The first reports are surfacing as to why Theo Epstein is not yet on a plane headed for Chicago. Great negotiations. ESPN is reporting that the Boston Red Sox began negotiations by asking the Cubs for Matt Garza as compensation for Epstein. The Cubs responded by offering only cash as compensation. As you can see, the two sides were quite far apart.
Why not shoot for the moon if you’re the Red Sox? The Cubs offered Epstein a position which he will accept. Cubs fans are salivating over this. It will be a colossal disappointment to fans if the deal falls through. Boston has the stronger negotiating position here. They have what the Cubs not only want, but at this point need from a public perception standpoint.
But Tom Ricketts has held a firm position. Otherwise, you would have seen Garza in a Red Sox jersey last Thursday. Ricketts has reportedly taken other major league players off the table as well. I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Geovany Soto sent to Boston to seal this deal. It would be a definite upgrade at the catcher position for the Red Sox, a position they struggled at last season.
It wouldn’t have been a catastrophic loss for the Cubs. Soto has underperformed after his initial Rookie of the Year season and is definitely replaceable. In fact, he would’ve been a small price to pay in exchange for the person who is going to shape your team for the next decade.
But Soto isn’t going anywhere. Neither is anyone else on the major league roster. According to CBS Sports, negotiations are now focused on Cubs minor league talents Trey McNutt and Brett Jackson. The Red Sox definitely need the pitching prospect, having traded theirs away in recent deals. I suspect that their true focus is on McNutt, and they’re dragging their feet to see if they can get Jackson thrown in to get the deal done. While the Red Sox might receive two minor leaguers in the deal, it’s unlikely that they will receive two of the Cub’s highest ranked prospects.
Tom Ricketts appears to be doing a great job not giving away the farm for a deal that the team desperately needs to get done. He should be congratulated for that. Because, at the end of the day, wouldn’t you be willing to give up any player other than Castro and Garza to get Epstein on that plane?
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