Report: Theo Epstein “on the cusp” of leaving Red Sox to accept job with Cubs

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It’s really happening.

According to Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald, Theo Epstein is “on the cusp” of leaving the Red Sox to accept a job with the Cubs.

The new position is believed “to include powers greater than he has in Boston” and an announcement could be made “within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

It isn’t quite a done deal yet, though, as the Red Sox still hope to retain Epstein and would seek compensation if he decides to accept the job with Chicago. One source with knowledge of the negotiations tells Buckley that the Red Sox would want “something real” in return.

If Epstein does indeed take the Cubs’ job, most expect Red Sox senior vice president and assistant GM Ben Cherington will take over in Boston. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE: Alex Speier of WEEI.com quotes a source “familiar with the matter” as saying the Herald report is “not accurate.” Regardless, Speier writes that resolution is nearing and that the possibility that Epstein could leave the Red Sox is very real.

UPDATE II:  David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cubs won’t give up their top major league players as compensation for Epstein. Compensation will happen, Kaplan’s source tells him, but it will likely be minor league talent at best.

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.