The Chicago Cubs may be able to announce the hiring of their new baseball executive during off-days of the World Series despite Major League Baseball's traditional ban on major announcements during the Fall Classic, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Talks between the Cubs and Boston Red Sox regarding compensation for Theo Epstein have dragged on for more than a week, and allowing the announcement to happen during the World Series would enable two franchises to move on with important business.
The compensation talks over Epstein have progressed, and the two sides are hopeful the deal could be concluded on Thursday, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
Meanwhile, two league sources confirmed a report by Sports Illustrated that Epstein could assume the title of president of baseball operations for the Cubs and bring in San Diego Padres general manager Jed Hoyer as his general manager.
Although compensation has been a sticking point in the Epstein negotiations, it's not expected to play as big a role with the Padres because of the strong relationship between Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts and Padres vice chairman/CEO Jeff Moorad, according to numerous major league sources.
In a corresponding move, Padres vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes likely would become Padres general manager, according to a source.
Moorad and Ricketts have become friends since the Ricketts family bought the Cubs in October 2009. Ricketts was in San Diego on Sept. 28, which was the last day of the regular season, and did not return with the Cubs on the flight back to Chicago. Ricketts met with Moorad and sat with him, Byrnes and Hoyer during the season finale.
The Ricketts family has a strong relationship with Byrnes' brother through their bond business, and it's been confirmed that Ricketts had some informal conversations with Byrnes as far back as spring training. Byrnes was Moorad's GM in Arizona, where he received an eight-year contract in 2007. He was fired in 2009.
Byrnes and Hoyer worked with Epstein in Boston before moving to their next positions. Hoyer took over as Padres GM in 2010 after Kevin Towers was fired.
The 37-year-old Hoyer was a senior vice president and assistant GM to Epstein in Boston from 2005-09. He served as co-general manager with Ben Cherington for 44 days in 2005, when Epstein stepped away from the job while he negotiated a new deal with the Red Sox.
Hoyer joined the Red Sox in 2001 as an intern. He played baseball at Wesleyan University and was assistant coach there in 1999 and 2000.
Hoyer is signed through 2013 with an option for '14.
Hoyer worked with Epstein on Boston player acquisitions, contract negotiations and player evaluations. His speciality was quantitative analysis, also known as sabermetrics. But he combined that with practical scouting, which he also helped direct.
After Jim Hendry was fired as Cubs GM in August, Ricketts stated he wasn't interested in hiring a baseball guy to watch his baseball guy. At that time, it was suggested that the Cubs hire a consultant such as Pat Gillick or John Schuerholz to help search for their new top baseball executive.
The hiring of Epstein and Hoyer would make sense from a baseball-business point of view. The Cubs have had among the smallest baseball staffs in the game for the past two decades. This move would bring them up to the level of most teams that employ three or four top baseball executives. At one point, Epstein had three assistant GMs in Boston.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com.