You’d have thought the Cubs would be able to announce the hiring of Theo Epstein as their new general manager by now; the reports of this hiring have been circulating for four days. All that was left, the reports said, was the selection of a minor league player or two to send to the Red Sox as compensation for hiring Epstein, who had a year left on his Boston contract.
David Kaplan of CSN Chicago explains the holdup:
A current baseball executive with knowledge of the parties involved said that Boston president Larry Lucchino who is leading the negotiating team for the Red Sox in their talks with the Cubs is trying to make it very difficult for Epstein to accept his dream situation in Chicago because of his fractured relationship with his one-time protege.
Kaplan also says the Cubs have “dug their heels in” and won’t “overpay” to get Epstein out of his Red Sox deal. The article also has this remarkable quote from a source regarding Lucchino:
“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. Theo helped bring them two World Series titles and they have no loyalty to him and his happiness. They messed with Terry Francona and that was just an incredibly pathetic move and now they are trying to make life very tough for Theo,” he said.
The Red Sox have been in turmoil ever since they completed their historic collapse and missed the playoffs last month. If what this source says is true, the Red Sox could be in for rougher times ahead. Meanwhile, the parties continue to negotiate.