Epstein compensation: Don't worry about it

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Epstein compensation: Don't worry about it

DALLAS Remember when two baseball cities were obsessed over the compensation for Theo Epstein?

Almost two months ago, people were saying that the Boston Red Sox should ask for Matt Garza or Starlin Castro. Cubs fans couldnt wait for their savior to get to work in Wrigleyville and wondered what was holding up the deal.

Even Epstein later joked about this existential question: What am I truly worth?

It helps that Epstein remains good friends with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington. The two had agreed to take the matter out of ownerships hands and table it until after Thursdays Rule 5 draft.

I teased (Cherington) for referring to the compensation issue in a radio interview as cleaning out the garage, Epstein said. His analogy (was): You know you have to do it, but youll think of anything else under the sun to do first.

So I said that was a good point and I offered him two bags of ice melt and an old rake. Thats whats in my garage.

The Cubs president of baseball operations has a good sense of humor, and acknowledged that there isnt much of a deadline other than: It behooves both organizations to know whos on their club coming into spring training.

Epstein got a bigger job and a better title. Cherington got promoted to a job many believed he was ready for. As the winter meetings ended and the industry began checking out of the Hilton Anatole, this is where the rhetoric has gone.

Weve loosely defined a strategy of talking at some point in the near future, Cherington told reporters on Thursday. Well resolve it at some point Im sure.

There doesnt seem to be much urgency for the Cubs or Red Sox. Reporters still have to ask about it, but they know its not much of a story anymore. A good guess is that the Red Sox will get one or two players you may have never heard of before.

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

Road Ahead: Cubs look for revenge against Pirates

CSN's Cubs Pregame and Postgame host David Kaplan and analyst David DeJesus discuss the upcoming matchups in this edition of the Cubs Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland & NW Indiana Honda Dealers.

The Cubs' bats are finally coming around. 

On the back of Anthony Rizzo, who hit three homers this weekend, the North Siders took two out of three from the Cincinnati Reds and have been winners of four out of five overall. 

The offense will attempt to stay in their groove against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who swept the Cubs at Wrigley during the teams' last meeting. 

Luckily for Chicago's pitching staff, Starling Marte won't be anchoring the Pirates' order. The outfielder is serving a suspension for performance-enhancing drugs. 

After Pittsburgh, Joe Maddon's club hits Fenway Park for what should be a wild three-game set against the Red Sox. 

Watch David Kaplan and David DeJesus break down the upcoming matchups in the video above. 

 

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

CINCINNATI — With his high leg kick and below-the-radar breaking balls, Bronson Arroyo showed the Cubs a little old-style pitching. Who needs to throw 90 mph to beat the World Series champions?

The 40-year-old righty gave his best performance yet in his long comeback from elbow problems, pitching three-hit ball over six innings on Sunday, and the Cincinnati Reds salvaged a 7-5 victory . Arroyo worked fast, varied the angles of his deliveries, and kept `em guessing with his minimalist pitches.

"I'm happy for him, to see him back up," Chicago catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's a tough pitcher to face. Obviously he's throwing below hitting speed right now."

Arroyo (2-2) needed more than two years to recover from Tommy John surgery. The Reds gave him what amounted to a final chance this spring, and he's back to fooling `em with his unusual repertoire. Jon Jay saw pitches of 67, 74, 83, 75 and 70 mph during one at-bat.

"I don't want to say I had pinpoint control, but I was throwing the breaking ball down and out where it was almost impossible to hit," Arroyo said. "They knew where I was going, but I still had enough late movement to surprise them."

Arroyo allowed Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer - his third of the series - and struck out seven batters for the first time since May 13, 2014.

"This was the first time he looked like the Bronson of his first time through here," manager Bryan Price said, referring to Arroyo's 2006-13 stay in Cincinnati.

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Raisesl Iglesias gave up a pair of runs in the ninth before finishing off the Reds' 3-7 homestand.

Patrick Kivlehan's bases-loaded double highlighted a four-run sixth inning off John Lackey (1-3) and decided a matchup of up-in-years starters. The 38-year-old Lackey and Arroyo have combined for 793 starts in the majors.

Despite the loss, the defending champs took two of three in the series and moved back into first place in the NL Central. No surprise that it happened in Cincinnati - the Cubs have won 17 of their last 22 at Great American Ball Park. They've taken 20 of their last 25 overall against the Reds.

"I have nothing to complain about," manager Joe Maddon said.

Rizzo extended his hitting streak to 12 games - matching his career high - with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. His three-run shot with two outs in the ninth helped the Cubs rally for a 6-5, 11-inning victory in the series opener. He had another three-run homer during a 12-8 win on Saturday.

The Cubs have homered in their last 15 games at Great American. They hit seven in all during the series.