Speaking on the Dennis & Callahan Show Thursday morning, Cubs president Theo Epstein talked about where he stands in regard to settling on compensation being sent by Chicago to the Red Sox in exchange for letting the former Sox' GM switch organizations.
At the time Epstein assumed his current title with the Cubs, he still had one year remaining on his Red Sox' contract, leading both side to agree that there would be some sort of compensation coming to Boston if such a move was to be made. At one point, baseball commissioner Bud Selig stepped in and stated that he would be mediating the discussion if it wasn't completed by Nov. 1. Selig has backed off his involved as the offseason has progressed.
"I think you have to put it in context. In the history of baseball with all the executives that have changed teams, many of which were on lateral moves, let alone those who left for promotions like I did, throughout the history of baseball there's really only been a handful of instances where there's been any compensation whatsoever for executives," Epstein said. "If you wanted to look at precedent, you'd say, 'Well, whether I'm worth nothing, or something,' -- you would probably get some opinions on that if you ask your callers -- the bottom line is when executives change teams there is no compensation. There have been a handful of instances where there is compensation, and that compensation has been pretty reasonable. If you look when Andy MacPhail, who had won two World Series, left on a lateral move from Minnesota to Chicago back in '94, his compensation was like the 30th ranked prospect in the Cubs system and a little bit of cash.
"So I think when you say there should be compensation here, there should be because we agreed there should be compensation, so that's part of the gig. But I think you have to look at history and you have to look at the precedent involved and realize there is not precedent for major, major compensation here. But the bottom line is we need to figure this out, and we will. Both sides are still working on it because it was agreed to and you have to live up to your word. If you agree that there is compensation there has to be compensation, and there should be. You look at precedent as a guide and try to do something that's appropriate given the more than century-old history of baseball.
"Ben and I have been trying to work it out. I think normally Ben and I could work it out, but there's just a little bit of a different perspective. The expectations were different at the time. We're trying to figure something out that makes the Red Sox happy, but also fits with a century of baseball precedent. I can honestly say this one has been turned over and discussed in the media a lot more than it has between the clubs. Ben and I have had five conversations on in the last few months. We've gotten close but we haven't gotten it done. Maybe we'll need some help to get it done. I want both sides to be happy if possible."
Epstein also touched on his decision to leave the Red Sox, suggesting it was a move that had been set in motion well before the team's September collapse.
"That certainly bothered me, but I think it wasn't a last-minute decision," he said when asked about the possible perception he was leaving the organization at a bad time. "It was something I talked about with these guys all year long. Ben Cherington and I had talked about it for years. We had so many lunches where I would take him out and say, 'Hey, you're the guy I want to take over and there's a very good chance the end is coming for me. It's going to be 10 years with the Red Sox.' We talked about his development and all the different things he had done in the game but the one or two areas he still need some development time. The last two or three years we specifically we got him a lot of experience in those areas so he would be well-rounded in those areas. It was a bigger picture issue. It really transcended what happened with one month with a baseball club.
"I just put faith in the fact that people who cared about the situation, maybe in the moment, right after September when people were upset, if you took a step back and looked at the totality of the circumstances and look at 10 years of the Red Sox and where we were before I got here and the decade that we had if we were better off now or 10 years ago and the things that I was able to play a small part in contributing to, I think people would take a look at say, 'He gave us all he had for 10 years. I hope they'd say we were a lot better off than we were before he and the guys he worked with got here and we certainly wish the Red Sox well.' I certainly wish the Red Sox well. I always the Red Sox well and will always consider myself part of the Red Sox family. I'm just somewhere else right with a new challenge I'm throwing myself into."
To listen to the Epstein interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page by clicking here. For more Red Sox news, go to the team page at weei.com/redsox.
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