LucchinoEpstein relationship may have prompted Theo's move


LucchinoEpstein relationship may have prompted Theo's move

BOSTON -- While deeply troubled by the team's September collapse, departed Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein had been contemplating -- some say desiring -- a move out of Boston for more than a year, according to sources close to the situation.

Source: Theo should have acted sooner during September collapse

People with knowledge of the situation say Epstein's often-tempestuous relationship with team president and CEO Larry Lucchino became contentious again in the last 12-14 months. While there was no single confrontation or "discussion" that pushed Epstein away from the Sox, they talked of a continuous series of give-and-takes that created more complications between the two.

"When Larry's in the picture, he is unyielding, pushing, prodding, and asking questions," said a source. "Theo's his own man, but that can wear on you over time."

Epstein reportedly took some of the interaction with Lucchino personally.

"While someone said in 'The Godfather' that business isn't personal," said an insider, "here, it just can't be that way." There was a feeling among some in the front office that Epstein needed to find a way to view these "slights" as being strictly business-related and not personal, and he was sometimes able to do so. But there were periods in the last year, said the source, that were "trying".

Epstein had always said being Red Sox general manager wouldn't be a lifetime position, and events of the last year made him even more receptive when the Cubs job opened.

Sources say Chicago had identified Epstein as the possible head of its Baseball Operations department long before August, which is when Cubs owner Tom Ricketts declared the search as being underway. Those who are knowledgeable about the search, and of Epstein's restlessness, pegged the two as ideal fits and said - in essence - it was, in the words of one, "love at first sight".

"How could he say no to this opportunity in Chicago?" said a Red Sox insider. "I know people think the 'honorable' thing would be to right the wrongs here in Boston, but we're on good ground. Better than good ground, despite the media's and talk show crackpots' assertions otherwise.

"This is a chance that anyone in Theo's position dreams of. It's the logical next step."

And one member of the Red Sox organization doesn't think events of the last two months -- on and off the field -- should tarnish Epstein's Boston legacy.

"Let's not forget he has two World Series on his resume," he said. "Let's hope the people within these walls remember that, as well."

Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years


Report: Aroldis Chapman, Yankees reach deal for $86M, 5 years

OXON HILL, Md. - Aroldis Chapman found a spot in a most familiar bullpen - a very rich spot, too.

The hard-throwing closer reached agreement to return to the New York Yankees on Wednesday night with the highest-priced contract ever for a relief pitcher, an $86 million deal for five years.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press that the contract was pending a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was not yet complete.

Once it's done, the 28-year-old lefty whose fastballs routinely top 100 mph would shatter the previous richest contract for a reliever - that was the $62 million, four-year deal Mark Melancon signed with San Francisco just a couple days ago during the winter meetings.

Chapman was acquired by New York from the Cincinnati Reds last offseason, then missed the first 29 games of the season due to a domestic violence suspension from Major League Baseball. The Cuban was traded to the Chicago Cubs in late July and helped them win the World Series, becoming a free agent when it was over.

Chapman went 4-1 with 36 saves and a 1.55 ERA in a combined 59 games for the Yankees and Cubs. He struggled some in the postseason as the Cubs beat Cleveland for their first championship since 1908.

With the Yankees this season, Chapman teamed with Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances in one of the most dominant bullpens in baseball history. Miller was later traded to Cleveland, but Betances is still with New York.

Earlier this week, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said the team was interested in both Chapman and fellow free agent closer Kenley Jansen. The Yankees had already made one deal at these meetings, signing slugger Matt Holliday, before paying a lot more to bring Chapman back to the Bronx.

Fox Sports first reported the agreement.

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

CSN CHICAGO: Yoan Moncada 'thrilled' to reunite with Jose Abreu on White Sox

Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu are back together.

The two Cuban natives were teammates in 2012 when they played for Cienfuegos in Cuba, and now they'll be in the same dugout once again — this time in Chicago.

"To get the opportunity to play with him right now in the United States, it's an honor for me," Moncada said through a translator on a conference call Wednesday. "I'm thrilled with that."

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