Reports that Boston Red Sox
general manager Theo Epstein
was on the verge of being announced as the new Cubs
' baseball boss rankled Red Sox owner John Henry, who told the Boston Globe
on Thursday that a compensation deal was "not close."
Henry's ire over what he and incoming GM Ben Cherington called premature media reports could further delay compensation talks between the two clubs, which have dragged on for a week.
The Cubs had no comment on the reports. Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts
has not commented during the entire process.
A source said the Cubs were prepared for an announcement Friday, but added the deal is "not done" yet.
The latest chapter in the contentious compensation talks began Wednesday night when Chicago sportscaster David Kaplan tweeted a "deal is basically done," adding "word should be leaked" Thursday with a news conference expected Friday. ESPN.com reported on its Twitter account that a "Friday press conf." would be held for Epstein. The Tribune reported Thursday the Cubs were expecting a Friday news conference to announce the signing.
But Henry's insistence that the deal is "not close" means the long wait for Epstein figures to get even longer. Whether the Red Sox will punish the Cubs for the percieved leaking of a "done deal" remains to be seen. The Red Sox don't have the same sense of urgency as the Cubs, and can afford to wait until the end of the World Series to finish the deal.
The Cubs and Red Sox are expected to get the OK from Commissioner Bud Selig
to make an announcement on an off day if they come to an agreement. Once it's a done deal, the Red Sox officially will announce Cherington as their new GM, replacing Epstein, while the Cubs will introduce Epstein to the media, a source said.