Big League Stew

Red Sox mull over Cubs’ request to interview Theo Epstein

Ian Casselberry
Big League Stew

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Soon after the Chicago Cubs announced the firing of GM Jim Hendry, rumblings began that owner Tom Ricketts would pursue Boston Red Sox GM Theo Epstein as a replacement.

That scuttlebutt was confirmed Tuesday, as the Boston Globe reported that the Cubs have requested permission to interview Epstein for their vacancy.

Sources told the Globe that Epstein, team president Larry Lucchino and owner John Henry were seen in an "animated" discussion while walking around the Fenway Park outfield, presumably in regards to the Cubs' request. Of course, the search for a new manager could've been a topic, as well.

(I like to imagine the executive power trio was still cursing the Orioles' Robert Andino — "Andino!" — for being a Red Sox killer at the end of the season.)

Did Epstein say that he'd like to meet with the Cubs? Was he using this request as an opportunity to ask for a contract extension (or a promotion, perhaps to CEO)? Could he have been assuring Lucchino and Henry that he won't meet with the Cubs?

Since Epstein is under contract for one more year, the Red Sox can refuse the Cubs' request. However, the team's brain trust also might be considering asking the Cubs for compensation in return for simply granting an interview. {YSP:MORE}

According to the Globe's Nick Cafardo, such a request had never been made before. MLB, as you might guess, would have to approve such a transaction.

We've seen situations where teams received compensation for letting an employee under contract take a different job. It just happened with the Florida Marlins, who sent two minor leaguers to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Ozzie Guillen's services. But asking for a little something for the chance to talk to an employee? That's a new one.

But maybe that sort of creativity (and moxie) is exactly why Ricketts reportedly covets Epstein. If he agrees to some sort of compensation package, it would certainly indicate how serious the Cubs are about making Epstein their new GM.

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