Theo Epstein headed to the Cubs?

From Joel Sherman of the NY Post...

I am shocked, but in last 36 hrs every exec talk to says believe #Redsox will give permssion and Theo will go to #Cubs to be GM.

Obviously this is unsubstantiated and it could just be another Twitter rumor that winds up being debunked in the next hour or so, but for now it represents a surprising change in how people around baseball were feeling  just one day ago.  Such is the nature of news in the Twitter-verse.  I'll keep following his and update it when and if there is more information to follow.


At the time I warned that Twitter rumors can flame out just as quickly as they catch on, but people continue to stoke the fire on this one.  It isn't going away.

This morning there was this from Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe,

“The Cubs are obviously interested in Theo and the talk is not going away,’’ said a major league source yesterday. “I think it’s possible.’’

Abraham goes on to say that Team President Larry Lucchino and owner Tom Werner were evasive on the subject.  Lucchino would not deny that the Red Sox are willing to give permission for Epstein to talk to the Cubs.  Werner praised Epstein for his work but would not say if he was coming back.

Meanwhile Dan Shaughnessy, also of the Globe said,

It just keeps getting worse. The general manager has the look of a man who'd rather be working at Wrigley Field.

It's still speculation, but it's easy enough to squelch with a simple statement where the Red Sox could say, "Theo Epstein will remain with the Red Sox and we are not granting permission for him to talk to the Cubs or anyone else."

But it hasn't happened, so until then, we'll just keep stoking the fire.


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  • Since Tito news broke I have heard Theo tossed him under the ol' bus to management and that he did no such thing. I would want him less if the former was true. Whom does one believe?

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    I wish I knew...always hard to figure out what's going on behind closed doors. Everyone wants to make sure they project the right image.

  • If true, this would be huge beyond huge. I have respect for the NY baseball writers, they are regarded as the best and Sherman is one of the better NY baseball writers. I will wait and see, but if true than you will be have proven right John, Epstein got bored and needed a new challenge.

  • In reply to rodeosteve:

    That's why I gave this one credence. It's not coming from Bob Nightengale...Sherman actually has some credibility.

    I thought it was possible that Epstein would come here, but I wouldn't have bet on it. At any rate, I'm waiting until something actually happens before I start considering the implications.

  • Either way John, I think the smart thing to do is to make a decision soon. To give the new GM (whomever that will be) the maximum amount of time possible to blow this roster up and piece it back together.

    Do you think Francona can come along with Theo as well to Chicago. I dont think any Cubs fans would object to that. If they can do it in Boston, I would think they might be able to do it with a similar payroll in Chicago.

  • In reply to Curtis Shaw Flagg:

    I don't think they'd come together. There's been talk that Epstein wasn't happy with the clubhouse culture in Boston and that Francona was talking the blame from the front office. Not sure if that's true, but if it is then Epstein would have to look elsewhere.

    I agree that the sooner the better, but the Cubs will have some obstacles to overcome before they get Epstein in here even if the rumors are true. According to the tweet, they haven't gotten permission obviously they'd still have to talk, agree, then iron out details...

  • This is what my gut has been telling me. Just have that feeling. Theo would definitely welcome the challenge, and the opportunity to have complete control of baseball operations.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    You and dgedz were the only ones to pick Epstein as the guy they think will get the job. We should have done a pool!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    We should have. This would obviously be an amazing hire, but I was kind of looking forward to a freashed faced first time GM. Either way this is going to be one exciting winter.

  • In reply to ChiRy:

    If it does turn out to be Epstein, he's still pretty young. In fact, I think he's the same age as Cherington. You have to hope that the new challenge would refresh Epstein and he goes back to doing the things that made him so successful in Boston (not that they're unsuccessful now)

  • If he does get the GM job, I think the Cubs will go with less of a
    young movement in the near future. I hope I am wrong. Don't want any more high priced middle aged players. Gear for 2013 when more
    high priced contracts will be off the payroll and young prospects ready.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    You're probably right, but I honestly think that no matter who gets hired that the Cubs won't go with a full-blown youth movement. It's going to be more along the lines of filtering in 2-3 guys a year from the minors while supplementing it with acquisitions from outside the organization.

  • John,

    If Theo is indeed coming to Chicago, who would you expect him to bring with him to fill out the front office and to manage the team?

  • In reply to supercapo:

    I thought perhaps he and Tito had had a falling out, but according to Casey Stern, he didn't want it to happen. If Stern is right, I'd very much expect him to bring Francona here. As far as front office, I'm not sure who he'd try to bring. If Epstein comes here, it's almost certain they'd promote Ben Cherington and perhaps give Allard Baird more responsibility.

    The one area where he could make changes is scouting. Wilken is on a one year deal. Many teams have separate directors when it comes to amateur and professional scouting but Wilken does both for the Cubs...wonder if he could bring someone to either share duties or replace him. It depends on what Epstein thinks about Wilken, I guess -- but I wouldn't expect any major front office changes for 2011.

  • Well this would be marvelous.

  • fb_avatar

    MLB Radio's Casey Stern told me on Facebook that the Theo didn't want Tito gone. As for the Joel Sherman tweet, he is said it was possible that Theo had just had enough, but he didn't really know one way or another.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Interesting...that's different than I was hearing. If that's true that changes everything. We could well bring Tito.

  • I'm not a regular on your blog, but I will say that on August 17, in my post, "An Open Letter to Tom Ricketts - We're Dying Out Here," I "suggested" that Ricketts contact Theo Epstein. Not that he listened to me, but perhaps it vindicates me to the reader who labeled Cubs fans "stupid" for thinking that such a move was even possible.

  • In reply to John Chatz:

    Vindication! It's nice to be right. Apparently you were thinking along the same lines as Ricketts!

  • I would love for this to be real ... but if it's on Twitter ... nope.

    Please read ALL of this by well respected Dan Shaughnessy. Boston had become a mess according to this article. Lots of blame to be cast.

    Epstein would be great on a lot of levels - among them it would get the GM in place sooner rather than later ... so he and TR can get their heads together and begin to move some of the pieces around, on, and off the board.

    But Twitter ... respected NY Post guy or not ... nope ... and the tweet said "will give permission" not "HAVE given permission" ... not a tweet, peep, or breath since. Would be nice ...

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I don't think we'll hear much from the Cubs side if and when they bring in Epstein. I expect that if it happens, it will all happen rather quickly.

  • I still don't believe it, but these reports sure have set off a feeding frenzy in Chicago, Boston, and the baseball world, and I cannot help but think that it could help the Cubs in the long run.

    The Red Sox owners: "Tito, Theo and Ben Cherington agreed that the Red Sox would benefit from an improved clubhouse culture and higher standards in several areas." Now Cherington is part of the inner circle. Yet reports are that the decision came from owner Henry, leaving everyone else unhappy. If Epstein stays, maybe Cherington is more likely to go, having gotten a taste. And someone (OK, probably just Olney) added that the Cubs could possibly choose between Epstein and Friedman.

    In any hire, you make up a list of candidates, interview them, and rank them. And then, often as not, the final decision is based on who really wants the job. The pool seems to get deeper from the mess in Boston; and that has to be good.

  • In reply to bruno14:

    it's looking more and more possible but I'm going to temper my expectations a bit -- probably a natural defense mechanism when you're a Cubs fan!

    Cherington has been very much involved in that inner circle and it seems he's getting more responsibility all the time. He's ready to be a GM, it's just a matter of whether it's with the Red Sox or someone else, but it seems to me more and more likely that some change is going to occur in the front office in Boston -- but I never thought it was going to be that Cherington might stay and Theo might leave.

    The more this goes on without anyone squelching the rumors, the more real this possibility seems to become.

  • Since speculation is permitted, even encouraged, on this site, I have questions:

    If TR is granted permission to speak to Epstein, and an agreement is made for Epstein to be the GM, would the Cubs have to provide some sort of compensation, ala the Marlins for Ozzie? If so, what do you think that compensation would be?

  • In reply to CubsFanInNorway:

    Geez...I don't even want to think about it! If the Marlins gave their #3 and #4 prospects, you'd think the Red Sox would ask for more.

    Those prospects, though, aren't really expected to be starters so I would hope it wouldn't be anyone like Brett Jackson. I would expect pitching...McNutt, Carpenter, Dolis, Gaub?

    Boston likes their New Englanders so maybe Jeffrey Beliveau?

  • For everyone who pines for Epstein ... I offer you the following ...

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    I'll take a repeat of Epstein's track record of success here in Chicago,though, wouldn't you?

    I imagine if Epstein starts giving indications that he's going to leave, then the negative PR campaign will continue.

  • John:
    Normally I try to keep it reined in out of respect for your blog, which I find to one of the best written and most thoughtful on the internet - but right now all I can add is 'OH GOD PLEASE LET US GET THEO!!!!!'

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    ROFL! I know the feeling! I'm trying to keep expectations low but it's getting realistic enough now that it would be disappointing if the Cubs missed out on the GM wunderkind. Cubs fans have had less reason to be hopeful the last couple of years, but this would change everything.

    And thanks for those kind words!

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