|Taking the temperature in Chicago on Theo Epstein||10.13.11 at 12:18 pm ET|
By now, all of Boston is abuzz with emerging reports of Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein reportedly agreeing to a five-year deal worth between $15 million and $20 million that would make him, at the very least, the new general manager of the Cubs. But how does Chicago feel about the possibility of Epstein’s move to Wrigley? The majority of Chicago news sources are cautiously excited about welcoming Epstein to the city.
The Chicago Tribune reported Thursday morning that Epstein has agreed to a five-year, $15 million deal that is still conditional on compensation in the form of either minor league players or cash as well as negotiations on what personnel Epstein would be allowed to bring with him.
A Chicago Tribune poll did not immediately jump to World Series predictions, tempering its optimism to ask readers when Epstein will return the Cubs to the playoffs. The majority (33 percent) said the Cubs will play deep in October in 2013.
Dave van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune writes Epstein will take on his greatest task to date in becoming the general manager of the Cubs. If he is able to bring an end to the 103-year World Series Championship drought, Epstein will be the baseball equivalent of “Alexander the Great”.
The Chicago Sun-Times said the deal for Epstein is not yet done as compensation negotiations and an 11th-hour push by Red Sox owner John Henry to keep Epstein could still stop the deal. The paper also reports Cubs top baseball officials have been told to keep their schedules open in the second week of November for tentative organizational meetings, which could be a sign that the Cubs are close to announcing a new GM.
Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that Epstein will have to be a miracle worker to bring a championship to Chicago because Boston’s curse does not hold a candle to Chicago’s.
Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com opines that Epstein will be a franchise-changing hire for the Cubs and will have the power of a baseball czar in an organization where he will be responsible for almost every decision the club makes.
David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reveals a blossoming relationship between Epstein and Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts as a huge factor in wooing Epstein to Chicago. Kaplan also writes that Epstein would have near-total authority in the organization and would be able to construct the team from the farm system up.
Jon Greenberg of ESPN Chicago claims Epstein’s arrival would be perfect timing for a team that is losing fan interest and lacking star power.
Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago instructs Epstein to be patient in winning with the Cubs because of the need to build a farm system and figure out locked-in contracts for declining players.
Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN Chicago is not willing to jump on the Epstein bandwagon just yet because of lingering questions about expectations and personnel issues.
Dan Bernstein of CBSChicago.com notes that while the Epstein hiring is a big deal for the franchise, it is unlikely to yield instant gratification.
Adam Harris of CBSChicago.com agrees that Epstein will become the new Cubs GM and President of Baseball Operations, but asserts that he will not be able to turn the team around as quickly as he did with the Red Sox because the Cubs are starting at a much lower level.
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