The Cubs Will Push For Theo Epstein


The Boston Red Sox are beginning to pick up the the pieces from a shattered season–that concluded with the Red Sox choking away their American League Wild Card lead to the Tampa Bay Rays. Now like the Chicago Cubs, the Red Sox are facing a heap of changes this off-season. Those changes may have a direct affect on the Cubs’ off-season plans.

For one, Red Sox manager Terry Francona is expected to part ways with the organization today after his scheduled meeting with the team’s brass. Early speculation has linked Francona to both the Cubs managerial position, and the White Sox managerial position. However, it may be premature to list the Cubs as a possible Francona suitor. Meanwhile, Francona–who emerged as a managerial candidate after spending time managing in the Chicago White Sox organization–seems likely to be the next White Sox manager.

That does not mean that the Cubs will not take advantage of the collapse of the Red Sox this season. While Francona does not appear to be in their picture, Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is certainly someone who chairman Tom Ricketts wants to bring into the Cubs organization. It has long been Ricketts’ dream to emulate the Red Sox blueprint of success, and that would best be accomplished by bringing in the mastermind of the Red Sox in Epstein.

Despite the Cubs’ hope of bringing Epstein into the organization, there are conflicting reports as to whether or not the Red Sox general manager would entertain the thought of leaving Boston and coming to Chicago. Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reported Thursday afternoon that Epstein may be distancing himself from the Cubs’ general managerial position as the long-time Red Sox general manager may not want to leave Boston on such a disappointing note. Meanwhile in almost a direct contradiction of Sullivan’s piece in the Tribune, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun Times writes that the Cubs are going to make a run at Epstein and cites one report that would seem to suggest that Epstein is ready to “embrace the challenge” of running the Cubs.

Despite all the conflicting reports on whether or not Epstein is a legitimate candidate for the Cubs’ general managerial position, it would still seem that Epstein is an extreme long-shot. Considering that the Red Sox are already expected to part ways with their manager, I seriously doubt that the Red Sox ownership group would also want Epstein out of the team’s picture for the 2012 season. Epstein must have his option picked up by October 8, if not, he will likely become the biggest free agent on the market–players included.

The Boston Red Sox ownership group likely will not allow Epstein to make a parallel move and give their general manager the permission to leave the organization to become the Cubs’ general manager. However, they may allow Epstein to leave if it meant he was furthering his career by being promoted to a new level of power with the Cubs. It has long been believed that Epstein is in search of having more power within a baseball operation and the Cubs could make that happen by offering Epstein the team presidency in addition to the general manager position. That, of course, would mean that Crane “clown” Kenney will have to be re-assigned within the organization.

It is likely that Ricketts will inquire on the availability of Epstein in the coming days, and if given permission, the Cubs search for a new general manager may conclude sooner than originally thought.