Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein will be headed to the Cubs any day now, but not necessarily as general manager.
Epstein is actively looking to hire a GM, a move that would enable him to serve the Cubs as president of baseball operations, according to major league sources.
The change in job description would qualify as a promotion for Epstein. It also would allow him to be less involved in the day-to-day grind that wears down many GMs.
Padres general manager Jed Hoyer, who is under contract through 2013 with a club option for ’14, is one of Epstein’s targets, SI.com reported on Tuesday.
It is unclear if Hoyer would want to join Epstein or if the Padres would allow Hoyer to depart. One possible complication: The Padres might want compensation from the Cubs for Hoyer at a time when the Cubs are negotiating compensation with the Red Sox for Epstein.
Still, the Padres have a ready-made replacement for Hoyer in place — Josh Byrnes, their vice president of baseball operations.
Padres lead owner Jeff Moorad, who previously had a similar role with the Diamondbacks, hired Byrnes to be the D-backs’ GM in 2005, and was instrumental in bringing Byrnes to San Diego.
Byrnes also has drawn mention as a possible assistant or GM for Epstein with the Cubs. Epstein, meanwhile, is exploring other GM candidates while awaiting completion of the compensation deal between the Cubs and Red Sox, sources say.
Epstein, 37, has been the Red Sox’s GM since Nov. 25, 2002. John Henry, the team’s principal owner, said in a recent interview with WEEI radio that “there is a certain shelf life in these jobs” and that Epstein was “not going to be the general manager forever.”
Henry was referring to the Red Sox, but the Cubs could be offering Epstein greater authority over baseball operations while also creating for him more of a wide-ranging role.
Epstein reportedly will report directly to the Cubs’ owner, Tom Ricketts, without interference from Crane Kenney, who would continue to oversee the business side.