Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein speaks at a news conference at Wrigley Field in Chicago

Cubs, Red Sox punt; ask Bud Selig to solve the Theo compensation issue


It occurs to me on occasion that someone stumbling onto a headline like that will not comprehend it at all unless they already know everything about the issue it refers to, in which case the post is kind of pointless to begin with.

Sorry. Feeling existential this morning.

Anyway, the headline does kind of say it all.  Unable to come to any kind of agreement on what kind of compensation the Red Sox are owed by the Cubs for hiring Theo Epstein away, the sides have asked Bud Selig to make a decision. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times:

It’s unclear how long Selig will take. Also unclear is whether the solution will involve ordering a specific player or players to the Red Sox or setting parameters. There appears to be no precedent for it.

Hmm, a complicated issue with little or no precedent is being put on Bud Selig’s plate.  In that case the question isn’t what the solution will look like. It’s all about who’s gonna be on the blue ribbon committee and what epoch will the Earth find itself in when a report is finally released.

Snark aside, this is probably the right call. I’m not sure how the parties here can possibly negotiate about what Epstein is worth without it being insanely awkward.  The Cubs have to be in the position of saying that he’s not worth anything of value or else they’re not zealously negotiating, and that makes them look bad. The Red Sox have to be in the position of saying he’s worth the moon, and that makes them look bad for allowing him to leave.

Oh well. The best part: ultimately there’s going to be some minor leaguer or something who is sent to Boston who has 50 reporters mob him and ask what it feels like to be worth a year of Theo Epstein’s services. Which should be fun.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.