With the clock ticking and time running short, it now seems more likely that any official announcement to introduce Theo Epstein as head of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs will have to wait at least several days, with a chance that any introductory press conference could be delayed until after the conclusion of the World Series, multiple industry sources indicated Monday.
"Significant work," remains to be done on the matter of compensation to the Red Sox, one source said, and Tuesday is the last day any announcements can be made without permission from the commissioner's office.
Commissioner Bud Selig has long had a rule in which teams are, with few exceptions, prohibited from making news once the World Series gets underway. Game 1 between the Texas Rangers and St. Louis Cardinals is Wednesday night in St. Louis.
The Red Sox and Cubs, once far apart in determining what the Cubs would have to give up in order to hire away Epstein, have made progress in recent days, but have yet to come close on an agreement, a person familiar with the talks said.
That rules out any sort of announcement being held Tuesday in Chicago. The earliest window for an announcement after that would be Friday, a scheduled off-day in the Series.
Such a timetable, however, would be dependent on Selig's permission, along with a resolution on the compensation issue that currently has the teams at an impasse.
The Red Sox kicked off the negotiations by asking for pitcher Matt Garza, a request the Cubs rejected out of hand. The Cubs, one baseball person said, continue to stress to the Red Sox that compensation issues for non-uniform personnel has historically been minimal. It's the view of the Red Sox that, given the magnitude of the deal being given to Epstein and owner Tom Ricketts's desire to have Epstein run his organization's baseball operations department, that this deal defies precedent.
The Sox have an interest in pitching prospect Trey McNutt, though his inclusion in a compensation package is far from guaranteed at this point.
It's likely that the Red Sox will also receive a second, lesser prospect.
One issue that is not a sticking point, contrary to multiple reports, is the matter of which current Red Sox employees would join Epstein in Chicago. A mutual understanding is in place that Epstein will not "raid" the Red Sox baseball operations department.