The deal was announced late Friday, but it’s moving parts are far from over. The story is, of course, former Red Sox GM Theo Epstein going to the Chicago Cubs where he is now the President of Baseball Operations.
Tomorrow, the last off-day of the World Series, both the Red Sox and Cubs will have press conferences regarding the move. For the Cubs, it will be to announced Epstein, and for the Red Sox, it will be to say that Ben Cherington will be promoted from Assistant GM to the General Manager’s position vacated by Epstein.
But what is unknown is what possible compensation might be in the mix, the aspect that stalled Epstein’s move, and became so contentious that the sides had to call Commissioner Selig in to deal with the sides. All the sides would say in a joint statement on Friday was that compensation could come in the “near term.”
But, what has been on the mind of many a Red Sox fan is, “Are we going to get some players in the deal?” Or, maybe more correctly, “Are we getting a big league player or two for Theo?”
I wondered: is there anything in the CBA that talks about exchanging players for a front office exec? I looked… hard. I could find nothing. And, in speaking with an executive at the union for the players, it’s confirmed that indeed, there’s nothing that prevents it from happening.
The idea strikes me as odd: there are rules around how players are traded, but nothing around how a player is traded when a non-player is involved.
So looking back, the most recent deal that involved non-players was the White Sox and the Marlins with Ozzie Guillen going to the Marlins in exchange for Osvaldo Martinez and minor-leaguer Jahn Marinez. Prior to that, there was Lou Piniella who went from the Seattle Mariners to the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays in late October of 2002. However that was structured – Piniella for an MLB player, or not – the deal went down as Randy Winn coming over to the Mariners in exchange for middle infield minor league prospect, Antonio Perez.
It’s very possible that minor league prospects will come out of the Cubs’ system to the Red Sox. But, remember… there’s nothing preventing a major league player from being in the mix.
We may, or may not, hear about this tomorrow (“Near term” is a pretty vague statement), but a betting man would say that the players and/or money involved, will be announced after the World Series is over. Leaks could surface between now and then. If you hear a major league player is in the mix, don’t dismiss it. Anything is possible.
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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