There are varying reports about how negotiations between the Red Sox and Cubs for general manager Theo Epstein have gone, but here’s something new: According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago the initial asking price was Matt Garza.
Realistically that was never going to happen, but it wouldn’t be shocking if the Red Sox figured they might as well start the process by requesting one of the Cubs’ few good, relatively young big leaguers.
Last offseason Chicago gave up a ton to get Garza from Tampa Bay and he had a strong first season with the Cubs, throwing 198 innings with a 3.20 ERA and 197 strikeouts. He’s also just 27 years old and under team control through 2014, so … well, it just wasn’t gonna happen.
Assuming the negotiations for Epstein eventually lead to a deal expect the compensation to be a non-elite minor leaguer or two.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.