Talks with Cubs ongoing, not close to finish

CHICAGO – A person with knowledge of the Theo Epstein compensation negotiations said that talks have been ongoing, but he wouldn’t characterize anything as “close” at this hour.

The Red Sox and Cubs started at very different vantage points when they began their negotiations last week. The Cubs were trying to settle it with cash while the Red Sox said they didn’t need the money, they wanted players.

The Cubs don’t have a lot of them, so there are three or four names that are being discussed. One is righthander Trey McNutt, Chicago’s best pitching prospect. This is what the Red Sox need as they are depleted with prospects at the Double-A and Triple-A level.

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While both sides would love to get this done before the first World Series pitch is thrown Wednesday in St. Louis, there’s not deadline per se. According to a league source both sides can impose their own deadlines, but normally the process doesn’t go beyond 14 days.

As of last night, neither side had any idea how this was going to turn out, whether Epstein would join the Cubs or whether he returned to Boston. Today there seemed more of a feeling that something would be hashed out.

The sides could continue working through the World Series if they had to and Epstein could always be introduced after the World Series and sometime around Halloween.