Source close to Theo: It’s “50-50” Epstein would leave the Red Sox

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Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that Theo Epstein is truly on the fence about leaving Boston, with one source close to Epstein saying that it’s 50-50 Epstein would take another job.

It’s all rather touchy-feely, of course. Epstein may want to go to find a new challenge, but he feels a loyalty to the organization and has a year left on his deal.  Meanwhile, owner John Henry loves Theo and seems to want him to stay but, according to Edes “there also is the sense that the loyalty Epstein feels toward Henry is reciprocal, and that Henry would not stand in the way if Epstein wanted to pursue another opportunity.”

So if he goes, where does he go?  Everyone talks about the Cubs, but the Angels job just opened up too, Edes reminds us.  As for a Theo replacement, Edes’ sources believe strongly that assistant GM Ben Cherington would get the nod.

How does this resolve itself? It seems that a job offer will set things in motion, not a firing of or a resignation by Epstein.  He’ll leave if he can find a job he likes. If not, he’s back.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.