Today is deadline day for the Cubs and the Red Sox to come to an agreement on compensation for the latter allowing Epstein out of his contract to join the former. As Pete Abe reports in the Globe, there has been no real progress and it looks as though it will all be thrown into Bud Selig’s lap for resolution.
Which I have to assume is what everyone involved wants. The sort of negotiation going on there has to be awkward. Think about it: the team who was — for lack of a better term — jilted is in the position of arguing how valuable Epstein was and the team who desperately wanted him and paid big money for him arguing that, nah, he’s not worth a ton. Better to let Selig decide.
I would love to see his ruling be a crazy one: the Sox have to give John Lackey to the Cubs and the Cubs have to give Alfonso Soriano and $11.75 million to the Red Sox. The money would even out then, each would be stuck with a near-useless player and it would have the added poetry of making each team wear a scarlet “A” to memorialize their asinine free agent signing.
Sadly, I don’t think Bud has the flair for that kind of literary justice.
The Blue Jays have released right-handed reliever John Axford from his minor league contract, per an announcement on Saturday. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi speculates that the move could provide an avenue for the club to rework Axford’s contract, but the Blue Jays have yet to confirm or deny the report.
Axford, 35, was dealt a blow on Thursday after getting diagnosed with a stress reaction in the olecranon bone of his right elbow. Elbow soreness dogged the right-hander through much of his time in camp, and although he was scheduled for a follow-up examination later this spring, a definite return date had not been established.
Prior to the diagnosis, Axford was tabbed for a setup role with the team in 2019. He pitched to mixed results in 2018 (thanks in part to a late-season fracture of his right fibula) with a 5.27 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 9.8 SO/9 through 54 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays and Dodgers. Now, however, it’s not certain that he’ll return to the mound this season in any capacity.
Axford isn’t the only reliever the Blue Jays have lost to injury lately, either, as right-handers Ryan Tepera and Bud Norris have been sidelined with right elbow inflammation and forearm fatigue, respectively. Per Davidi, the Blue Jays offered Norris a $100,000 retention bonus to prevent him from opting out of the minor league contract he signed in February.