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.

Umpire ejects Adrian Beltre for moving on-deck circle

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As far as ejections go, this is one of the stranger ones you’ll hear about. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre was ejected in the bottom of the eighth inning of a game his team trailed at the time 18-6. Beltre was a few feet away from the circle towards home plate and was asked by Marlins pitcher Drew Steckenrider to get into the circle. So rather than step a few feet back to his right, Beltre picked up the circle and dragged it to where he was. And that got him ejected by second base umpire Gerry Davis. Manager Jeff Banister was also ejected after having a word with Davis.

Here’s a video from Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports:

Beltre, by the way, went 3-for-3 with a walk, a pair of doubles, and a solo home run. He’s now four hits away from 3,000 for his career.

Video: Phillies prospect J.P. Crawford hits an inside-the-park grand slam

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Phillies shortstop prospect J.P. Crawford’s stock has fallen sharply this season. He had an abysmal first three months, batting .203/.321/.276 in 291 plate appearances. Baseball America rated him the 12th overall prospect in baseball going into the season and rated him No. 92 in their midseason top 100. It was bad.

Since the calendar turned to July, however, Crawford has been more like his normal self. In 92 at-bats this month entering Wednesday night’s action, he was hitting .300/.391/.650 with six home runs, 13 RBI, 18 runs scored, and a terrific 15/12 K/BB ratio.

Crawford padded his stats more on Wednesday night as he circled the bases for an inside-the-park grand slam. Via the IronPigs Twitter:

Crawford was actually dead-to-rights at home, but he fooled the catcher with a great late slide.

Crawford finished 1-for-3 with a walk along with the slam on the night as the IronPigs beat the Gwinnett Braves 8-2.