The Red Sox are already looking at an offseason of change with the departure of manager Terry Francona capping an already tumultuous September. Things may get dicier, however, if one of the men in charge of finding Francona's replacement leaves as well.
There has already been plenty of speculation in regards to the future of general manager Theo Epstein and whether or not it will take place in Boston. The GM has been linked to a vacancy with the Chicago Cubs since the middle of the season, and initial reports indicate Epstein could be on his way out.
ESPN.com's Gordon Edes cited a major league source close to Esptein as saying that the GM was "50-50" on whether or not he'd remain in Boston.
"I wouldn't be shocked either way,'' the source told Edes. "I know he's not dying in the Red Sox job, and if he went to the Cubs and they won, he'd be a Hall of Fame general manager.''
Of course, the ramifications of Epstein leaving for and then winning with the Cubs would be obvious. The Cubs' 104-year championship drought makes the Sox' famed 86-year fruitless period look like nothing.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Esptein is in fact "very interested" about the Cubs job, according to a source close to the 37-year-old general manager.
One thing that will complicate matters is the fact that Epstein, unlike Francona who had just team options remaining, is that Epstein is under contract through the 2012 season. With that in mind, it's likely the Sox would be looking for compensation if they let Epstein walk.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported that Boston would be looking for "stiff compensation" if they let Epstein go. In the same tweet, though, Nightengale added that the possibility of an extension for Epstein is still there.
Until Epstein leaves Boston, though, rumors are just that — rumors. It is worth mentioning, as well, that Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman reported that Epstein is already in the midst of his managerial search. According to an SI.com report, Epstein already has at least two unknown surprise candidates. For those hoping to see Joe Torre or Bobby Valentine at the helm, you're out of luck. Heyman also reports that those two are not candidates to replace Francona.