Theo Epstein has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $15 million contract with the Cubs, which means the Red Sox are now in search of a new general manager.
However, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com that search won’t take long, as vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington “is widely expected” to replace Epstein as GM.
Cherington is from New Hampshire and has been with the Red Sox since 2002, previously sharing GM duties with Jed Hoyer when Epstein took a three-month break from the role in 2005.
McAdam reports that Cherington “has been in on a number of high-level meetings with team ownership since the Red Sox’s season crashed and burned on the final day of the season.”
I’m sure time will show that Cherington and Epstein are different in many ways, but the overall approach to team-building and player analysis probably won’t change a ton. After all, just a couple years ago I sat next to Cherington at a SABR convention presentation about assessing player value for midseason trades. It’s safe to say he’s a stat-head, just like Epstein and most of the Red Sox’s front office.
The Red Sox have more or less withdrawn from the Edwin Encarnacion sweepstakes, with Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald noting that much of their reluctance hinges on the likelihood that they’d exceed the new $195 million luxury tax threshold by locking the DH into a lucrative deal. That doesn’t leave them without options, however, and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reported that the club could be interested in 29-year-old corner infielder Pedro Alvarez, as well as fellow free agents Mike Napoli and Matt Holliday.
After playing just 10 games at DH from 2010 to 2015, Alvarez suited up as the Orioles’ primary designated hitter and part-time third baseman in 2016. His defense is sub-par, to say the least, but he batted .249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs for Baltimore in 2016.
According to Heyman, the Red Sox envision using Alvarez in much the same way the Orioles did. He’d have a place as the team’s DH with the occasional infield start, while Hanley Ramirez would keep his post at first base. Whether the Red Sox make offers to Napoli, Holliday or Alvarez, they’re expected to pursue a short-term deal in order to stay under budget.
The Braves signed left-handed reliever Jacob Lindgren to a one-year deal, according to a team announcement on Sunday.
Lindgren, the Yankees’ top draft pick in 2014, was nicknamed “The Strikeout Factory” after blowing through four levels of New York’s farm system in 2014. He started the 2015 season in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre and was called up for his major league debut only two months into the 2015 season. The 22-year-old lasted seven innings with the club before succumbing to bone chips in his elbow, and underwent bone spur surgery in June before trying his luck again during spring training in 2016.
In August, the Yankees shut Lindgren down for the remainder of the season so the lefty could undergo Tommy John surgery. With a projected return date of 2018, Lindgren was non-tendered by the Yankees on Friday.
While the Braves won’t get the benefit of Lindgren’s top prospect skill set in their bullpen anytime soon, he will remain under club control if they keep him on their 40-man roster beyond the 2017 season (per ESPN’s Keith Law).