Theo Epstein appears headed to the Cubs to become their team president. The deal would be for five years and approximately $20 million according to reports.
Until it’s official, it’s not official. Let’s not forget, Theo got his job in the first place only after Billy Beane decided to come to the Red Sox then changed his mind.
But all indications are this process should be settled in 24-48 hours.
Do not expect lavish compensation from the Cubs or forcing them to take on a bad contract. Epstein does have a year remaining on his contract but is taking a better job. Precedent suggests the Red Sox get a few prospects.
Do expect Ben Cherington to swiftly be named GM of the Red Sox. He clearly has the confidence of the ownership group, the experience and the institutional knowledge to handle the job.
From that point, Cherington would lead the search for a new manager. Clearly, given what we now know of this team, they need a manager who can corral the wayward players on the roster into a cohesive unit. Or at least get them to pay attention to the game.
What will be most interesting is whether John Henry steps up at some point to address this situation beyond Twitter or the team’s flagship radio station. The perception is that the Red Sox are a team in chaos — which isn’t necessarily the case — and only Henry can change that. To date, he has not.
Finally, it speaks poorly of the prominent players on the roster that only Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to a lesser extent have been willing to step up and accept some responsibility for what happened. Extraordinary measures were taken to try and get Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Tim Wakefield, John Lackey, Jason Varitek and others to give their sides of this and all have so far refused.
The players likely think that this can all be swept away with a few “the past is the past” comments in spring training and vague promises to work hard. But in hearing from fans, it’s not going to be that easy. This has become a very unlikable team.
A big part of Cherington’s task this winter may be changing the personality of this team to whatever degree he can, both for baseball and business reasons.
As a first-time GM, he is inheriting a huge challenge.