Not exactly. The Sox have zero motivation to budge on anything Theo related as long as this is secret. Based on his history they may very well have been able to retain him (their preference) with some time. The Cubs likely took this public to force the Red Sox hand and attempt to prevent this development and decrease the Sox leverage in this regard. Even if it did hurt the Cubs position this tactic was preferable because they were sitting ducks in the other scenario and at least here there is a chance to try and get the Sox to blink. The Sox aren't going to blink. The Cubs wanted Theo bad enough to go this route but they seem unwilling to admit they are willing to suffer the consequences in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
Even with it public, I think the motivation to budge on the Sox side is negligible. And I agree that they aren't going to blink.
I believe the Cubs current stance is purely posturing for negotiation purposes. Much like the Sox original request for Garza. While I think Ricketts would have preferred to announce before the WS, I think he's fine waiting until after if he thinks it will ultimately cost him a lesser piece.
However, IF (and I don't yet believe this is the case) the Cubs are not posturing, and really feel that:
1) They should not have to give up anyone projected to be on the 40-man
2) Absorbing the cost of Theo's final year should compensation enough for taking Theo
3) Historical comparables for moving non-uniform personnel are relevant in this case
Then this will drag out until the last absolute minute. I still think it will get done, because if it comes down to it, I think Ricketts will pull the trigger even if he feels it's grossly unfair. And I think that until the Sox get the value they want, there's no reason it wouldn't go down to the last minute, because the worst-case scenario for the Sox simply is not that bad. It may not be an ideal situation, but paying Theo and finding a role for him for another year simply is not any sort of doomsday scenario that the Sox need to avoid at all costs.
Of course I don't think the Cubs truly believe the above points. I think they make those arguments as negotiating points to draw out the process in the hopes that public pressure on the Sox to stop being obstructive and just let it go, plus perhaps pressure from Selig, would force the Sox to throw up their hands and essentially take whatever the Cubs would offer. It's basically Ricketts telling the Sox to stop being d&^#s.
However, I feel that public opinion is with the Sox on this one. Having reportedly moved from Garza to Jackson to McNutt, while the Cubs haven't budged off their stance of essentially "nothing of value", hasn't helped them. Listening to sports radio out here this am, with once exception, the clamor was for the Cubs to get this done as long as nobody named Castro was involved.
Bottom line is I think the Cubs know the value Theo offers, and also know that the Red Sox are under no obligation to just let him go. I think the moves from Ricketts so far have been in the hopes of creating pressure from the public and the rest of MLB so that the Sox DO feel obligated to move Theo. I think it's becoming increasingly evident that this isn't working out, as public perception even here in Chicago seems to be moving against the Cubs, and as far as we know Selig hasn't inserted himself. And, of course, he's trying this against Larry. So even if papers nationwide were clamoring for the Sox to just let things go, it may not have any impact anyway.
Ricketts hasn't lost anything by playing his hand this way. Theo's still his if he wants him. And now that I think it's becoming clear the Sox are no closer to blinking than they were two weeks ago, he'll be ready to ante up with the appropriate prospects.
*Or, of course, he really believes the Cubs stance on not giving up any value, won't listen to anyone who tells him otherwise, and lets this thing fall apart. I don't believe that, but it would make for some VERY fun times here on the North Side.