It’s finally done.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox and Cubs have agreed to the framework of a deal that will allow Theo Epstein to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. Epstein has resigned from his post as Red Sox general manager and will join the Cubs’ front office, effective immediately.
The Cubs will hold a press conference on Tuesday, the next off-day of the World Series, to introduce Epstein while Ben Cherington is expected to be announced as his replacement on the same day in Boston.
Compensation hasn’t been settled yet, but a joint statement from the clubs specifies they have “reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined.” With Epstein now a member of the Cubs’ front office, he will presumably be involved in the negotiations. That’s not awkward at all. According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, if the two sides are unable to reach a satisfactory agreement in the next few days, commissioner Bud Selig could step in as an arbitrator.
The Phillies have signed free agent outfielder Michael Saunders.
Saunders was an All-Star in 2016 due to his wonderful start, but he cratered in the second half of the season. Overall is numbers looked good — he hit 24 homers and posted a line of .253/.338/.478, but his second half line was .178/.282/.357 in 58 games. He’s not the best defender around either.
The Phillies could use him, however, and if he has another red hot first half, there’s a decent chance they could flip him if they wanted to.
It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.
Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.
The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.