Henry: 'Extremely happy' with Epstein

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- This is the 10th year of the "new ownership group,'' as Red Sox majority owner John W. Henry glibly noted Saturday, and the general manager, Theo Epstein, is beginning his ninth season in his role.

Henry was asked what discussions he has had with Epstein regarding his long-term future with the club.

"We haven't had any substantive conversations recently,'' Henry said. "I always ask him how he's doing.

"Things are going extremely well from our vantage point and from his vantage point. I can't even tell you, I really don't know, when his contract is up. We haven't talked contracts. I think the important thing is that we're all extremely happy working together.''

The last time Henry publicly addressed Epstein's contract was in September 2008, when he confirmed that Epstein had agreed to a new deal, reportedly for three years. That means it would be due to expire at the end of this season. Those negotiations proceeded much more smoothly than in 2005, when Epstein briefly left his job (the famous gorilla suit walkout) before being induced to return by Henry.

The youngest GM in the game at the time he was promoted at age 28 to Sox GM in November 2002, Epstein is still only 37, married and the father of a toddler son. And while the Yale graduate has not expressed having any restlessness in the job, he has always been touted as someone who would have a broad array of career choices should he decide to explore other options.

Four Red Sox general managers have held the position for longer than Epstein: Eddie Collins (1933-47), Joe Cronin (1950-58), Dick O'Connell (1961-62, 1966-77), and Lou Gorman (1985-93). Of that group, of course, Epstein is the only one with World Series titles (two) on his resume.

Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.