Negotiations between the Cubs and Red Sox regarding compensation for Theo Epstein are getting pretty complicated, but it’s possible they could clash again later this offseason.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com paints a scenario where the clubs could compete for managerial candidates, naming Hall of Famer and Cubs legend Ryne Sandberg in particular.
Epstein attempted to hire Sandberg to manage Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Pawtucket before he joined the Phillies’ organization last year and now that Jim Hendry is no longer with the Cubs’ organization, he would be a natural and popular choice to replace Mike Quade as skipper. It sounds far-fetched that he would choose the Red Sox over the Cubs if given the opportunity, but Rosenthal notes that Boston is likely to have interest, as new GM Ben Cherington was also involved in the pursuit of Sandberg last year.
This could all be rendered moot if Epstein or Cherington decides to go with a candidate with previous managerial experience in the major leagues, but it’s a fun scenario to think about on a quiet Saturday afternoon.
Former Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is up for grabs this offseason, and Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that as many as nine suitors are interested in bringing the righty aboard. While the Red Sox are eager to retain Eovaldi’s services after his lights-out performance during their recent postseason run, they’ll have to contend with the Brewers, Phillies, Braves, White Sox, Padres, Blue Jays, Giants, and Angels — all of whom are reportedly positioned to offer something for the starter this winter.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 28-year-old in 2018, however. After losing his 2017 season to Tommy John surgery, he underwent an additional procedure to remove loose bodies from his right elbow in March and didn’t make his first appearance until the end of May. He was flipped for lefty reliever Jalen Beeks just prior to the trade deadline and finished his season with a combined 6-7 record in 21 starts, a 3.81 ERA, 1.6 BB/9, and 8.2 SO/9 through 111 innings.
Despite his numerous health issues over the last few years, Eovaldi raised his stock in October after becoming a major contributor during the Red Sox’ championship run. He contributed two quality starts in the ALDS and ALCS and returned in Games 1-3 of the World Series with three lights-out performances in relief — including a six-inning effort in the 18-inning marathon that was Game 3.
A frontrunner has yet to emerge for the righty this offseason, but Cafardo points out that the nine teams listed so far might just be the tip of the iceberg. Still, he won’t be the most sought-after starter on the market, as former Diamondbacks southpaw Patrick Corbin is expected to command an even bigger payday following his career-best 6.0-fWAR performance in 2018.