The Chicago Cubs have found their replacement for Jim Hendry; they have agreed to a deal with the Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. Terms aren’t known yet, but it’s expect that he’ll be with the team for 5 years at about $3MM per season. The Cubs will also pay the $3.5MM conclusion bonus that negotiated into his Red Sox deal.
The Cubs may have to give up compensation since Epstein was under contract; rumor has it that they’ll give up prospects or cash — not any MLB players.
Epstein was responsible for 2 championships with Boston, although some may argue that the key players for the 2004 championship team were in place when he got his job. Those championships are the reason I assume he got the job, as the Cubs have the longest Championship drought.
The Red Sox did make a last minute push to keep their GM. Owner John Henry didn’t push to keep Epstein though, as he doesn’t want to keep employees from moving on when that is what they want. Now the Red Sox will need to find a GM and Manager after their last season collapse cost them a shot at the post-season.
Per 85% Sports GM scores, Epstein was worth more than 20 wins per season for the moves he made (prior to this season). Unsurprisingly, most of his impact was through free agency, where he amassed a WAR of 158.3 (again, prior to this years signings). His draft impact was 45.1 WAR. His trading was less than stellar, at -41.4 WAR; I attribute this to trading prospects for veterans and taking on bad contracts.
Epstein will have his work cut out for him, as the Cubs have some inflated contracts, including Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano. Zambrano has worn out his welcome and will most likely be traded, as long as the Cubs eat a good chunk of cash.