The matter stretched out longer than they wanted, required Commissioner Selig to intervene, and may be the biggest non-player transaction in baseball in years, but late Friday the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs jointly announced that, effective immediately, General Manager Theo Epstein has resigned from the Red Sox in order to become the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs. A key bone of contention, and the matter that stalled the deal from quietly getting done, the two clubs also have reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined for the Red Sox in exchange for Epstien, who had one more year left on his contract. The sides would only say that issue will be resolved in the "near term".
Both the Red Sox and the Cubs intend to hold press events this coming Tuesday during which the Cubs intend to announce Epstein, and the Red Sox intend to announce his successor as General Manager. The replacement is expected to be an in-house affair with Assistant GM Ben Cherington being promoted to the vacancy.
The media churn has been sitting on the front pages of the Boston and Chicago papers and created a major distraction for the league during the Fall Classic. Normally, such announcements would be held off until after the season ended, but with all the interest, and the need for Selig to help negotiate a compromise deal, word began to leak out earlier in the week that a deal to allow Epstein to move to the Cubs would be announced Friday. Out of respect for the World Series, both clubs have agreed to forego further comment until this coming Tuesday, the next scheduled non-game day with further information on each club’s media availability for Tuesday will be distributed on Monday.
After missing the playoffs two straight years and seeing a historic collapse in the last month of the regular season, manager Terry Francona’s contract was not renewed, word surfaced that some of the pitchers were drinking beer in the clubhouse during games they were not scheduled to pitch. Epstein was looking to garner more power, and more importantly, insulation from the turbulence at the GM position. With the Red Sox not having a position of President of Baseball Operations available, and the club not looking to create one, the Cubs had reached out to see if Epstein was available.
For the Cubs, it marks a coup of sorts, that is not yet fully done. It’s been reported that former Red Sox assistant GM, and current Padres General Manager, Jed Hoyer is being targeted for the Cubs GM position.
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Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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