Report: Theo Epstein agrees to a five-year deal with the Cubs

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John Dennis of WEEI just reported that Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein has agreed with the Cubs on a five-year deal worth more than $15 million. This is a huge moment for the Cubs.  Franchise-altering.

The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this week. The Cubs and Red Sox still have to talk about compensation for letting Epstein go when he still had a year on his deal.  As was reported last night, however, compensation is not expected to be in the form of a top major league player. Most likely it’s a minor leaguer.

The assumption is that Epstein will be both team president and general manager.  That first title means very different things on different teams, so it’s not quite clear how much responsibility he’ll have or who else he’ll have to answer to at 1060 West Addison.  But given that the Cubs’ issues are primarily roster issues, you figure that Epstein will be rolling up his sleeves and getting to work on that as soon as he hits Chicago.

Mariners get 2B Kolten Wong from Brewers for Winker, Toro

Kolten Wong
USA Today
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SEATTLE – The Seattle Mariners acquired second baseman Kolten Wong from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday in a trade for outfielder Jesse Winker and infielder Abraham Toro.

Seattle also receives cash as part of the deal. ESPN reported the Brewers would be sending the Mariners about $1.75 million.

Milwaukee has been shedding payroll this offseason after going 86-76 and missing the playoffs for the first time since 2017. The Brewers picked up the $10 million team option on Wong’s contract for 2023 last month, then traded him away.

Wong, 32, batted .251 this season and had a career-best 15 homers to go with 47 RBIs and 17 steals in 134 games. He had a .339 on-base percentage and .430 slugging percentage.

But the two-time Gold Glove winner had an uncharacteristically tough season in the field with 17 errors to match his career high.

After ending a 21-year playoff drought, adding a second baseman had been one of the Mariners’ chief offseason objectives. Wong was Milwaukee’s starting second baseman for the last two years after spending his first eight seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Winker gives the Brewers a power-hitting outfielder to help replace Hunter Renfroe, traded to the Los Angeles Angels last week.

The 29-year-old Winker hit .219 with 14 homers and 53 RBIs in 136 games for Seattle in 2022 after playing five seasons in the NL Central with the Cincinnati Reds. He batted .305 with a .394 on-base percentage, .556 slugging percentage, 24 homers and 71 RBIs in 110 games with Cincinnati in 2021, when he was a National League All-Star.

Mariners president of baseball operations Jerry Dipoto said after the season Winker had surgery on his left knee and was expected to undergo another operation to repair an issue with his neck.

Toro, who turns 26 on Dec. 20, hit .185 with a .239 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 35 RBIs in 109 games this past season.