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It's official: Epstein resigns and joins Cubs

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  October 21, 2011 09:55 PM

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Theo Epstein resigned as general manager of the Red Sox tonight and on Tuesday will be introduced as the president of baseball operations of the Cubs. The Red Sox will name Ben Cherington as his successor that same day.

The Cubs and Red Sox did not agree on compensation for Epstein but mutually agreed to move forward with the transition last night, issuing a statement saying they had come to terms on a process that would settle that issue.

That statement said:

The Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs jointly announce this evening that, effective immediately, Theo Epstein has resigned from the Red Sox in order to become the new President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs. The clubs also have reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined for the Red Sox and that issue will be resolved in the near term.

Both the Red Sox and the Cubs intend to hold press events on Tuesday, October 25 during which the Cubs intend to announce Mr. Epstein, and the Red Sox intend to announce his successor as General Manager.

Out of respect for the World Series, both clubs have agreed to forego further comment until Tuesday, the next scheduled non-game day.

Now that Epstein has officially left the Red Sox, he and Cherington are free to negotiate the compensation. If no deal is struck by Tuesday, commissioner Bud Selig could step in as a mediator.

Because Epstein resigned with a year remaining on his contract, the Red Sox are entitled to compensation. That has been a sticking point with the teams having vastly different views on what is appropriate.

The Cubs wanted to pay cash while the Sox initially sought righthander Matt Garza or shortstop Starlin Castro. They also took a shot at asking the Cubs to take on John Lackey and the $47 million remaining on his deal.

The sides are expected to settle on a package of minor league players.

The teams pushed through an agreement without compensation and made an announcement with the permission of Major League Baseball, which did not want the news coming out over the weekend and interrupting coverage of the World Series.

The Padres were also on hold as their GM, Jed Hoyer, has agreed to join Epstein in Chicago. Assistant GM Jason McLeod is joining Epstein with the Cubs as well.

For the Red Sox, it is the end of a wildly successful era. Epstein was named general manager on Nov. 25, 2002 and helped build a team that won the World Series in 2004 and 2007.

During his tenure, the Red Sox became a player development powerhouse, successfully drafting and developing such players as Dustin Pedroia, Jonathan Papelbon, Clay Buchholz, Daniel Bard and Jacoby Ellsbury.

Epstein traded for 2004 postseason hero Curt Schilling and plucked an obscure slugger named David Ortiz out of free agency in 2003.

There were rough patches along the way. Epstein left the team for nearly three months in 2005 during a power struggle with team president Larry Lucchino.

He also made a series of poor choices on the free-agent market, signing J.D. Drew, Edgar Renteria, Matt Clement, Julio Lugo, Daisuke Matsuzaka, John Lackey, Mike Cameron and Bobby Jenks to expensive contracts that did not pan out as hoped.

The Red Sox finished in third place the last two seasons, this year suffering a historic September collapse that led to the departure of manager Terry Francona amid reports that players were drinking beer during games and had lost respect for his authority.

Cherington, 37, inherits a talented roster but first needs to find a manager and coaching staff. A New Hampshire native and Amherst College graduate, he has been with the organization since 1999.

Cherington has been the director of player development, vice president of player personnel and coordinator of international scouting. He became a senior vice president and assistant general manager in 2009.

In the nine days since Epstein reached agreement with the Cubs on a five-year, $18.5 million deal, Cherington has been running baseball operations of the Red Sox.

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