Cubs, Theo Epstein close to a contract extension

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This has been brewing for some time, but last night Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that the club and Theo Epstein are getting “close” to a contract extension for the team president. When the deal is said and done Epstein, based on some reports about all of this a month or two ago, should be the most highly-paid executive in baseball.

It will be well-deserved. What he did to lead the Boston Red Sox to their first (and second and eventually, after he left, a third) World Series title in decades is well-documented. Maybe not even as documented as it should be, really. It has become somewhat fashionable to diminish Epstein’s contribution to the Red Sox’ success in some ways, saying it was more about Dan Duquette or Ben Cherington or ownership or Terry Francona, but this rings hollow for me.

The Red Sox open their season today. Six men on their 25-man roster will consist of guys from the 2011 draft, which was Epstein’s last with the club. The players: Matt Barnes, Blake Swihart, Jackie Bradley Jr., Noe Ramirez, Mookie Betts, and Travis Shaw. That number of dudes from one draft on a major league roster is crazy and speaks to how strong an overall organization Epstein helped build in Boston.

And so it is with Chicago. When he took over the Cubs following that 2011 draft the team was a disaster, both on the field and off. There were stacks of paper everywhere to go with antiquated computer systems and antiquated thinking. Now the Cubs are a class organization, top to bottom, and are expected to win for a long time.

Epstein is a Hall of Fame executive. He’s gonna be paid like one. He totally deserves it.

Report: David Price to pay each Dodgers minor leaguer $1,000 out of his own pocket

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Francys Romero reports that, according to his sources, Dodgers pitcher David Price will pay $1,000 out of his own money to each Dodgers minor leaguer who is not on the 40-man roster during the month of June.

That’s a pretty amazing gesture from Price. It’s also extraordinarily telling that such a gesture is even necessary.

Under a March agreement with Major League Baseball, minor leaguers have been receiving financial assistance that is set to expire at the end of May. Baseball America reported earlier this week that the Dodgers will continue to pay their minor leaguers $400 per week past May 31, but it is unclear how long such payments would go. Even if one were to assume that the payments will continue throughout the month of June, however, it’s worth noting that $400 a week is not a substantial amount of money for players to live on, on which to support families, and on which to train and remain ready to play baseball if and when they are asked to return.

Price’s generosity should be lauded here, but this should not be considered a feel-good story overall. Major League Baseball, which has always woefully underpaid its minor leaguers has left them in a vulnerable position once again.