Talking Points: Cubs have eye on Epstein

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What’s the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

Boston Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is “very interested’’ in the Chicago Cubs’ vacant GM spot, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Epstein has been at the helm for the Red Sox since 2002 and put together the clubs that won World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. But the team just jettisoned manager Terry Francona after a historic September collapse, and the Tribune says the Boston brass may believe Epstein has grown stale in the job.

(Talking Points thinks a “stale’’ Epstein still is better than most GMs in baseball.)

Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts is looking at Epstein as well as the Rays’ Andrew Friedman, the Yankees’ Brian Cashman and the Athletics’ Billy Beane as his primary targets to replace Jim Hendry, who was fired in August, the newspaper reports.

The Cubs are likely to seek permission from the Red Sox to speak to Epstein within the next few days.

Epstein’s contract with the Red Sox runs for another year.

2

What happens to Chone Figgins?

Figgins is owed $18 million over the next two seasons, but he clearly doesn’t figure in the Seattle Mariners’ future.

They might let him compete for a spot in spring training, but if he continues to struggle they likely will have to release him and eat the salary. General manager Jack Zduriencik could try to work out a trade for another bad contract, such as Barry Zito, and hope for the best.

3

October might turn into an ugly month for the No. 17-ranked Florida Gators. After their dismantling by Alabama last Saturday, the Gators next play at LSU, at Auburn and at Georgia. It’s easy enough to see them losing all three of those games.

Here’s what columnist David Whitley of aol.sportingnews.com says about the SEC: “That Gators look like they could challenge for the Mountain West championship. Check that, Boise State’s in that conference. And nobody in the SEC East could handle the Broncos.

“Then there’s the SEC West, where the top teams look as though they could handle the Packers.’’

No kidding. No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama, No. 10 Arkansas and No. 15 Auburn.

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