Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said that there’s been progress in extension talks with president of baseball operations Theo Epstein, Jesse Rogers of ESPNChicago.com reports on Twitter. While the sides aren’t setting any expectations for when a deal could be finalized, Ricketts gave the impression that one could be close. As has been widely expected for some time, Epstein is in line to overtake the Dodgers’ Andrew Friedman as the game’s highest-paid executive, Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com adds on Twitter.
Here’s more from the National League …
- The Padres are hoping that Rule 5 picks Jabari Blash and Luis Perdomo can justify their roster spots not only with their long-term upside, but also their immediate contributions, AJ Cassavell of MLB.com writes. Blash looks to be the more MLB-ready of the two, notes Cassavell, with the 22-year-old Perdomo showing plenty of talent but also a lack of polish. It looks like it’ll be an uphill battle for the young righty to stick all year after a tough spring and rough handling by the Dodgers late in today’s blowout loss.
- Padres GM A.J. Preller says he’s hoping to find a way to keep Rule 5 righty Josh Martin even after designating him for assignment yesterday, Cassavell tweets. By waiting to put him in DFA limbo, rather than utilizing outright waivers, San Diego has ten days to work out a deal with the Indians to retain Martin’s rights — assuming he isn’t ultimately claimed by another organization.
- Losing A.J. Pollock for what could be a huge chunk of the 2016 season puts the Diamondbacks in a significant hole, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs explains. What had been a promising outfield mix, led by Pollock, now appears to have significant issues up the middle and in left, as Socrates Brito and Chris Owings — along with, perhaps, some outside help — figure to share time in center while putting even more pressure on Yasmany Tomas. It’s obviously always rough for a team to lose a player who’s expected to be a major contributor, but Sullivan explains that Arizona was already a mostly-borderline contender before losing one of the game’s best outfielders.
- The Rockies have received positive returns on Jon Gray’s efforts to work through an ab injury, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports. After a lengthy live-BP session, Gray appears ready to make a minor league rehab appearance and also feels he may have discovered an important mechanical adjustment. Colorado is hoping for big things from the 24-year-old, and it is certainly good news that it seems he’ll soon be ready to join the MLB staff.