Red Sox managerial search on hold until Theo Epstein’s situation is resolved

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Here’s something that’s not entirely surprising, but noteworthy, anyway.

Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports that Red Sox will not interview any candidates for their managerial vacancy until the Theo Epstein situation is involved.

The Cubs have expressed interest in Epstein for their general manager vacancy and the Red Sox GM was reportedly spotted in a Chicago-area Starbucks this weekend.

While it’s not clear when Epstein will make a decision about his future, the Red Sox are in no hurry to settle on a new manager, anyway. According to Speier, the team will likely consider one or more candidates who are still involved in the playoffs. Brewers hitting coach (and former Red Sox third base coach) Dale Sveum is believed to be one of them.

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.