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Theo Epstein Deal Nearing Completion, "Top Prospects" Not Involved

A report from ESPN.com says that the Red Sox and Cubs have agreed on compensation for Theo Epstein, and that the deal will be officially announced Friday.

While it comes a bit later than Bud Selig would have liked--the World Series will be two games in by that point, and it's likely because of the off-day that this deal is being announced on Friday--the Cubs and Sox have come a long way in just a few days, closing a gap in expectations which had the Cubs front office balking (in a non-baseball sense).

What's still unclear is who, exactly, will be joining the Red Sox before the week ends. While the Sox had been asking for Matt Garza, and the idea with the most steam for much of the week seemed to be 22-year-old pitching prospect Trey McNutt, the ESPN source claims that's off the table:

the expected agreement will include Cubs minor leaguers, although not top prospects Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt and Matt Szczur

If this is the case, it's hard to see this as much of a win for the Red Sox. While they did know that Theo Epstein would be leaving at the end of 2012 no matter what, it seems like the Sox were in a position to hold out on the Cubs until desperation set in. It's hard to imagine that this package of supposedly middling prospects--whoever they may be--is worth the potential that they could have acquired a top name with more time.

Also joining the Cubs will be former second-in-command Jed Hoyer, who only two years ago jumped ship from the Sox to become the Padre's GM. With Theo Epstein likely to take a higher position, Hoyer would fill the role of GM for Chicago.