LucchinoEpstein relationship may have prompted Theo's move

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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."

Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Former Red Sox prospect Andy Marte killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.

Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.

Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.  

Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.  

Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
 

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

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Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura killed in car crash in Dominican Republic

Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.

Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.

Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014. 

Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners. 

Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014. 

Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.