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Epstein to the Cubs remains a possibility

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 1, 2011 02:56 PM

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When it comes to the idea of Theo Epstein going to the Cubs, here is what we haven't heard from Epstein or his superiors:

No.

Larry Lucchino last night: "We're not prepared to answer that question here. This is a press conference about the contributions that Tito [Francona] has made to this franchise. Besides, Theo is under contract with us, so it is an issue that has not been addressed or discussed."

Tom Werner last night: "I think we feel collectively that he has been one of the best general managers in baseball and has been integral to the success of our club the last 10 years."

Epstein on Sept. 23 in New York: "I'm not here to talk about that."

Epstein on Aug. 31 in Boston: "I try to avoid commenting on things that are so speculative. I know there are a couple of articles which have appeared but I'm completely focused on the Red Sox of 2011 first and foremost and what potentially lies ahead for this club.

"We're trying to get to the postseason and win the World Series and I spend all my time working with my staff to make this the organization we want it to be for now and in the future. That's where my exclusive focus is.

Something like that I can't even contemplate it long enough to comment on it. I'm all Red Sox, all the time."

Nobody has said, "No, he's staying with the Red Sox." That Lucchino said the Red Sox were not prepared for that question seems unusual. They either want him to be the GM or they don't. That answer needs preparation?

Epstein wore a Red Sox team pullover and sat right between Lucchino and Werner last night to discuss the departure of Terry Francona. He also was at his most animated when talking about the search to replace Francona.

To me, those are not the actions of a man who would leave for another job shortly. But Epstein has walked before and he could do it again.

It also is interesting to note that assistant GM Ben Cherington was present at the meeting between Francona and the ownership. That certainly speaks to his status within the organization and perhaps that idea that ownership wants him up-to-speed and ready to take over if needed.

Just a few minutes ago, the well-connected Joel Sherman of the New York Post wrote on Twitter: "I am shocked, but in last 36 hrs every exec talk to says believe Red Sox will give permission and Theo will go to Cubs to be GM."

There's too much smoke here for there not be a fire.

Still, it seems hard to believe that Epstein, a Bostonian, would abandon the franchise at its hour of need or that John Henry and Co. would let that happen.

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