Gordon Wittenmyer is reporting that the Cubs chose to exercise their 2012 $16 million option for Aramis Ramirez. However, it's a mutual option, and Ramirez will reportedly decline it, in hopes of finding a deal for more years from a team in free agency.

After making it sound like there's no way way he'd be a Cub in 2012 just a few months ago, Ramirez recently said that he'd be open to returning to the team, as he likes the changes that are occurring in the front office(not sure if you heard but they have a new President of Baseball Operations, General Manager, and other fun stuff), and the direction the organization appears to be headed.

Exercising the $16 million option was a no-brainer for the Cubs. Ramirez has made it known that he intended to test the free agent waters, as he'd like to sign a wealthy multiple year deal with a team while he still can(he'll be 34 next June). If he were to sign with another team, the Cubs will now get compensatory draft picks in return.

Had he exercised the option, well, having a .900 OPS-ish third baseman around at $16 million for a year certainly wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. And had he exercised the option and the Cubs chose to decline it, they would've had to pay him a $2 million buyout.

Do I think Ramirez will sign a new deal with the Cubs? No. Theo talks over and over about wanting to build for a 5-7 year run, rather than just "going for it" for the following season or two. The Cubs are, in all likelihood, at least a couple of years away from competing, and Ramirez will be in his late 30s by that point.

Additionally, the Cubs at the moment have arguably the worst defensive roster in baseball, and Theo is a huge believer in good defense. Ramirez was dreadful defensively this season, and that's certainly not going to improve with his quickness and reactionary time at the hot corner only to diminish with his age.

Instead, look for the Cubs to find a cheaper option for third base in free agency(Edwin Encarnacion maybe?), or see what's out there in the trade market.

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Yep, That's a Cubs Shirt...in St. Louis

Posted by Michael Castillo | 10/27/2011 11:48:00 PM

Unless you are living underneath a rock, you know what happened during Game 6 of the World Series. So with the Cardinals' David Freese being the hero in both the ninth and eleventh inning, the latter coming via the home run, it was fitting that the game-winning ball would be a must-have for Freese. Naturally, he gave the fan who caught the bomb a signed bat and a picture with him and his friend.

Yeah. So this guy's buddy may have one-upped Woo Woo for the title of most embarrassing Cubs fan. Seriously, bro?

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Cubs Fans: Here's Your New ID (Obstructed View)

It's been no secret that Theo Epstein planned to have the Padres' Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod join him in the Cubs' front office. And just a day after Epstein's introductory press conference was held at Wrigley Field, the Cubs made the hirings of Hoyer and McLeod official:

The Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres jointly announce today that Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod will leave the Padres, effective immediately, to accept positions with the Cubs. The Cubs have agreed to send the Padres a player to be named later as compensation.

Both the Cubs and the Padres intend to hold press conferences after the World Series. The Cubs intend to announce Hoyer as Executive Vice President/General Manager and McLeod as Senior Vice President/Scouting and Player Development, while the Padres intend to announce Josh Byrnes as Hoyer's successor.
Source: Cubs.Com

As you can see in that excerpt, the Cubs will send the Padres compensation. The compensation will be one player, which is believed to be a low-level minor leaguer.

Hoyer became the Padres' general manager in 2009, and immediately hired McLeod to his staff to be assistant general manger. This is after the two worked under Epstein for many years with the Red Sox, and were members of the Boston front office during the 2004 and 2007 World Series title years. They're each very good friends of Epstein, and come from the same baseball school of thought as him.

Oneri Fleita(Vice President of Player Personnel/Farm Director) and Tim Wilken(Scouting Director) will keep their jobs in the Cubs' front office, and will report to McLeod(who will report to Hoyer). The Cubs have had one of the smallest front offices in baseball, and Epstein wants a very large group. The more good baseball minds around, the better.

Much will be made about Hoyer's job title, as the general manager is traditionally the one responsible for transactions, working the phones, etc. But let's be honest- Epstein is essentially the general manager. Epstein's going to be in charge of what goes down, although he may save much of the day-to-day "general manager" duties for Hoyer. But any significant decisions will ultimately be made by Epstein. I view Hoyer as Epstein's "assistant" again, but had he left a "general manager" job with the Padres for an "assistant general manager" title with the Cubs, that would've made him look bad.

Hoyer won 90 games in his first season as the general manager with the Padres, after the team won just 75 games the year before. Of course, they won just 72 games this season, but that was after he was forced to trade away Adrian Gonzalez(to Epstein and the Red Sox, fittingly) because the team did not have the money to keep Gonzalez long term.

McLeod's draft history while with Boston was extremely impressive. Players selected during his time there include Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard, Jed Lowrie, and Justin Masterson. In McLeod's first four seasons with the Red Sox, Baseball America ranked the Red Sox's drafts in the top five three times.

Additionally, Baseball America's Jim Callis says that the Padres' farm system will be ranked in the top five or so in baseball when their rankings are released in the winter. With Epstein, Hoyer, and McLeod now aboard, you have to like the Cubs' chances of getting a similar ranking over the next few years.

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Facepalm. I'm so embarrassed.

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Posted by Matt Clapp | 10/25/2011 04:30:00 PM | , , ,

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Comcast SportsNet New England's Sean McAdam released some information tonight in regards to the compensation talks for Theo Epstein between the Cubs and Red Sox.

McAdam is hearing from a source that the teams are putting their negotiations on hold until after Tuesday, as the Cubs will hold a press conference introducing Epstein as their President of Baseball Operations on that day, and the Red Sox will hold a press conference that day introducing their new general manager, Ben Cherington:

Talks to determine the compensation for the Red Sox from the Chicago Cubs for allowing Theo Epstein to leave Boston with a year remaining on his contract are on hold until after the teams introduce their respective executives Tuesday, a source familiar with the negotiations said.
This makes sense, as this will allow Epstein and Cherington(who has been working as the Boston assistant general manager alongside Epstein for years) to work out a deal, instead of relying on other members of the front offices to do so. Negotiations would likely go much smoother this way.

But, if there is not an agreement reached on compensation by November 1st, MLB commissioner Bud Selig says that he will intervene:

"They have until Nov. 1 - Theo and Ben and all the other parties involved," said Selig prior to the start of Game 4 of the World Series. "Hopefully they can get things done. I always encourage clubs to try to get things done between themselves. Somehow, the commissioner has enough things of controversy (to deal with).

"They'll either get it done or they won't. If they don't, then I will."
It's about time Selig put out a deadline for these negotiations and threatened to put this matter into his own hands. I think Theo and Cherington will get a deal worked out before we get to that deadline though.

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The Cubs and Red Sox announced tonight through a joint press release that Theo Epstein has resigned from the Red Sox to become the Cubs' President of Baseball Operations:
The Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs jointly announce this evening that, effective immediately, Theo Epstein has resigned from the Red Sox in order to become the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs. The Clubs also have reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined for the Red Sox and that issue will be resolved in the near term
Compensation for the Red Sox is still to be determined, and a press conference to introduce Theo at Wrigley Field is scheduled for Tuesday.

Now, go celebrate.

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On our last post, we informed you how it appeared(basing on a report from David Kaplan... don't kill the messenger) the Cubs and Red Sox were about to announce a deal for Theo Epstein had been completed. Well, the reports keep changing, and right now, nobody has any idea when(and I say "when" because everybody still expects this to get done) a deal will get done.

And even if a deal is in place, we likely won't get an "official" announcement until after the World Series at this point, as MLB doesn't like to have other MLB news interfere with the World Series coverage.

Anyway, it's not worth blogging about each report that comes out because so far every report has been refuted by somebody else. When multiple people confirm a report, then I'll of course write up on it.

But until then, you can at least get constant updates on the Theo/Hoyer developments by following us on Twitter and Facebook:

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UPDATE: With Thursday being a World Series gameday, it was assumed that there would not be an OFFICIAL announcement from MLB in regards to a Theo deal until Friday.

David Kaplan addressed that thinking on Twitter:
I've been working phones non-stop and latest confirms what I reported earlier. Deal is basically done. Word should leak tmrw +press conf Fri

Still need commissioners blessing to make announcement on Fri. That is not expected to be an issue.
So, it appears that we will know about a deal being done(which is all we care about) by Thursday, but there will probably not be an official announcement from MLB until Friday.

David Kaplan is hearing from two "excellent" sources that it appears the Cubs and Red Sox have agreed on compensation for Theo Epstein, and that the deal will be announced tomorrow:
@thekapman: I just spoke with two excellent sources on Epstein negotiations and it appears deal is basically done with announcement of agreement tmrw.
There's been reports throughout the day from various sources that talks are progressing and that a deal could be announced tomorrow, but this is the first report that makes things sound pretty much finalized. Kaplan's sources are usually very accurate when it comes to the Cubs as well.

Additionally, it's sounding more and more likely that the Cubs want Padres' general manager Jed Hoyer to be the Cubs' general manager, with Theo serving as the President of Baseball Operations, as we informed you about last night.

So if the Theo deal is announced tomorrow, the attention will then be turned to working out a Hoyer deal with the Padres, as Hoyer's contract with the Padres goes through 2013. It is believed that a deal with the Padres would be much easier to work out due to Tom Ricketts having a tremendous relationship with Jeff Moorad, the Padres' CEO.

We'll keep you updated.

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Earlier today, Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs were interested in the Padres' 37-year-old general manager, Jed Hoyer. This immediately drew confused reactions from many people, myself included. If Theo Epstein is to be the Cubs' general manager, Hoyer would be an assistant with the Cubs. And when he's a general manager now, why would he leave that job to get a lesser job with another organization?

Well, one of the things that was immediately speculated by people(and again, myself included) was that Epstein would be taking the President of Baseball Operations title with the Cubs, and Hoyer would serve as the general manager. That would then be a job he'd obviously be very interested in, as he worked alongside Epstein for a few years in Boston, and the Cubs will have significantly better resources to work with than the Padres will.

And Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal confirms tonight that Epstein is apparently looking to be the President of Baseball Operations and hire a general manager under him:
Epstein is actively looking to hire a GM, a move that would enable him to serve the Cubs as president of baseball operations, according to major league sources.

The change in job description would qualify as a promotion for Epstein. It also would allow him to be less involved in the day-to-day grind that wears down many GMs.
As Rosenthal also notes in the article, Hoyer is under contract with the Padres through 2013, with a club option for 2014. Therefore, acquiring his services would surely mean that the Cubs would have to give the Padres compensation, just like they've been working on tirelessly with the Red Sox for Epstein. So, even if Hoyer would be a target, the Padres may require a high price for him, and the Cubs don't want to give up too many top prospects to fill out their front office staff.

If Hoyer were to leave, it is assumed that Padres Vice President of Operations, Josh Byrnes, would take over the general manager role there. And what makes that funny, is that up until today, reports were that it was expected Byrnes(who also has worked alongside Epstein in Boston) would join Epstein in the Cubs front office. It would be much easier to get him over to the Cubs than Hoyer, but it will probably all come down to who they prefer more(unless the Padres have a very high asking price in return for Hoyer).

First things first though- The Cubs need to get this deal with the Red Sox completed and there's now whispers that may not end up happening until after the World Series is over. I've been patient because there's probably much going on in the compensatory process, due to the Red Sox's prospect demands and front office members in Boston that Epstein is trying to bring over to Chicago. But it's starting to get frustrating, and I wish they could get this inevitable deal finalized already.

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The Friendly Linkfines 10/13/11

Posted by Michael Castillo | 10/13/2011 01:44:00 PM | ,

With the Cubs all but wrapping up the 5-year Theo Epstein deal yesterday, there's been plenty of great reads on all of the happenings with the Cubs.

Here's just a few:

Rumor: Theo Epstein Will Target Josh Byrnes to Join His Front Office (Bleacher Nation)
Patience is a key for Epstein's success (Bruce Levine)
Cubs ready to reach out to estranged icon Ryne Sandberg (Gordon Wittenmyer)
Some advice for Epstein on his first day with Cubs (The Daily Herald)
Theo is a Cub so what next? (Obstructed View)
Red Sox choose Cherington as GM (Yahoo)
Report: Astros headed to American League (CBS Sports)

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John Dennis reported this morning on Boston's WEEI radio that Theo Epstein has a deal in place with the Cubs for five years, with the money totaling over $15 million.

Compensation negotiations are preventing the deal from being official according to Dennis' sources, but that should be settled soon. Also, there is still no word as to what exact title Epstein will hold with the Cubs.

We'll update you with more details as they become available.

Source: WEEI

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Tuesday presented itself with a whirlwind of activity regarding the Cubs pursuit of Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.

Between reports from the Boston Herald that he was "on the brink" of calling Wrigleyville home, and banter in Chicago as to who the Cubs should send to the Red Sox as compensation, Tuesday night provided plenty of information to intake. Today, we'll try our best to jot it all down for you, hopefully as it breaks.

So, make sure to check back throughout the day.

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