Bob Brenly: Pressure in Chicago, too

Updated: October 6, 2011, 1:12 AM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Theo Epstein helped end one legendary baseball curse, and if he gets the chance to end another in Chicago, Bob Brenly said there will be plenty of pressure to do it quickly.

"Coming in with a track record of being successful and breaking a curse, if you will, back in New England, I think Cub fans would expect the same thing from Theo Epstein and expect it in a hurry," Brenly, a Cubs broadcaster, told "Waddle & Silvy" Wednesday on ESPN 1000. "There may be a honeymoon period where fans understand that it's going to take awhile to rebuild the team and rebuild the organization and to get to the place they want to be. My suggestion would be if it is Theo Epstein you better do it quickly."

According to the Boston Globe, the Cubs have asked the Red Sox for permission to speak with Epstein, the architect of two World Series championships in Boston, including 2004 which snapped an 86-year drought.

Epstein is still under contract as the general manager with the Red Sox, which means the club can refuse the request, or allow it with the condition that they receive some sort of compensation in return.

Epstein has one year remaining on his contract and the team has not said that he will get an extension. In fact, a major league source told ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes that it's 50-50 that Epstein would leave for the right situation.

If Epstein does come to the Cubs, who have not won a World Series in 103 years, Brenly believes it will be difficult to win right away.

"I think [the Cubs] are going to be a team in flux for at least a year, maybe two or three until they get some of those big contracts off the books, some of the prospects continue to come at the pace they've been coming and then depending on who the general manager is, start to plug some of the holes that expose themselves as we move forward," Brenly said.

The two biggest contracts on the Cubs' books are outfielder Alfonso Soriano and pitcher Carlos Zambrano. Soriano just completed the fifth year of an eight-year, $136 million contract. Zambrano, who was banished by the Cubs for the last six weeks of the season after he said he was retiring after a bad start in Atlanta, has one year and $18 million left on his contract. Trading either likely will require the Cubs to eat most of the money remaining on their deals.

A new general manager likely would mean the end of Mike Quade's tenure as Cubs manager, but Brenly said there is a scenario in which Quade returns.

"Depending on the expectations for the 2012 season I don't think it's out of the question that Mike Quade could come back and fulfill his last year of the contract," Brenly said. "If you don't think you are going to contend for the Central Division crown, and you're going to slowly rebuild this team in a different fashion then it's not out of the question completely that Mike would be back.

"But on the surface usually when you hire a new general manager he's got his own people that he wants to put in place."

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