By Sean McAdam
It appears Theo Epstein is headed to Chicago.
Hours after a high-ranking baseball official with knowledge of the situation called Epstein's move to Chicago "close, but . . . not done yet", a report surfaced that the Red Sox' general manager has agreed to a five-year, 15 million contract to head up the Cubs' front office.
WEEI Radio's John Dennis, quoting sources, said the deal would be announced later in the week after the Red Sox and Cubs agree on a compensation package for Epstein. A report in Chicago Tuesday night suggested thatCubs owner Tom Ricketts was turning to Major League Baseball for direction on"compensation protocol", but a baseball industry source said any compensation was an issue between the teams anddidn't warrant any interference from MLB. While the Red Sox have some leverage in these talks -- the White Sox received two top prospects from the Marlins when they allowed manager Ozzie Guillen to break his contract and go to Florida -- it's highly unlikely they'll end up with an established player from the Cubs roster.
Epstein has a year remaining on his Boston currentcontract.
One National League source said the Cubs were prepared to make him president of baseball operations. The Cubs have Crane Kenney as their team president, but indications were that Kenney would be placed in charge of business operations, with Epstein in charge of the franchise's baseball operations.
In an unusual move, Ricketts last month extended the contracts of scouting director Tim Wilken and director of player development Oneri Fleita with new multiyear deals. That means that Epstein won't be able to hand-pick two of his top assistants, though it's likely that Red Sox ownership would have prohibited him from taking any other current Red Sox personnel with him as he exited the organization.
The Boston Herald was the first to report that Epstein was "on the cusp" of joining the Cubs and reported that compensation from the Cubs was the lone remaining sticking point.