“Early on he was 28 and a fish out of water. Since then he’s won two world championships, made the playoffs 6 of 9 seasons, and I think there’s great respect among his peers. As one GM said to me, when we get together in a group, he may be the smartest guy in the room.”
-Bruce Levine, responding to a question asked during his live chat on ESPN.com , on how Theo Epstein is viewed by other GM’s in the game.
I read the above quote and began to salivate. I mean, we are this close to a total overhaul in our “baseball operations department”, or whatever title Theo Epstein slaps on his business card when he arrives in Chicago. You can call him GM, President of Baseball Operations, or head green slime vendor. Then only thing I care about is that a fundamental change in Chicago Cubs baseball is on it’s way. Oh, and by the way, that change has created post season teams in six of the last nine years. Oh, and also, they did it in a division that included the Yankees.
Developing talent hasn’t exactly been the Cubs forte over the past half century or so. Joe Posnanski elaborates on this topic in a column he recently penned on his SI blog. He points to this reason as being the Cubs number one downfall in the history of the team. What is Theo Epstein’s specialty? Yup, you guessed it, he develops talent from within.
Now, all of this being said leads many to wonder, what is holding up this negotiation???
It is one word….. pride! Neither team wants to give in to the others desires. You are looking at two men, Larry Luchinno and Tom Ricketts, who love the art of negotiation. While they flex their collective bartering skills, the rest of baseball, especially the Cubs and Red Sox fans, are left to wait. All of us are wondering in unison if this thing will ever happen.
It will, just give it time.
In response to Joe’s column this morning, I don’t feel anybody is off limits. Maybe Castro, but the list stops there. The sad reality is that we don’t have a farm system stacked with talent. Heck, we don’t have a 40-man roster stacked with talent. Hence the importance of bringing aboard Theo Epstein.
It shouldn’t take much more then the sane minimum to close this thing, but if it came down to crazy, which depending on the ego’s involved could happen, would you really stop them from giving up Trey McNutt or Brett Jackson? We aren’t talking about obtaining a middle of the rotation starter here, we are talking about changing the face of the ball club. We are talking about developing a game plan well into the future.
One other sticking point, and what could end up being the more important question in the long run is, who else will the Cubs get in this deal? Much of the recent talk has been centered around Theo’s counterparts that he will bring along or acquire from other teams. Many of them worked under Theo while with the Red Sox. Some are starting to say he is trying to put together a dream team of upper management.
My question to the readers for today: Who would you most like to see as part of Theo’s “dream team” of upper management?
Can you imagine how great it will be to have an organization with an actual baseball identity? A philosophy from low A ball all the way up to the majors? What wouldn’t a Cub fan give for that?