Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein speaks at a news conference at Wrigley Field in Chicago

Cubs, Red Sox punt; ask Bud Selig to solve the Theo compensation issue

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It occurs to me on occasion that someone stumbling onto a headline like that will not comprehend it at all unless they already know everything about the issue it refers to, in which case the post is kind of pointless to begin with.

Sorry. Feeling existential this morning.

Anyway, the headline does kind of say it all.  Unable to come to any kind of agreement on what kind of compensation the Red Sox are owed by the Cubs for hiring Theo Epstein away, the sides have asked Bud Selig to make a decision. Gordon Wittenmyer of the Sun-Times:

It’s unclear how long Selig will take. Also unclear is whether the solution will involve ordering a specific player or players to the Red Sox or setting parameters. There appears to be no precedent for it.

Hmm, a complicated issue with little or no precedent is being put on Bud Selig’s plate.  In that case the question isn’t what the solution will look like. It’s all about who’s gonna be on the blue ribbon committee and what epoch will the Earth find itself in when a report is finally released.

Snark aside, this is probably the right call. I’m not sure how the parties here can possibly negotiate about what Epstein is worth without it being insanely awkward.  The Cubs have to be in the position of saying that he’s not worth anything of value or else they’re not zealously negotiating, and that makes them look bad. The Red Sox have to be in the position of saying he’s worth the moon, and that makes them look bad for allowing him to leave.

Oh well. The best part: ultimately there’s going to be some minor leaguer or something who is sent to Boston who has 50 reporters mob him and ask what it feels like to be worth a year of Theo Epstein’s services. Which should be fun.

Brett Lawrie will take a pay cut to avoid arbitration with White Sox

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 12: Brett Lawrie #15 of the Chicago White Sox fields a ground ball during batting practice before the start of the game against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 12, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.

The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.

Cubs sign LHP Brian Duensing to a one-year, $2 million deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Brian Duensing #50 of the Baltimore Orioles throws a pitch in the eleventh inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.

The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.

The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.