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No End In Sight for Cubs' Theo Impasse

By Chuck Sudo in News on Oct 19, 2011 9:25PM

With the World Series set to start at St. Louis' Busch Stadium tonight, don't expect any announcement regarding the Cubs and Theo Epstein. Commissioner Bud Selig has long asked that hot stove negotiations with other Major League Baseball teams not overshadow the Fall Classic.

Never mind that, should the Cubs and Boston Red Sox finally reach an agreement that frees Epstein to head to Clark and Addision, announcing it during the World Series may be a good thing for the sport overall.

Regardless, the Cubs and Red Sox are in the same holding pattern they were this time last week regarding compensation. beat reporter Carrie Muskat reports Baseball Hall of Fame reporter Peter Gammons had some interesting things to say about the negotiations on Boston's WEEI radio today.

“This thing with the Cubs, they don’t actually have anyone negotiating that actually has been in development, so they don’t know the players the Red Sox talk about,” Gammons said. “They have the CEO of business, and the assistant general mnager, who wasn’t actually involved in the farm system. So, it’s been a difficult negotiation. And frankly, I think everyone involved knows the Cubs are a bottom-three farm system. Trey McNutt would be Red Sox prospect [No.] 25. For the Cubs to act like they’re giving up the next Billy Williams is kind of absurd.

“But at the same time, holding that thing up has also hurt the Cubs, because they need Theo there building the organization,” he said. “There isn’t a lot there. They need him to go out and not only find a manager, but to fill several roles in scouting, development and all the rest. The absurdity has hurt the Cubs, and it’s certainly hurt the Red Sox, because they need to move on and let Ben [Cherington] take over, Ben and Mike Hazen, be running the organization and get the right people in place. …

“It’s so silly,” he said. “The rebuilding process that Theo is going to undertake in Chicago is far greater than the job that he inherited as the general manager of the Red Sox. Far greater. And it’s going to take a long time. They’re not talking about guys that are franchise pieces. They should get it done from both sides and move on. …"

Gammons is a Hall of Famer. He's also a Bostonian (his Wikipedia entry reads "professional jock rider of the Boston Red Sox"). The stalled negotiations for Epstein speak more about the current dysfunction of the Red Sox organization than the Cubs. Any talk by Gammons or others that the Cubs need to give the Red Sox what they want so Epstein can get to the task of trying to build a World Series champion in Chicago is, frankly, bullshit.

The Red Sox have already indicated that Epstein isn't coming back. They may hold the better hand in their talks with the Cubs, but the Cubs's farm system isn't exactly as stocked as one would believe.