This shouldn't really shock anybody, considering his AL East pedigree, but in exchange for their GM, ESPN Chicago is reporting that the Red Sox asked the Cubs for starter Matt Garza. The fact that the Cubs declined shouldn't shock you either.
I imagine the conversation was a quick one.
JOHN HENRY: "In exchange for Epstein, we demand Matt Garza."
TOM RICKETTS: "No."
ESPN is also reporting that compensation isn't the only detail still left to hammer out:
Aside from compensation, another hold-up in the negotiations is believed to be which front-office personnel Epstein can bring to Chicago, according to ESPNBoston.com, which reported that the Red Sox were not going to allow Epstein to take any members of his inner circle. That could have changed, however, during negotiations.
It feels like a.) these negotiations should have been over a week ago, and b.) Ricketts is surprisingly holding his own against Henry.
Neither side has any real leverage here. The Sox could close the door on the Epstein courting and demand that he finish out his contract in Boston. But this isn't a hollywood movie where he'd realize that his heart always belonged in Boston and sign an extension. He'd go through the motions, the owners would have to keep a tight leash on him to ensure he didn't do something silly, and he'd bolt as soon as the clock struck midnight on the final day of the 2012 season.
The Cubs are in desperate need of Epstein. They've been drooling over him for months. The compensation that the White Sox got for Ozzie set a precedent that they'll have to part with something real for Epstein. And the World Series could be over by next Monday. While I'm sure Cherington is already scoping out his offseason plan, the Cubs are in a holding-pattern until this gets resolved.
It's time to just get the deal done so both franchises can turn their respective pages. And if Theo has to build a new Circle of Trust, well, let's just say that I think I'd be right at home in Chicago.
Would you like one or two sugars in your coffee this morning, Mr. Epstein?