Theo Epstein has reportedly agreed to a five-year, $15 million contract with the Cubs, which means the Red Sox are now in search of a new general manager.
However, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com that search won’t take long, as vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington “is widely expected” to replace Epstein as GM.
Cherington is from New Hampshire and has been with the Red Sox since 2002, previously sharing GM duties with Jed Hoyer when Epstein took a three-month break from the role in 2005.
McAdam reports that Cherington “has been in on a number of high-level meetings with team ownership since the Red Sox’s season crashed and burned on the final day of the season.”
I’m sure time will show that Cherington and Epstein are different in many ways, but the overall approach to team-building and player analysis probably won’t change a ton. After all, just a couple years ago I sat next to Cherington at a SABR convention presentation about assessing player value for midseason trades. It’s safe to say he’s a stat-head, just like Epstein and most of the Red Sox’s front office.
I would hope by now that I no longer have to preface All-Star talk with my usual “none of this matters” disclaimers, but please keep all of that in mind when I mention that Nick Markakis is leading all National League outfielders in All-Star voting.
Markakis, with 1,173,653 votes, has surpassed the slumping Bryce Harper in that category. Harper has 1,002,696 votes. The third place outfielder is Matt Kemp of the Dodgers with 925,697. Fourth place — Charlie Blackmon of the Dodgers — is like 300,000 votes back of Kemp.Yes, Markakis, Harper and Kemp may be the starting NL outfield. Brandon Nimmo — not on the ballot — should be grumpy, but he’ll get his chance I’m sure.
The thing about it: Markakis, for as unexpected as his appearance may be on this list, deserves to at least be in the top three. He’s second in WAR among National League outfielders behind Lorenzo Cain. He’s slowed down a good bit in June and he’s coming off of a 2017 season in which he had a 96 OPS+ and 0.7 WAR, but he’s having quite an outstanding season. I write that mostly so that there is a record of it come October and we’ve all forgotten it.
Seriously, though, good for Markakis, who has never made an All-Star Game. Good for Kemp too for that matter, who most people assumed was a walking — well, limping — corpse heading into this season. Good for Harper because anything that can keep up the guise of him having a good year when, in reality, he’s really not, will help his confidence as he heads into free agency.
Finally, good for the American League, who will likely get to face a far, far inferior National League team next month in Washington.
The rest of the voting: