Waiting For Theo

Theo Epstein, the new President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs, walks across the outfield following a press conference at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

We've learned that the latest requirement from Bud Selig in the never-ending Theo Epstein Compensation Case is a request for "written arguments". How might those go?

At the time Theo Epstein departed as GM of the Red Sox to become President of Baseball Operations with the Cubs, it was agreed that there would be compensation given to the Red Sox for allowing Theo to leave Boston with one year remaining on his contract.

There's precedent for this, and it also involved the Cubs. In 1994, Andy MacPhail left a GM position with the Twins for a similar move; he was named President of the Cubs. In return, the Twins were given Hector Trinidad, a 20-year-old righthander who had just come off a decent year at High-A Daytona.

Trinidad never made the major leagues. Meanwhile, starry-eyed Red Sox fans were yelling the names of Matt Garza or Starlin Castro as compensation, and Epstein has now been working for the Cubs for three months, has hired a GM and numerous other assistants, and has bought a house within walking distance of Wrigley Field.

And recently, the Red Sox and Cubs threw up their hands and asked the commissioner's office to settle this matter. Peter Gammons, how's that going?

Bud Selig still hasn't received written arguments in Cubs-Red Sox compensation case. "OK, I've defined 'significant compensation-Soriano..."

While Cubs fans would probably be thrilled if Selig made the Red Sox take Alfonso Soriano off their hands, that's not going to happen. The new information in Gammons' tweet, though, is "written arguments".

Written? Let the writing begin!

From: Ben Cherington
To: Bud Selig
Date: 2/1/12

Mr. Commissioner, I haven't heard anything from the Cubs. Can you ask?
From: Bud Selig
To: Ben Cherington
Date: 2/9/12

Sorry, Ben, I've been busy trying to get the extra wild card in. You did want that, right? I'll write the Cubs today.
From: Bud Selig
To: Theo Epstein
Date: 2/20/12

Say, Theo, I need a written proposal from you regarding your compensation.
From: Theo Epstein
To: Bud Selig
Date: 2/29/12

Sorry, Bud -- I've been looking for paper. They apparently ran out of paper before I got here and it's all on backorder. You need this in writing, in triplicate using carbon paper, as I understand it, right?
From: Ben Cherington
To: Bud Selig
Date: 3/9/12

Mr. Commissioner? Have you heard from Theo? I'm worried he might have gotten lost in Chicago. It's still pretty much wilderness there, right?
From: Bud Selig
To: Ben Cherington
Date: 4/5/12

Ben, it's Opening Day in Chicago, and I thought I'd find Theo here. They told me he's in the Dominican Republic, scouting. Would you take a Dominican prospect? I'd double check his age and everything!
From: Theo Epstein
To: Bud Selig
Date: 6/15/12

Mr. Commissioner, I'm really sorry. The Red Sox are in town today and that reminded me I still have to get back to you. I found some paper. What did you need again?
From: Ben Cherington
To: Bud Selig
Date: 7/2/12

Mr. Commissioner, really, this has gone on too long. The Red Sox deserve compensation. Starlin Castro just made the All-Star team! He'd be perfect. Just sign a copy of this email and I'll pay his airfare to Boston.
From: Bud Selig
To: Ben Cherington
Date: 7/9/12

Sorry, Ben, I'm in Kansas City. Did you know that This Time It Counts®?
From: Theo Epstein
To: Bud Selig
Date: 7/30/12

Sorry, Mr. Commissioner -- I'm busy making trades. Did you need a list of guys I can't deal because they might be compensation?

This went on for some time, and eventually names were exchanged, but Bud couldn't decide, partly because he was too busy trying to figure out new ways to black out TV viewing in either Boston or Chicago, and then...

From: Theo Epstein
To: Ben Cherington
Date: 1/1/13

Hey, Ben. Long time no hear. Happy New Year. How about we just go for pizza & brew next time I'm in Boston and call it even? My treat.
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