It has been almost three months since the Cubs introduced former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein as their new President of Baseball Operations. Epstein had one year left on his Red Sox contract when Boston ownership allowed him to leave — but asked for the Cubs to give some form of compensation for them letting him out of his deal early.
The teams have not been able to agree on compensation. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the teams have asked Commissioner Bud Selig to take over:
Multiple sources told the Sun-Times that the Cubs and Red Sox have requested that their nearly three-month stalemate be resolved by the commissioner, a move apparently initiated by Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino late last month, one source said.
This was confirmed by this tweet from MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat:
Source says #Cubs, #RedSox have asked Selig to settle Theo compensation, confirming Sun-Times story
Here’s the problem, according to Wittenmyer:
At issue is what constitutes the "valuable compensation" the Red Sox say they were promised, according to a source familiar with the team’s correspondence with the league.
It’s unclear how long Selig will take. Also unclear is whether the solution will involve ordering a specific player or players to the Red Sox or setting parameters. There appears to be no precedent for it.
In 1994, when the Cubs hired Twins executive Andy MacPhail as their general manager, they sent minor-league pitcher Hector Trinidad — a top prospect at the time — as compensation. Trinidad never pitched in the major leagues.
So even if the Cubs have to send a player (or players) considered top prospects now, that’s no guarantee for Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and his organization.
As always, we await developments. And in this case, we could be waiting a while.