The Red Sox-Cubs soap opera spins forward as the clubs haggle over compensation, but the general parameters of a deal that will affect three clubs are in place, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the negotiations:
Not only will Theo Epstein take control of the Cubs, he will take Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, one of Hoyer's assistant general managers in San Diego, with him. Josh Byrnes, the former Arizona general manager who currently is San Diego's senior vice-president for baseball operations, will replace Hoyer as the new Padres' GM. Ben Cherington, Epstein's top assistant, will succeed him as GM in Boston.
While Epstein will receive a five-year deal worth $18.5 million, Hoyer, likewise, is expected to receive a five-year contract with a significant bump in pay from his current salary as incentive to move. Hoyer currently is signed with the Padres through 2013, with and the club holds an option on him for 2014.
While Epstein would hold a presidency role, it would be a lateral move for Hoyer. However, he would be reunited with his very close friend, Epstein, and he would have large-market resources at his disposal.
The deal could be announced as early as Friday, though one source says that "a lot would have to happen" for everything to be put in place by then. As of late Thursday, particularly with Boston still holding up the Epstein part of the deal over steep compensation demands from the Cubs, it seemed realistic that these talks could spill into next week before things are finalized.
As of early Thursday evening, the Cubs had neither asked permission from Major League Baseball to hold a news conference on Friday, a World Series off day, nor had they asked permission from the Padres to speak with Hoyer.
Compensation issues are not limited to the Cubs and Red Sox in this elaborate game of executive hopscotch, either. Not only will the Cubs pay Boston for the right to take Epstein -- either financially or via players -- the Padres also are expected to be compensated by the Cubs for allowing Hoyer to break his contract.
That part, however, is not expected to be nearly as difficult a transaction as that which the Cubs are attempting to complete with Boston. San Diego most likely will receive one or two lower-level minor leaguers in return.
As for the Cubs and Red Sox, one source said Thursday night that he thought the two clubs were "getting close" on the compensation issues, though those talks have been ongoing for several days with Boston delighting in holding the sledgehammer.
Both Hoyer and McLeod worked under Epstein in Boston before they left the Red Sox for San Diego following the 2009 season. Hoyer was one of Epstein's top assistants and McLeod was director of amateur scouting for the Red Sox.
Under McLeod, among others, the Red Sox drafted outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury, right-hander Clay Buccholz and infielder Jed Lowrie.
Byrnes was one of Epstein's right-hand men for three seasons in Boston, a time during which the Red Sox drafted Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, before the Diamondbacks hired him to become their GM in October, 2005.