The Cubs have been denied permission to ask about Lovullo's availability for their managerial job, at least for now, as Red Sox higher-ups are claiming their agreement to allow Theo Epstein to leave to become Cubs president prohibits him from hiring away Red Sox employees.
Lovullo, the Red Sox bench coach, would appear to be a serious managerial candidate for the Cubs -- if only he was given a chance by his current bosses. But at this point, Red Sox management isn't allowing Epstein to ask for permission to interview Lovullo.
The Cubs were hoping to have a manager in place by the GM meetings next week in Orlando, so the goal was to hire a manager this week. If they believe it's worth waiting for Lovullo, that may not happen.
The Cubs are said to have been impressed with a few of the men they've already interviewed, and it's believed that Padres bench coach Rick Renteria and Padres executive A.J. Hinch are among those being most strongly considered. They are "in the mix," said someone familiar with the situation.
The sticky situation involving Lovullo was first mentioned by Ken Rosenthal of Foxsports.com.
Lovullo, Epstein, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and Red Sox president Larry Lucchino didn't immediately return texts.
It isn't known whether there is a time frame by which the Red Sox can prevent hires by Chicago. But it has been two years since Epstein left.
Technically, Epstein wouldn't be poaching one of the employees who was with the Red Sox when he left for Chicago, as Lovullo moved to work for John Farrell in Toronto after Epstein left. But it's possible the Red Sox could try to invoke the letter of the agreement.
The other issue, of course, is Lovullo. There are only 30 major-league managing jobs, and the one with the Cubs is one of the most coveted in many circles. Would Boston ownership stick to its guns regarding an agreement with a team in the other league, and risk upsetting Lovullo?