Red Sox “widely expected” to name Ben Cherington new GM

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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.

Josh Donaldson is still seeking a long-term deal with the Blue Jays

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If it were up to him, Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson would finish the remainder of his career in Toronto. In fact, he’d be “ticked pink” if the club decided to sign him to a long-term deal. Whether the Blue Jays share that sentiment is still unclear, as Donaldson said Saturday that the team has yet to engage his agent in extension talks.

“I’ve said that I wanted to be here,” he told MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “That’s pretty much all I can say. I’m not the one who makes the decisions, nor would I try to put them in the position to do that. Like I said, I believe the situation will become more fluid when the time is right.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean an extension is out of the question. The Blue Jays reached an unprecedented one-year, $23 million agreement with the three-time All-Star in arbitration, and have been reticent to field trade offers despite continued interest from the Cardinals this winter.

Donaldson, 32, is poised to enter his eighth season in the majors and fourth with the Blue Jays. In 2017, he batted .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs and a .944 OPS in 496 plate appearances, ranking sixth among all major league third baseman with 5.0 fWAR. He’s scheduled to enter free agency following the 2018 season.