Report: Theo Epstein “on the cusp” of leaving Red Sox to accept job with Cubs

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It’s really happening.

According to Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald, Theo Epstein is “on the cusp” of leaving the Red Sox to accept a job with the Cubs.

The new position is believed “to include powers greater than he has in Boston” and an announcement could be made “within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

It isn’t quite a done deal yet, though, as the Red Sox still hope to retain Epstein and would seek compensation if he decides to accept the job with Chicago. One source with knowledge of the negotiations tells Buckley that the Red Sox would want “something real” in return.

If Epstein does indeed take the Cubs’ job, most expect Red Sox senior vice president and assistant GM Ben Cherington will take over in Boston. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE: Alex Speier of WEEI.com quotes a source “familiar with the matter” as saying the Herald report is “not accurate.” Regardless, Speier writes that resolution is nearing and that the possibility that Epstein could leave the Red Sox is very real.

UPDATE II:  David Kaplan of CSNChicago.com reports that the Cubs won’t give up their top major league players as compensation for Epstein. Compensation will happen, Kaplan’s source tells him, but it will likely be minor league talent at best.

Royals sign Drew Storen to minor league deal

Drew Storen
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The Royals are in agreement with right-handed reliever Drew Storen on a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Per Jon Heyman of MLB Network, the deal is worth $1.25 million if the veteran righty breaks camp with the club this spring. Additional, albeit unspecified incentives will be included in the contract as well.

Storen, 31, is coming off of a protracted absence from any MLB duties. After inking a one-year deal with the Reds in 2017, he sustained a right elbow sprain toward the end of the year and underwent Tommy John surgery that October. He was effectively decommissioned for the club’s entire 2018 run and generated little interest around the league this winter, perhaps due in part to the uninspired 4.45 ERA, 3.8 BB/9, 7.9 SO/9, and career-low -0.2 fWAR he posted across 54 2/3 innings during his last healthy season.

While it’s not immediately clear what kind of performance the Royals can expect from Storen in spring training, they’re not exactly in a position to be choosy. Their bullpen ranked dead last among all MLB teams with a collective 5.04 ERA, 4.85 FIP, and -2.2 fWAR last year, and still appears to be in a state of flux as they approach Opening Day. Skipper Ned Yost told reporters Wednesday that he intends to eschew the traditional closer appointment in 2019 and will instead utilize a combination of right-handers Wily Peralta and Brad Boxberger, lefty Tim Hill, and various others as he tackles high-leverage situations in the future.