Is Theo playing games?

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Is Theo playing games?

Last week, Jon Heyman reported that the Red Sox and Cubs were among the favorites to land Angels pitcher Dan Haren. In the end, neither team pulled the trigger and Haren was bought out (he's now a free agent), but the idea of Boston and Chicago competing for the same player will always raise a red flag here at Standing Room Only.

On one hand, you can understand how and why the two franchises might have similar interests. With all the time that Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington spent together on Yawkey Way, they're probably more similar than any two decision makers in baseball. They obviously value the same qualities, and are intrigued by the same type of players. There's no question that we're headed for many, many occasions where the Sox and Cubs are reportedly after the same guy.

But at the same time, it will always be a little fishy. Especially in a situation like this one, when the Sox were rumored to be interested in Haren for a while, and then the Cubs suddenly emerged as a last-minute possibility.

It's only natural to wonder what's really going on.

After all, even though Theo now works for another team (and in a different league), you know that his rivalry with Larry Lucchino isn't over. In many respects, it's just getting started. You know and Theo knows that while the idea of losing out on a player won't sit well with Lucchino; the idea of losing out on a player to Epstein's Cubs will send him through the roof. So why wouldn't Theo use that to his advantage? Why not have some fun at the expense of crazy old Lucchino?

I can picture it now:

LOCATION: Theo's Office. He and Jed Hoyer are in there together. Feet up on the desk; throwing around a tennis ball.

HOYER: "Hey, you hear the Sox are after Haren?"

EPSTEIN: "Ha! Yeah. What a mess over there."

HOYER: "Yup. You know, anytime you can trade for a 32-year-old pitcher who's making 15 million and coming off the worst season of his career . . ."

EPSTEIN: (starts laughing) "Oh man. I just had a great idea. You have Jon Heyman's number?"

HOYER: (takes out cell phone) "Yup. Right here."

EPSTEIN: "OK, give me your phone. (Texting): Hey John - What's the latest on Haren? We're VERY interested. Want to know who else is in the mix."

MEANWHILE, BACK IN BOSTON . . .

LARRY LUCCHINO: "Sally, get me Cherington on the phone."

SALLY: "Right away, master."

LUCCHINO: Ben, it's Larry. Did you see this latest report from Heyman? He says that the Cubs are in on Haren. We are not losing this & guy to Epstein. Do you hear me?

CHERINGTON: (Inaudible mumbling)

LUCCHINO: "I DON'T CARE IF YOU THINK IT'S A JOKE. And I don't care if it takes Bogarts AND Bradley. Get me Haren or you're FIRED!"

Or something like that.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Moreland, Travis homer to lead Red Sox past Northeastern 9-6 in opener

Mitch Moreland and Sam Travis hit three-run homers and left-hander Brian Johnson started and pitched two scoreless innings to help the Red Sox win their spring training opener, 9-6, over Northeastern University on Thursday in Fort Myers, Fla.

Johnson, who made one spot start in his MLB debut with the Red Sox in 2015 but then was derailed by injuries and anxiety issues last season, struck out three and walked one Thursday. He's expected to start the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he went 5-6 with a 4.44 ERA in 15 starts in 2016.

Moreland, the left-handed hitting first baseman signed to a one-year deal after spending his first seven seasons with the Texas Rangers, and Travis, a right-handed hitting first base prospect coming back from knee surgery last season, each hit three-run homers in a six-run third inning.

Pablo Sandoval, attempting to reclaim the third-base job after missing nearly all of last season after surgery on his left shoulder, went 1-for-2 with a double. 

The Red Sox open Grapefruit League play Friday afternoon when they host the New York Mets at JetBlue Park. 

Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

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Pedro Martinez talks about one of the greatest games he's ever pitched

CSN baseball analyst Lou Merloni sits down with Pedro Martinez and Red Sox hitting coach Chili Davis to discuss one of Pedro's greatest games. 

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On September 10, 1999 at the height of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, Pedro Martinez struck out 17 Yankees in a complete game victory, with the only hit he allowed being a home run to Chili Davis. The two men recall that memorable night in the Bronx, and discuss the state of pitching in 2017.