Compensation talks for GM Epstein are “business-like, civil”

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David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com heard from sources Saturday that talks between the Cubs and Red Sox involving compensation for GM Theo Epstein had grown “increasingly contentious.”

Less than 24 hours later, things would seem to be moving in the right direction again.

An executive involved in the ongoing negotiations told Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe that recent discussions have been “business-like” and “civil,” and that the swap is slowly but surely moving forward.

Epstein has already agreed to a five-year, $20 million deal that will make him the new general manager of the Cubs, and Red Sox owner John Henry confirmed news of Theo’s departure during a radio interview Friday. But because the 37-year-old executive still had a year remaining on his contract with Boston, the Cubs have to send some form of compensation — likely a couple of lower-level prospects — to the Sawx in return.

Major League Baseball is surely pushing for the two sides to reach a resolution before the start of the World Series on Wednesday. Bud Selig and Co. tend to discourage major announcements during the Fall Classic.

Erasmo Ramirez to be shut down with a minor lat strain

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Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez has been shut down for two weeks with a minor lat strain, reports Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. It’s a precautionary move, as Ramirez felt some tightness in his arm and could not complete his scheduled bullpen session on Saturday.

There’s no word yet on whether Ramirez will be able to recover in time for the start of the season, though he’s expected to claim a rotation spot again this spring. The 28-year-old righty has been dogged by injuries throughout his six-year career, but finally managed to piece together a full season on the mound in back-to-back stints with the Rays and Mariners in 2017. He went 5-6 in 19 starts for the two clubs and turned in a cumulative 4.39 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 131 1/3 innings.

The Mariners are no stranger to pitcher injuries, either. They lost a number of their top arms to various elbow, arm and shoulder injuries last year and cycled through 40 total pitchers as they limped toward a 78-84 finish. Comments from club manager Scott Servais indicate that the team will keep a close eye on Ramirez throughout his recovery, though Divish notes that right-hander Andrew Moore and lefty Ariel Miranda could also slot into the no. 5 spot if Ramirez experiences further setbacks.