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WEEI » This Just In » Gammons: Cubs job could interest Theo
Wed, 08/24/2011 - 1:15pm  

Gammons: Cubs job could interest Theo

Hall of Fame baseball reporter Peter Gammons made his weekly appearance on the Mut & Merloni show Wednesday to talk about the Red Sox and other baseball news.

The Cubs recently fired general manager Jim Hendry, and there's been speculation that Red Sox GM Theo Epstein might be willing to listen to an offer.

Said Gammons: "I think he'd have interest. I don't know right now if, with a year to go [on his contract], whether he would. … We're talking about one of the best jobs in baseball."

Added Gammons: "It's a great job. Having gone even longer than the Red Sox without winning, if you win in Chicago, win a World Series in the next six or eight years, that city's yours forever. And that's not the worst city to have as your own fiefdom."

John Lackey's solid performance Tuesday night in Texas may have given him the edge over Erik Bedard in the battle for the No. 3 spot in the Red Sox' rotation, but the former Mariner doesn't appear to be far behind.

"I think right now it's Lackey's," Gammons said. "But I think that they think that after five starts -- I know Curt Young feels this way -- that they may really see a turning the corner in Bedard. Bedard's stuff has been very good. With his swing-and-miss stuff, he can go throw five or six innings in a playoff game against a good team and put up a pretty representative start. And that's important if -- if -- they get [Bobby] Jenks back."

The Red Sox are in solid position for a postseason berth, but Gammons stressed that they should not take the division race lightly.

"If the Tigers win, you don't really want to be facing Justin Verlander twice in a five-game series. But I'm sorry, starting out a series in Texas is not something you want," Gammons said. "If you're a wild card team, you'd have to start out in Texas and win three straight series on the road to win the World Series. I think it does matter whether you finish first or not."

Added Gammons: "I look at Texas and I see those big three left-handed power pitchers, and [Alexi] Ogando is the fourth starter and Colby Lewis is a 5, and all the additions they made to the bullpen. I think they're really scary. They get [Adrian] Beltre back, they're going to be much better. I don't think I'd want to have to play three out of five against Texas in Arlington.

Looking at options to improve the Sox, Gammons suggested they take a close look at a player such as Twins outfielder Jason Kubel, although he doubted someone of Kubel's stature would fall to them. That might make injured outfielder J.D. Drew that much more important.

"You just don't know about J.D.," Gammons said. "If he's healthy, he could put on a great month. … If you don't go and pick somebody up outside, then J.D. becomes really important."

With catcher Ryan Lavarnway impressing in his brief stint in Boston, Gammons was asked about next season's possibilities.

"It's really hard to carry three catchers, especially in the era of 12 pitchers on a roster," Gammons said. "He may be able to be the DH against left-handed pitching. … I have trouble saying. 'OK, he can be the backup catcher,' and letting Varitek go, just because what I perceive -- and I don't watch at the ballpark every afternoon -- what Varitek does. It's still only going to be Year 2 of Saltalamacchia. He's a safety net for him. He's great with the pitchers. He can be great for Lavarnway."

Added Gammons: "Maybe you carry all three. I have trouble saying we can the door on Varitek. Maybe statistics show he's not going to hit another year and all that kind of thing. I plead prejudice because of my profound respect for Varitek, but I think that's tough to do."

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Red Sox news, visit the team page at weei.com/redsox.




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