Here's what Ricketts needs to do

If Theo Epstein is Tom Ricketts’ top choice as Cubs general manager, then fine. Epstein presided over Boston’s historic collapse this year, which makes him very Cub, but he also has a couple World Series titles, which makes him a god around the North Side.

And so, the Cubs’ Fanboy Owner is knocking at the door to see if Epstein can come out and play, but the thing is, if you’re going to raid the Red Sox, then think bigger. Think smarter. Think critically.

Go after Boston team president Larry Lucchino. He’s terrific at building winning baseball organizations, and what the Cubs absolutely need is terrific at the top, not the Fanboy Owner or Clown Kenney.

Now, don’t expect Lucchino to bring along Epstein. They haven’t been BFFs for a while. So, pick one. Pick Lucchino.

The Red Sox have been in chaos for the second straight month. Last month, they pulled a ’69 Cubs, choking away the biggest wild-card lead in history. This month came the scapegoating and backstabbing.

Manager Terry Francona either was fired or elected not to exercise his side of the option, saying he didn’t believe he had support from management after eight years and two championships. Tell you what, Francona must hate the owners if he’s walking away from more than $4 million.

Good. The more ill will in Boston, the better the chance that even the Cubs’ Fanboy Owner can get this one right for the first time since, I don’t know, his first day on the job.

The messiness in Boston continued when management refused to say whether it would grant permission if a team --- say, the Cubs --- wanted to talk to Epstein. In my world, if you’re the Red Sox and Epstein is your guy, you say nope, he has a contract, he’s ours.

But in the Red Sox’s crumbling, unseemly world, you play hide-and-seek with the truth.

So, if the Red Sox are dumb enough to let Epstein talk, then Ricketts ought to find out whether they’re dumb enough to let Lucchino have a conversation, too. Epstein hasn’t said no to any outside chatter and he might use the Cubs’ interest to negotiate some of Lucchino’s authority in Boston, which might prompt a quitting fit by Lucchino.

Whatever, you’re a bad businessman if you don’t find out how much chaos that organization is in. If the Red Sox owners are too busy confessing that it was someone else’s fault, then you would be an idiot not to loot the building.

But here’s the thing: You would be dumber than the Red Sox if you came out of this with Epstein as general manager and left the inexplicable Kenny as president. And it might be just as bad if you caved to Epstein’s leverage in demanding the Cubs’ presidency.

Epstein is no more a team president than Kenney is. Epstein is a general manager. That’s the job you want him to perform. You don’t want him doing presidential duties, even if they apparently involve only sitting in the Monster seats in Fenway Park and hiring priests to throw holy water around the Cubs dugout. Point is, you also don’t want Kenney sticking his nose in Cubs baseball business.

The Cubs have overpromoted a GM before. It was ugly. They threw a bunch of big money at Andy MacPhail to wrest him and his two World Series in four years from Minnesota. The Cubs should’ve wanted MacPhail to act the part of GM.

But no. Like Epstein, he had the leverage to get the bigger title, and the Tribune Co. goofs gave it to him. Gave him two, actually: president and chief executive officer, but then TribCo goofs always were better at handing out titles than winning them.

Then MacPhail brought in Ed Lynch as GM, and suddenly Jaime Navarro was your ace, and now you know where they got the idea for “Dinner For Schmucks.’’

That happened all the time with Tribune Co. The wonks overpromoted themselves and others. Heck, just look at Kenney. He’s a lawyer who apparently thinks he’s Branch Rickey. Or he has sucked up enough to be named the fifth Ricketts child, I’m not sure, but either way, Kenney is the poster child for the Peter Principle.

Bringing in Epstein and making him president and GM likely would distract him from doing what he does best. Bringing him in as general manager under Kenney is a dead-bang loser, and besides, I wouldn’t want to hire a general manager who would want to work under that clown.

The Fanboy Owner didn’t get through business school as quickly as Papa Joe and his money would’ve liked, so I’ll make it easy for the Fanboy Owner to connect the dots:

Your business is baseball, so you bring in a baseball expert to run your organization and then you get out of the way and take that other clown with you.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    Grateful Dead drummer dishes dirt, drug dependency in new book

    As a founding member of the Grateful Dead, Bill Kreutzmann watched the world change from behind his drum kit, shoveling coal in the wildly tribal rhythm section as the Dead went from San Francisco underground curio to ground-breaking indie outfit, then progenitor of the improvisation-based rock...

  • Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    Book comes out ahead of Grateful Dead farewell concerts in Chicago this weekend

    The cliché that colors every good rock star story is “sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll." For the Grateful Dead, the trailblazing rock band known for its improvisational style, revelatory live shows and dedicated fanbase, there was that and so much more.

  • 10 best movies of 2015 so far

    10 best movies of 2015 so far

    The year’s half over! How did that happen? No idea. With six months of a good year of movies in the books, let’s see how the Top 10 list is looking, with a quote from each respective review. Note: There are a few I’ve seen that I really like that haven’t yet opened in Chicago, and those aren’t...

  • If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    If you make less than $50,440, proposal could increase overtime pay

    Nearly 5 million more Americans would qualify for overtime pay under new rules proposed Tuesday by the Obama administration, a long-anticipated move expected to affect a broad swath of salaried employees from store managers to social workers to restaurant shift supervisors.

  • Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Chicago's minimum wage increase attracting workers to city

    Unlike previous summers, UniStaff is experiencing a spike in job applicants at its Little Village location, a trend the branch manager says is tied to the city's minimum wage increase to $10 per hour beginning Wednesday.

  • 'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    'The Bachelorette' episode 7 recap: How many meltdowns can Shawn have in one week?

    Welcome to RedEye’s coverage of “The Bachelorette,” arguably the most misogynistic show on television! The format is pretty simple: Five women of RedEye each drafted five of the 25 competing men. Everyone gets one point for every man who gets through each week. If you ever want your daughter to...