The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy reports that the Cubs have officially asked permission to speak to Red Sox GM Theo Epstein.
According to Shaughnessy, there were meetings at Fenway Park this afternoon regarding the team’s response to the request.
Epstein is under contract for another year, so the Red Sox would have the right to refuse the request. Or, as the Globe’s Peter Abraham notes, the Red Sox could agree to such a request with the stipulation that they receive compensation in the event that the Cubs and Epstein reach an agreement.
The Cubs are also thought to have some interest in Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington. Complicating things there is that Cherington would almost certainly step in for the Red Sox if Epstein leaves.
A source close to Epstein said earlier this week that it was 50-50 whether Theo would leave the Red Sox.
Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.
Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.
Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.
The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.
Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.
Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.