CHICAGO — Theo Epstein can’t simply pack up his office at Fenway Park and move his belongings to Wrigley Field.
Epstein has reportedly agreed in principle to a five-year deal, worth between $15 million and $18.5 million, to join the Cubs. But because he has one year remaining on his contract with the Red Sox, the two teams must resolve compensation and determine who — if anybody — can accompany Epstein from Boston.
The Cubs declined to comment Thursday on the reports or the general manager search, and the Red Sox have not commented on or confirmed the reports.
If Epstein does move to Chicago, he’ll inherit a team that finished fifth the past two seasons, and had a 71-91 record this year. Giddy Cubs fans who are predicting a World Series win in 2012 should keep in mind the Red Sox were coming off a 93-win season when he took over.
Epstein became Boston’s general manager in late 2002, at the age of 28, and put together a team that won the World Series in 2004, ending an 86-year wait, and then did it again in ’07. The Red Sox reached the playoffs in six of his nine seasons as GM, but the 2011 team went 7-20 in September and blew a nine-game lead in the American League Wild Card race. Manager Terry Francona and the Red Sox mutually parted ways two days after the club’s season ended.
Epstein will face a 103-year drought since the Cubs’ most recent World Series championship