A report out of Chicago says the Red Sox and Cubs are having “contentious” talks regarding compensation for Theo Epstein.
CSN Chicago quotes a source saying, “Larry Lucchino is one of the most unreasonable people I have ever dealt with and because of his frayed relationship with Theo Epstein he is looking to make a point at the expense of Theo’s happiness and his desire to go to Chicago. I didn’t believe that ownership group for one second when they said that they wouldn’t stand in Theo’s way if he wanted out of Boston. They are furious that he wants out and they are trying to make a point.”
That report could not be verified.
1. Ownership never actually said they wouldn’t stand in anybody’s way. John Henry said it was protocol to grant permission to allow somebody to talk to another team about what would be a higher position.
Henry also revealed this during his radio takeover yesterday: “There was an initial conversation before formal permission was granted. I can’t go into the specifics of what’s going on.”
2. Business is business. Epstein has a year left on his deal and is walking. That means compensation. Epstein is considered one of the best GMs in the game and was signed to do his job through 2012. The Sox have every right to be compensated for his loss and to make it hurt if they want.
The “Theo and Larry don’t get along” narrative is an old one. Lucchino’s job is to represent the interests of the Red Sox. Obviously negotiations have ups and downs.
As was written here yesterday, the Sox have all the cards. Ben Cherington is running the baseball operations department and appears to have the full confidence of ownership. They can let Epstein and the Cubs stew as long as they want.
In the end, a deal gets made. Cubs owner Tom Ricketts would lose all credibility in Chicago if he can’t get his franchise savior in place.