give him a coaching position.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I would be ok with the coaching position. If it was meant to groom him for the job a couple years down the road.

  • In reply to CubsBullswin:

    Sandberg has the advantage of having worked with all those prospects who will soon make the majors. You have to figure he'd be an asset. Also a stickler for fundamentals, something you want with younger players

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Thats for sure. I'm sure we'll all know soon enough.

  • Gammons saying the Cubs system was a bottom 3 in baseball also pissed me off a little, along with pretty much everything else he said. It's not elite, but it's not terrible, and it's already on the upswing. I told you this before John, but I hope Ricketts get's plenty of credit when it is time. When this minor league system is the best in baseball, I hope Ricketts finally gets the acknowledgement he deserves., because it has without a doubt started with him.

    Unrelated question for you John. Do you know anything more about the 90+ mil baseball complex in Mesa that is about to get underway? What will it allow the Cubs to do that most franchises cannot? Will it be used the other 10+ months of the year?

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    Gammons had some bad info all around and it was refuted by a lot of prospect people. Fangraphs wrote that McNutt would be the Red Sox top pitching prospect at the upper levels (which is what I said as well).

    I don't know much about the complex unfortunately other than it's a 30 year deal. Most of the articles I could find on it had to do with the political aspect of pushing the deal through.

    I think the main thing to consider is that the Cubs will now have a first rate, modern facility. The idea is that it will make it a better place for the players and fans and help boost the Cubs image as a class organization.

    Here's a piece from Mesa...though it doesn't really give a lot of specifics.

    http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/mesa/article_4cefc77e-f942-11e0-86f9-001cc4c03286.html

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    This isn't all of it ... but it's a start ...

    http://www.mesaaz.gov/bettermesa/pdf/cubs/MOUQA.pdf

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    a little more detail ...

    http://www.mesaaz.gov/engineering/pdf/Cubs/CubsMOU.pdf

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Thanks for finding that Moneyboy!

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    cool, thanks guys

  • I'm disappointed in Peter Gammons, I thought he was better than that. Sounds like he is nothing but a mouthpiece for the Red Sox. As for the deal being done, I'm glad and also not surprised. I kind of thought cooler heads would prevail. The Jed Hoyer coming over does have me excited, like people have said, Epstein IS trying to get the band back together.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    I think what this really shows is how out of touch Gammons is. He may have even believed what he said was accurate. Who would have disagreed with him had he made that statement a few years back. The backlash that he got was great and shows that the belief around baseball is that the Cubs are for real. Gammons probably couldn't name five prospects in our system. Time for TR to make him eat his words.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    Peter Gammons has gotten lazy, pure and simple. He took his "sources" with the Red Sox at their word. he did not do his research, bad journalism.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Gammons is so emotionally tied with the Red Sox now and you have to feel he's every bit as ticked off about losing Epstein as they are. That picture I used for this article actually had Gammons in it but I cropped him out. I was trying to make Epstein/Hoyer the focus but Gammons really rubbed people the wrong way on this one.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Disappointment was the word that came to my mind. The guy who spoke yesterday wasn't anything like the guy I remember growing up admiring as a baseball writer.

    Waiting for this to become official so we can see who's next in the front office.

  • Is it better not to give up a very young prospects like Lake, since
    we don't know what his potential is. Is pitching what Boston is
    really after? If so, who can the Cubs afford to give up.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It seems that they are after pitching, especially guys at AA or above. McNutt is the highest ceiling guy we have at that level so as of this morning that still seemed to be the guy they had targeted. Whether they got the Cubs to agree is a different story.

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    I see there is still no word on what players or how many $$$ are going to the Red Sux in the compensation package.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    No word yet, though I heard this morning the Red Sox were focused on McNutt toward the end.

  • Peter Gammons is personifying the classic Rolling Stones line "What a drag it is getting old." Gammons used to be A baseball fan's must read. His Sunday notes column was not only trend setting, it was the most insightful column out there. he truly invented the term 'Baseball insider". But now.....Yeesh. If you follow him on Twitter, which I do, you'll occasionally receive a tweet that suggest Gammons just had a stroke or he's sitting on his phone....they're really weird looking tweets. He's also way off on his info. Such a shame.

    What made the Gammons comments kind of appalling is that usually he's all about both sides of the argument. But from these comments he clearly took one side's ( the Sawx....) comments from some source he trusts and just ran with it.

    Whatever. This thing is obviously wrapping up....Yee hah!

  • In reply to felzz:

    Yes! I was a big fan of Gammons growing up for all those reasons. But I wouldn't have been a fan of the guy I read about yesterday. It was biased, possibly even agenda driven. Even people like Goldstein, who has made no secret of his admiration and debt to Gammons, could find no common ground with what he said.

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    Did Phil not get the memo?

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/baseball/cubs/ct-spt-1020-selig-cubs-chicago--20111020,0,564302.story

    This story may be right, but it flies in the face of everything else that is coming of Chicago and Boston. I also see it came out after the stories saying there was a deal in place. I'm going to guess that he wrote this yesterday morning or afternoon, and he was just to lazy to change it, or he is taking the risk that he is right just to say "I told you so."

    I will say this. His source's opinion as to why Lucchino held this deal up had occurred to me, but they don't jive with what we know about Lucchino.

    "Larry needs somebody to tell him it's OK to make a deal," said a baseball executive closely following the negotiations. "He is in a tough position. He can see the Cubs winning the World Series in a few years and doesn't want to be Harry Frazee, who sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees."

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Looks like Phil's a bit behind the curve on this one!

  • John:
    You alluded to a manager change - you don't think Theo is going to stick with Quade? What about if Quade gives him a cool nickname? :)

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    Excellent point! Theo may have to think twice about keeping Quade with a good nickname...but judging from Quade's poor season and lack of popularity, it's going to have to be one of his better efforts.

    I'm thinking the front office changes are coming first, at least a guy or two with whom Theo feels comfortable. One of which, could be Hoyer, of course.

  • Sure seems like the rough water has been ridden, regardless of Gammons assertions, he was really good in his day but those days are gone. He always was a Sox guy but like mentioned earlier was able to be "balanced", think he was trying to add some insight into the negotiations, sorry Peter, TR knows where he's going. Look's like the "stars are aligning", wow Theo, Hoyer, and, and,. How cool could this get to be! Guess I've got to say it , TR really doesn't need my help.

  • In reply to daddyo:

    Good time to be a Cubs fan. Best in my lifetime, anyway!

  • As I stated yesterday, I won't believe ANY of this until I hear and see the press conference.

    On a side note, John. I think Cubs Den is one of Thee Best Cubs blog out there on anything CUBS related. You've done a great job. I enjoy reading your blog and I don't understand why I continue to read Rosenbum and the other dim-wits at the Trib with their poor editing. Keep up the excellent work my friend.

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Thanks Lokeey! And I don't blame you...I'm not quite ready to exhale yet!

  • After reading the Gammons article, I had to sit and wonder what he writes is even credible information. The following statement rubbed me the wrong way a l'il bit. "The absurdity has hurt the Cubs..."

    Gammons needs to stay retired. The information he writes is just as bad as his lisp!

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