BOSTON -- As they are both in the middle of a managerial search -- and, starting at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, free agency -- the Red Sox and Cubs have received an extension to work out compensation for Theo Epstein's departure from Boston to Chicago.
"We're going to have a little more time to work it out," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said at Fenway Park on Wednesday evening. "Not sure exactly how much, but at least a week, I would guess. I think it was just sort of a practical decision with everything going on for Theo in Chicago, and for us here with managerial searches and whatnot. [We] just haven't had a lot of time to spend on it.
"There was an understanding again at the very beginning that the Red Sox would get significant compensation if Theo left to go to Chicago, and that's been the challenge, agreeing on what 'significant' means."
The extension, which could be lengthened again after about a week, was granted by Commissioner Bud Selig's office. Selig said during the World Series that if the two teams couldn't strike a deal by Nov. 1, he would step in.
Boston's stance is that losing Epstein as GM was not something the organization wanted, particularly in the middle of a managerial search. Epstein was introduced as the Cubs' president of baseball operations on Oct. 25, and Cherington was introduced as Boston's GM the same day.
"This was not someone who ownership was looking to push out the door in any way," Cherington said. "We were still in a position of having a really good team in 2012. He was under contract. And then we had a manager leaving, we had a manager search going on. There was a lot of things that were going on ... that made him leaving perhaps challenging. And so I think that's where our ownership feels we need to be compensated."
Trades involving executives are rare. Andy MacPhail, most recently of the Orioles, was the last executive to be traded in baseball. And it was the Cubs, coincidentally, who sent the Twins a Class A pitcher to pry MacPhail away in 1994.
In these negotiations, multiple reports have cited Boston's interest in prospect Trey McNutt, a 22-year-old right-hander who went 5-6 with a 4.55 ERA in 22 starts and 23 appearances for Chicago's Double-A club last season. He struck out 65 and walked 39 in 95 innings. He hasn't fared well in the Arizona Fall League, though, posting a 6.75 ERA in 12 innings and five starts.
"There aren't a lot of precedents, as you know," Cherington said. "There aren't a lot of managerial precedents either as far as compensation is concerned, but there are even less on the executive side."
If the decision is left to Selig's office, a date would be set, and both sides would present their case. Cherington has said that both clubs would be comfortable if the decision is taken out of their hands.
"If we don't have something in a week, we'll revisit it and decide if it makes sense to extend it further," he said. "But for right now, it's at least another week of time."