Report: Theo Epstein agrees to a five-year deal with the Cubs

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John Dennis of WEEI just reported that Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has agreed with the Cubs on a five-year deal worth more than $15 million. This is a huge moment for the Cubs.  Franchise-altering.

The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this week. The Cubs and Red Sox still have to talk about compensation for letting Epstein go when he still had a year on his deal.  As was reported last night, however, compensation is not expected to be in the form of a top major league player. Most likely it’s a minor leaguer.

The assumption is that Epstein will be both team president and general manager.  That first title means very different things on different teams, so it’s not quite clear how much responsibility he’ll have or who else he’ll have to answer to at 1060 West Addison.  But given that the Cubs’ issues are primarily roster issues, you figure that Epstein will be rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on that as soon as he hits Chicago.

Padres, Mariners join list of teams to extend netting

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The Reds announced earlier that they plan to extend the protective netting at Great American Ball Park in time for Opening Day next season. You can add the Padres and Mariners to what will surely be a growing list.

A young fan was struck in the face by a foul ball at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday, which gave new life to the netting debate. Some fans and media types think Major League Baseball is not doing enough to protect fans. While Major League Baseball has issued guidelines for protective netting, it is ultimately up to the teams to decide just how much netting to use.

Zach Britton receives stem cell injection, likely done for the season

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Orioles closer Zach Britton is likely done for the remainder of the 2017 season after receiving a stem cell injection in his left knee, Peter Schmuck and Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun report. Britton has been battling knee problems for most of the season.

The Orioles are still technically in the AL Wild Card race, entering play Thursday 5.5 games behind the Twins for the second Wild Card slot. With only nine games remaining, however, the 73-80 Orioles are likely being realistic about their chances and not taking any unnecessary risks with Britton.

Britton, 29, put up a 2.89 ERA with 15 saves and a 29/18 K/BB ratio in 37 1/3 innings this season. He will be eligible for arbitration for the fourth and final time this offseason.