Cubs ask permission to speak to Epstein

Globe colleague Dan Shaughnessy has learned from a team source that the Chicago Cubs have asked the Red Sox for permission to speak with Theo Epstein regarding a position in their organization.

According to Shaughnessy, there were meetings at Fenway Park this afternoon regarding the team’s response to the request.

Because Epstein is under contract, the Red Sox would have the right to refuse such a request. They could grant it with the condition that some sort of compensation be made in exchange for hiring Epstein. Or Epstein could decline the interest.

Epstein is two months away from the ninth anniversary of his hiring as general manager of the Sox. Only seven other active general managers have been with the same team longer. He turns 38 in December and could be seeking a new challenge within baseball.

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Or he could be trying to leverage the interest from the Cubs into a new contract and/or more power with the Red Sox.

If Epstein were to leave the Red Sox, senior vice president and assistant general manager Ben Cherington would be a logical replacement. Cherington has been with the Red Sox since 1999 and was one of the team officials who replaced Epstein during his three-month departure in 2005.

Cherington was a participant in the meeting on Friday that led to Terry Francona’s departure, a sign of his stature within the organization.

More to come on this in the Globe tomorrow and on Boston.com later on today.

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