McAdam: Uncertainty mounts on Epstein's future

191542.jpg

McAdam: Uncertainty mounts on Epstein's future

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

Days after the Red Sox parted ways with manager Terry Francona, there is increasing speculation that, soon, the club may do the same with general manager Theo Epstein.

As rumors intensify that Epstein may be interested in listening to the Chicago Cubs, a strange silence is emanating from Fenway Park.

When speculation first arose that Epstein was at the top of the Cubs' list of choices to replace the fired Jim Hendry as general manager, the most frequent line around Fenway was: "John Henry will never let (Epstein) go."

Months later, the landscape has changed, and just maybe, so has Henry's stance.

Certainly, the Red Sox have had more than enough opportunities to make this a non-issue. Days after reports about the Cubs having interest in Epstein surfaced, Henry sent an e-mail to inquiring reporters, noting that such speculation was pretty standard stuff and evidence of Epstein's reputation throughout the industry.

Had Henry been more pointed and noted that Epstein was under contract to the Red Sox through the end of 2012, and that Henry hoped and expected Epstein to continue as the club's GM for years to come, the speculation would have stopped then and there.

But Henry wasn't nearly that assertive. So the issue didn't die.

Then, last Friday, as CEO Larry Lucchino and chairman Tom Werner fidgeted uncomfortably during a press conference, the question was asked again: Would the Red Sox give the Cubs permission to speak with Epstein.

Improbably, Lucchino looked like he had been struck by a bolt of lightning, apparently caught completely off-guard that during a press conference to announce the Sox severing ties with their manager, that someone night happen to inquire about the job status of the man who hired that manager.

Lucchino said it wasn't the time to discuss Epstein's future and that the focus of the press conference was squarely on Francona.

Werner than stepped in and fumbled through a response that was more of a non-sequitor.

"We feel collectively that he's one of the best managers in baseball," said Werner, "and has been integral to the success of our club for the last 10 years."

Swell, but no one was asking for a summation of Epstein's tenure. The question was about whether he would be allowed to talk to another prospective employer.

Again, nothing definitive, nothing that would slam the door on such speculation.

Epstein's current deal runs out after 2012, meaning the Red Sox have two choices: Allow Epstein to interview with the Cubs, or give him an extension which locks him up for at least two seasons beyond 2012.

If the Sox are willing to let Epstein go elsewhere, they should get on with the business for preparing for life without him. Finding a manager is going to be challenging enough; if ownership has to first find a general manager, and then the newly-minted GM has to hire a manager, it will be mid-November before all the pieces are in place.

If, on the other hand, ownership is intent on keeping Epstein, then an extension for Epstein is necessary. It would be impractical and unfair to allow Epstein to conduct the managerial search with his own future in doubt.

What potential manager wouldn't be wondering: What happens if the guy who hires me is out of a job in a year?

It's a logical enough question, one ownership hasn't given much consideration.

Epstein hasn't spoken to reporters since Friday and didn't return numerous calls. A person who spoke to Epstein over the weekend was asked if he thought Epstein would indeed leave for the Cubs.

"I don't think so," said the person. "But at this point, I don't know if anyone knows for sure."

And the longer the silence continues on Yawkey Way, the more uncertain the winter of the Red Sox' discontent becomes.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

Cardinals pull away late for 7-2 victory over Red Sox

The Cardinals broke open a close game with four runs in the last two innings against Red Sox relief prospect Chandler Shepherd and went on to a 7-2 exhibition victory over Boston yesterday at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Cardinals box score

The loss dropped the Sox to 1-3 for the exhibition season.

Boston had jumped on top, 1-0, on an RBI single by Mitch Moreland in the bottom of the first, but St. Louis countered with two runs in the second and one in the third, all against starter Brian Johnson. It remained 3-1 until the Cards touched Shepherd for two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth. The Red Sox added their final run in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Jordan Procyshen, who spent last season at Single-A Salem, hit a sacrifice fly.

Moreland, Xander Bogaerts and Chris Young each had two hits for the Red Sox. who also got scoreless relief from Teddy Stankiewicz, Noe Ramirez, Robby Scott, Kyle Martin and Brandon Workman. It was Bogaerts' last game before leaving to compete for The Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic.

The Sox host the Yankees on Tuesday at 1:05 p.m.

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia taking cues from Tom Brady to extend his career

Dustin Pedroia is no stranger to injuries. That's a big reason why he's no longer a stranger to the sometimes peculiar practices of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

In an interview on WEEI's "Bradfo Show," Pedroia told Rob Bradford that he's been taking cues from the five-time Super Bowl-winning QB to help extend his playing career and make his body healthier and more durable.

“I understand what he does and know what he does. I think it’s awesome,” Pedroia told Bradford. “There’s a reason why he’s successful at his age (39), and he looks better now than he did when he first came to the league. You have to be smarter as you get older and learn different styles -- the way to train and the way you take care of your body to be able to perform and stay on the field. It doesn’t matter what sport you’re playing. He’s definitely got that figured out.”

Pedroia, of course, played the entire 2013 World Series-winning season with a torn ligament in his thumb. He's battled through various other lower body and hand injuries over the past few seasons, as well. But in 2016, he had his best season in recent memory, posting his highest OPS since 2011, as WEEI notes.

Part of that is with his own take on the Brady approach -- which focuses more on pliability and resistance training than extensive, heavy weight lifting -- and a healthier overall lifestyle, something Brady is notoriously infamous for having.

"There’s tons of ways to take care of your body. It’s not just get in the weight room and throw weights around,” Pedroia explained. “As you get older, the human body can’t take the pounding if you’re going in there and power lifting. When you’re younger, you can handle some of that. But as you get older, you got to be smarter. Sometimes less is more -- whether that’s weight or reps or whatever. You’ve just got to be smart. And eating wise, that’s a big part of recovery. If you put the right foods in your body, you’ll heal faster if you’re injured or recover faster. It’s like a car, man. Put bad gas in, bro. It’s not going to be the same as good gas.”

He hopes the approach can, at the very least, keep him moving for quite some time.

“I plan on living until I’m 100," he said. "So we’re not even halfway home."