8:25pm: ESPN's Karl Ravech hears that the compensation would involve prospects and/or cash, but no MLB players. Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe hears that the Red Sox wouldn't saddle the Cubs with bad contracts in the proposed arrangement and notes that Epstein remains undecided about the possible change (Twitter links).
8:05pm: Epstein would need Boston's approval to bring employees with him to Chicago, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Carrie Muskat of MLB.com hears that the Cubs made an offer and Epstein is now deciding whether to leave the Red Sox (Twitter link).
7:20pm: Epstein's nearing a deal with the Cubs, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com confirms. The deal isn't done yet, as some issues other than compensation have to be resolved. Meanwhile, Yahoo's Tim Brown hears that Red Sox ownership is making a play to keep Epstein, but won't ask him to continue in a job he doesn't want (Twitter link).
5:44pm: Boston GM Theo Epstein is "on the cusp" of leaving the Red Sox for a job with the Cubs, according to Steve Buckley of the Boston Herald. Red Sox ownership still hopes to retain Epstein and if he is to leave, Boston will demand "something real" as compensation.
Epstein's proposed deal with the Cubs would include more power than he has in Boston, according to Buckley. The teams could make an announcement within a day or two and the situation will be "resolved very soon."
When Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts outlined his ideal GM candidate after firing Jim Hendry, he said he wanted someone with a commitment to player development and a strong analytical background who came from a background of success. Epstein, who became Boston's GM in 2002, certainly qualifies.
The Red Sox won two World Series titles under Epstein (2004, 2007) and have made six playoff appearances since 2003. They missed the postseason for the second consecutive year in 2011 after a September slide that cost manager Terry Francona his job. Our Transaction Tracker has every one of Epstein's moves as GM. Check out Tim Dierkes' look ahead to the Cubs' offseason for a preview of Epstein's first winter in the Windy City.