Talks between Cubs, Red Sox for Theo Epstein have turned “increasingly contentious”

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And you thought this would be easy, huh?

David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that talks between the Red Sox and Cubs regarding compensation for Theo Epstein have turned “increasingly contentious” as the two sides remain “far apart” on an agreement.

In fact, one baseball executive with knowledge of the parties involved says that Red Sox president Larry Luchino is “trying to make it very difficult” for Epstein to formally take the job with Chicago.

“Larry Lucchino is one of the most unreasonable people I have ever dealt with and because of his frayed relationship with Theo Epstein he is looking to make a point at the expense of Theo’s happiness and his desire to go to Chicago. I didn’t believe that ownership group for one second when they said that they wouldn’t stand in Theo’s way if he wanted out of Boston. They are furious that he wants out and they are trying to make a point. Theo helped bring them two World Series titles and they have no loyalty to him and his happiness. They messed with Terry Francona and that was just an incredibly pathetic move and now they are trying to make life very tough for Theo,”  he said.

While the Red Sox are reportedly playing hardball and demanding top prospects, this negotiation is a bit more complicated than originally thought, as Epstein would like to bring some of his trusted assistants along with him to Chicago. Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe speculates that Red Sox head trainer Mike Reinold and VP of baseball operations Brian O’Hallaran could be involved.

There’s no set deadline on talks, but if the two sides don’t reach an agreement before the World Series begins next Wednesday, they will have to wait to make it official.

Video: Jake Arrieta hits a 465-foot home run off of Zack Greinke

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Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.

The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.

Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.

Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.

Luis Valbuena to miss four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring

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Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.

Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.