Cost was too high for Theo compensation

February, 21, 2012
2/21/12
1:56
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
The fact that it took almost four months to agree on compensation for Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein shows a general disconnect between the Boston Red Sox and Cubs.

Larry Lucchino, the very bright and overbearing Red Sox president and CEO, wanted a big-time player in return for an executive he no longer wanted. On Tuesday, the clubs agreed on 26-year-old relief pitcher Chris Carpenter along with players to be named from each team by April 15.

The Red Sox could have had this deal done in late November when the teams were discussing compensation at that point. Only the stubbornness of Lucchino prevented Carpenter from going to Boston then, according to major league sources.

The Cubs messed up by not getting Lucchino’s approval on compensation before they named Epstein the new president on Oct. 21. The Lucchino-Epstein power struggle has been going on for years with Lucchino never wanting to give his protege any credit for the team's world championships in 2004 and 2007. That attitude led to Epstein leaving the Red Sox for three months in 2008 before signing long-term deal through 2012.

Giving up a young pitcher such as Carpenter was too much in this case. A lower-level player and cash would have been proper compensation. There is no doubt that Epstein is a great talent, but as he said, he has never played one inning of organized baseball. Why should any team give up a player for a suit?

In the future, money would be the best way to compensate a team for a team president.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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