The source said no timetable has been set by the commissioner on when he will decide on the issue which has gone on since Epstein left his post as Red Sox general manager with one year left on his contract to become Cubs president of baseball operations on Oct. 21.
Selig said in late October that he hoped the two teams would be able to agree on a compensation deal. The only precedent for an executive leaving a GM post and taking a higher office occurred in 1994 when Minnesota Twins GM Andy MacPhail was allowed to leave the team with two years left on his contract and take over as Cubs president. The Twins received a 30th-ranked prospect and $200,000 for compensation.
Last week at the Cubs Convention, Epstein said he has had five conversations with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington about the issue, and noted that if it was between him and Cherington they could probably work it out. But Boston president Larry Lucchino apparently has not gotten back the "substantial compensation" that he said he was promised to let Epstein join the Cubs.
The relationship between Lucchino and Epstein has grown more contentious over the years, according to major league sources. Lucchino had been Epstein's strongest supporter, having worked with him in San Diego and then naming him Red Sox GM in 2003.
Earlier this week the Chicago Sun-Times reported Lucchino asked Selig to intervene on their behalf.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs for ESPNChicago.com and ESPN 1000.