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Epstein talks drag on

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / October 15, 2011

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The Red Sox and Cubs continued to negotiate yesterday over the terms of compensation for general manager Theo Epstein, a process that is expected to last into next week.

The Sox would appear to hold all the good cards in this poker game. Epstein has made it clear he wants to leave, and is already being hailed as a savior by Cubs fans. Cubs owner Tom Ricketts has virtually no choice but to make a deal.

Sox owner John Henry confirmed yesterday that Epstein had received permission to speak to the Cubs and would be leaving, saying during an interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub that it would be a “sad day’’ for the team.

But Henry and incoming GM Ben Cherington expect to extract something tangible in return for Epstein, who will be leaving with one year remaining on his contract. The Red Sox are seeking multiple prospects as compensation, not cash.

“It would be unfair to the Cubs, who I don’t care that much about, but certainly to the Red Sox and to Theo and to the people involved, to comment about what’s going on until there’s something to be announced,’’ Henry said.

The rough deadline for a deal is Tuesday. Major League Baseball has a policy prohibiting teams from making major announcements during the World Series, which starts Wednesday. So if an agreement were not reached by then, the Cubs and Sox would have to wait.

One snag in the talks appears to be how many (and which) staff members Epstein can take with him to Chicago.

According to several reports, one of the staffers he wants to take is from the medical department.

That could be head trainer Mike Reinold, one of Epstein’s closest confidants. Epstein also has great trust in vice president of baseball operations Brian O’Halloran.

The Nationals announced that they would host the Red Sox for an exhibition game April 3. The Sox open next season April 5 in Detroit . . . Outfield prospect Ryan Kalish, who underwent neck surgery four weeks ago, told the Pawtucket Times he has made a full recovery. “At this point, honestly, I can’t really tell that anything was done to my neck,’’ Kalish said. “You have post-surgery pain and all that, but that’s totally gone. It just feels like a normal neck. My range of motion feels good and I’m not experiencing any pain. I’m actually rehabbing my shoulder too; everything is connected. I’m just making sure everything is strong and flexible to prevent anything further down the line.’’ Kalish could compete for playing time in right field next season.

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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