According to a report from Nick Cafardo from the Boston Globe, there is a growing rumor that the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox will finally have a settlement in the compensation for Theo Epstein. Much like the rumors of the trades that never happened for Jake Peavy and Brian Roberts, do not count your players reporting to camp before they arrive. We were supposed to have a resolution before the Red Sox allowed Epstein to leave his post, and then a few days to a week after which led into a demand from the Commissioner’s office that things get settled in December. Unless you have been completely shut out of baseball news due to the fading Chicago Bears season and the NLF playoffs, you know that no such compensation has been settled.
However, if new is to believed, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig might have a resolution by the time Spring Training starts. Whether that is when pitchers and catchers report in six days for the Cubs (seven days for the Red Sox) or in 12 days when the rest of the Cubs players are expected to show up (13 days for the Red Sox who continue to be a day behind our Cubs) is anyone’s guess. The list of names that the Cubs are offering, as well as the list of names the Red Sox want, are not known to anyone but those involved in the talks. Sadly that list does not include those of us writing for World Series Dreaming. However, we do know what players the Red Sox might be interested in as they are the only players in our system that might actually be worth a damn.
Unfortunately, we also know what players the Red Sox would not want in compensation. Sorry to break your hearts fans, but they are not likely interested in acquiring the albatross that currently resides in left field for the Cubs, Alfonso Soriano. While I am sure that the Cubs would be more than willing to give him and his bloated salary away, the odds of such a miracle taking place are astronomical. The only way this swap takes place, is if the Cubs are willing to eat the entire contract, which is something they have said in the past they would be willing to do in a deal that would send him to a new team.
We already know the Red Sox began compensation talks asking for Cubs ace pitcher Matt Garza and super star short stop Starlin Castro. I can almost guarantee that the Cubs did no immediately decline this request from the Red Sox. In fact, I am sure the Cubs spend the first couple of minutes laughing too hard to even contemplate a rational though that would even resemble a reasonable answer. I am sure they would have loved to have given the classic Billy Madison response, but that might have ended talks for Theo before they even began, thus keeping Epstein out of any plans the Cubs might have had in their wildest dreams.
Unfortunately, despite Epstein’s thought that he is not worth a significant player, that is what the Red Sox were promised when they allowed the Cubs to talk to and eventually hire him. Significant could mean many things to many different people. To me, significant would be a player that would be able to make an immediate impact; a major league ready prospect or a player who was already performing at the major league roster. However, significant to Selig could also mean a current major league player or a top 10 player in the Cubs farm system. While they are only prospects, I do not wish to lose any of them.
I am quite positive that Castro and Garza will not be sent, nor will Soriano for that matter, I would not rule out the possibility that Selig might decide that another member of the predicted 25 man roster would not be a fit compensation.
The Red Sox would love to have Marlon Byrd on their roster, even as a role player coming off the bench considering what they went through last year with Carl Crawford. David DeJesus who the Cubs just signed would also fit the same idea as Byrd would, a backup plan to Crawford. Byrd makes the most sense for them seeing as he is on the last year of his deal, and they would not be stuck with him for three years like they would be with DeJesus. However, I would consider both to be “significant” players who could possibly be sent back in compensation.
There are a few role players on the current roster who the Red Sox have been reported to be interested in, and if the rumors are true why the hell the deal hasn’t been made already is beyond me. If they are asking for Reed Johnson or Jeff Baker, the Cubs should have said yes to either one of those two months ago. Sorry ladies, I would much rather give up Johnson than some of the younger players that they might also be interested in such as Brett Jackson, Junior Lake and Matthew Szczur who the Red Sox have also been said to covet. If you want a full list of players that are rumored to be the possible pieces then read the article from Cafardo and the Globe.
If the Cubs are forced to give up a player currently on the roster, they might be forced to go out and fill the newly vacated hole. Hopefully whatever player is sent to bean town is one that the Cubs will not miss. Either way though, I will be thrilled when this debacle finally comes to an end.