Report: Lucchino playing hardball with Cubs


Report: Lucchino playing hardball with Cubs

Apparently, the ruptured relationship between Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino has become a major stumbling block in Epstein's desire to leave the Red Sox for the Cubs.

Our Comcast SportsNetNBC Sports colleague, David Kaplan of CSN Chicago, reported Saturday that "negotiations between the Cubs and the Boston Red Sox have turned increasingly contentious" over compensation for Epstein, and that the Cubs "have dug in their heels" against what the Sox are demanding in return for letting their general manager out of the final year of his Boston contract.

To further complicate matters, Kaplan's sources say Lucchino -- who, as president and CEO, is heading the Red Sox' side of the talks -- "is trying to make it very difficult for Epstein to accept his dream situation in Chicago because of his fractured relationship with his one-time protege".

"The Red Sox hold the cards here because they have their new GM in Ben Cherington and they control Theo for the next 12 months," a baseball executive told Kaplan. "If they want, they can force Theo to stay in Boston or on the sidelines for the next year. Can the Cubs go without a GM for the next 12 months? That would be an incredibly gutsy move but also a very risky one . . .

"Larry Lucchino is one of the most unreasonable people I have ever dealt with and, because of his frayed relationship with Theo Epstein, he is looking to make a point at the expense of Theo's happiness and his desire to go to Chicago. I didn't believe that ownership group for one second when they said that they wouldn't stand in Theo's way if he wanted out of Boston. They are furious that he wants out and they are trying to make a point."

According to earlier reports in various media outlets, the Cubs were looking to compensate the Red Sox with cash while the Sox were looking for prospects. In addition, the Red Sox are attempting to prevent Epstein from taking any of his Boston assistants to Chicago.

Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'


Ortiz quells comeback speculation: 'My playing time has expired'

Forget that cryptic Tweet to the Globe. David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, fans. At least not as a player.

"My playing time has already expired," Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, 'I'll play tomorrow.' Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency."

No one really thought he was contemplating a comeback, but last week he Tweeted this . . .

. . . and that raised hopes that he'd changed his mind.

Not so.


Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Red Sox avoid arbitration with Bogaerts, Holt with 1-year deals

Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.

Terms of the deals were not announced.

It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.