The first part Epstein saga is just about over, the second part will be what determines if Epstein is immortalized in Chicago by leading the Cubs to a long overdue world championship.
According to WEEI’s John Dennis, the Cubs have agreed to a 5-year deal totaling over $15 Million. Epstein will be leaving his hometown team that he led to two world championships in 2004 and 2007, effectively breaking the Curse of the Bambino. Now Epstein has an even larger problem, fixing a team that finished the 2011 season with just 71 wins while boasting the 6th highest payroll in baseball, and that hasn’t won a World Series since they went back-to-back in 1907 and 1908. He will try to break two curses, the more prominent Curse of the Billy Goat that allegedly has prevented the Cubs from making it to the World Series since 1945, and the Curse of Fred Merkle, which supposedly has stopped the Cubs from winning it all since 1908.
Even though Epstein has agreed to the Cubs’ contract, his coming still isn’t final. The Cubs have to officially decide whether or not to give him full Presidential powers of the franchise, and the Cubs and Red Sox must agree upon compensation, as Epstein is still under contract with Boston for one more season.
The Boston media has caused a good portion of their fan base to expect astronomical returns for their GM, in the forms of Starlin Castro, Matt Garza, or both. Not only is the thought that Boston would get them in return for any GM absurd and unrealistic, but a report last night has shot down those rumors, stating that no major leaguers would be involved in the compensation. A name also floated around by Bostonians is Brett Jackson, but Cubs fans need not fear, the Cubs have no intentions of trading him either. The most likely to be sent to Boston as compensation may be a pair of #6-10 prospects in the Cubs organization, which includes the likes of Jay Jackson, Hayden Simpson, Reggie Golden, Robert Whitenack, and Rafael Dolis. That would be the best-case scenario for Boston.
Epstein is unlikely to bring much of his front office staff from Boston with him, as Red Sox owner John Henry has made it clear that Epstein and the Cubs will have to be granted permission to each man they bring with on an individual basis, and Henry would like to retain most, if not all, of that staff.
Epstein has a huge challenge ahead of him, but if any man is capable of bringing this team to the promised land, it is Theo Epstein.
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