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Tampa Bay Rays could benefit if Theo Epstein leaves Boston Red Sox

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is on the verge of leaving his job and joining the Cubs, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday. An announcement could come within the next two days.

Epstein going to the Cubs would seem to be a doubleheader win for the Rays. It would end speculation that executive vice president Andrew Friedman would leave the Rays for the Cubs (though he could still be a candidate in Houston), and it would create further disruption for the rival Red Sox, who have already parted ways with manager Terry Francona amid talk of a disconnect between the front office and the clubhouse.

Epstein helped build teams that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007. However, Boston has failed to reach the playoffs the past two seasons and went 7-20 this September as the Rays came back from nine games behind to earn the wild card.

Hunsicker likely to stay

Rays senior vice president Gerry Hunsicker is reported to be among six candidates for the Orioles vacant general manager's job, but such a move seems unlikely.

Hunsicker, former Astros GM, has been with the Rays since November 2005 and likes his role enough to have resisted previous overtures about GM openings, creating the expectation within the industry that it would take an ideal scenario to lure him back.

Given their long stretch of losing and with strong-willed owner Peter Angelos and manager Buck Showalter, the Orioles are not considered to be close to that.

ESPN reported that candidates to replace Andy MacPhail include Hunsicker, former Diamondbacks GM and current Padres assistant Josh Byrnes, former Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi, Marlins assistant (and former Rays scouting director) Dan Jennings, Rangers assistant Thad Levine and Blue Jays assistant Tony LaCava.

The Baltimore Sun also reported Hunsicker was a candidate, with Jennings, LaCava, Ricciardi, former Red GM Wayne Krivsky, Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer, Rangers player development director Scott Servais and Phillies (and former Rays) assistant Scott Proefrock.

VENTURA INTRODUCED: New White Sox manager Robin Ventura said that though he has no managerial experience, "I think later in my career that was something that was evident that I felt I could do it and I felt confident that I could do it."

Times staff writer Marc Topkin contributed to this report.

Tampa Bay Rays could benefit if Theo Epstein leaves Boston Red Sox 10/11/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 9:38pm]
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