Source: Cubs, Sox finalizing Epstein deal

ESPN Chicago is reporting that the Red Sox and Cubs are close to finalizing compensation that would clear the way for Theo Epstein to head to Chicago. Here's the report:

The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox are finalizing a deal that would make Theo Epstein the Cubs' president of baseball operations at some point Thursday morning, according to a Major League Baseball source.

A source with knowledge of negotiations said: "The two sides are on the 5-yard line."

A news conference is expected on Friday.

The Red Sox initially asked for Cubs starting pitcher Matt Garza, and at one point proposed the Cubs take pitcher John Lackey's contract as part of the compensation, according to a major league source. Lackey has three seasons remaining on a five-year, $82.5 million contract. He was 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in 28 starts for the Red Sox in 2011.

But the expected agreement will include Cubs minor leaguers, although not top prospects Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt and Matt Szczur, the source said. Cash will not be part of the compensation.

MLB already has told the Cubs that they can have a news conference on Friday, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

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