It’s finally done.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe reports that the Red Sox and Cubs have agreed to the framework of a deal that will allow Theo Epstein to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. Epstein has resigned from his post as Red Sox general manager and will join the Cubs’ front office, effective immediately.
The Cubs will hold a press conference on Tuesday, the next off-day of the World Series, to introduce Epstein while Ben Cherington is expected to be announced as his replacement on the same day in Boston.
Compensation hasn’t been settled yet, but a joint statement from the clubs specifies they have “reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined.” With Epstein now a member of the Cubs’ front office, he will presumably be involved in the negotiations. That’s not awkward at all. According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, if the two sides are unable to reach a satisfactory agreement in the next few days, commissioner Bud Selig could step in as an arbitrator.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.