October 11, 2011
Boston Herald columnist Steve Buckley reports that Epstein is "on the cusp" of bolting the Boston Red Sox to take a job at Wrigley Field that might entail even more responsibilities than he has now.
(The position) is believed to include powers greater than he has in Boston, with an announcement expected to be made "within the next 24 to 48 hours."
The hangup in the negotiations has been twofold. One of them is that Red Sox ownership was still hoping to have Epstein remain with the team. The other is compensation: If Epstein is to leave Boston, said one source with knowledge of the negotiations, the Red Sox are going to want "something real." Whether that involves a player, money or a combination of the two remains unclear.
A few more reporters have chimed in since Buckley's report broke on early Tuesday evening. Our own Tim Brown tweets that the Red Sox will attempt to keep Epstein in town but "but won't ask him to continue in job he doesn't want." Meanwhile, WEEI's Alex Speier quotes a source "familiar with the situation" that says the Boston Herald piece is "not accurate."
Whatever the resolution, it would seem that we'll get an answer soon with the World Series news embargo fast approaching. If the Cubs do land him, it'd be Ricketts family's best move since taking ownership at the start of the 2010 season and a departure from the franchise's recent method of hiring an available manager with a well-known name (Don Baylor, Dusty Baker, Lou Piniella). If Boston's brass does persuade him to stay, it would seem he's destined to be a Red Sox lifer for the team he grew up watching.
As ESPN's Buster Olney said on Bill Simmons' podcast, this is Epstein's "Billy Beane moment" and all of baseball is watching to see what he'll do.
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