In his first job as a general manager, Theo Epstein helped construct the Boston Red Sox team that ended decades of misery by winning a World Series title in 2004. Now, Epstein is closing in on a deal to take over the Chicago Cubs, a franchise with an even more enduring legacy of dismay.
Epstein is close to completing his transition from the Red Sox to the Cubs, according to a Red Sox official who was granted a request for anonymity because the move had not been announced. Another Red Sox official said that Epstein had not informed his staff of a move, but that the front office widely expected him to leave.
Multiple reports have said Epstein has a five-year agreement in place with the Cubs, with an average annual value from $3 million to $4 million. Because Epstein, 37, was signed with the Red Sox through 2012, the teams must agree on how the Cubs would compensate the Red Sox.
Report: Francona dulled
As the Boston Red Sox disintegrated in what would become the worst September collapse in baseball history, some at Fenway Park grew concerned that the pain medication Terry Francona was taking after a half-dozen procedures on his knee was affecting his ability to manage, according to a report in the Boston Globe.
In a 2,500-word, front-page article headlined, "Inside the Collapse," the newspaper reported that apathetic players drank beer and ate fried chicken in the clubhouse during games, and that Francona's performance might have been affected by the use of pain medication.
Francona strongly denied that allegation.
"It makes me angry that people say these things because I've busted my (butt) to be the best manager I can be," Francona told the paper. "I wasn't terribly successful this year, but I worked harder and spent more time at the ballpark this year than I ever did."
Around the majors
Phillies: Ryan Howard could miss the start of next season after the slugger had surgery Wednesday to repair his torn Achilles' tendon. "It's going to be five-to-six months from the surgery until he can play at his accustomed level," General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. Howard was injured while making the final out in a NLDS game last week.
Indians: Starter Justin Masterson had surgery on his left, non-pitching shoulder. The team said Masterson had a labral tear repaired arthroscopically on Wednesday. He is expected to recover and be ready for training camp.