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Brockton plan has Rox in its head

BROCKTON, Mass. -- It didn't take long for Theo Epstein to get another offer to be a baseball general manager -- if he doesn't mind cuts in his salary and the team payroll.

The independent Brockton Rox, who play about 30 minutes south of Fenway Park, offered Epstein their GM job on Thursday.

The team, which plays in the Canadian-American League, is restricted to a total player payroll of $87,500 -- far less than the major league minimum of $316,000 per player and far below Boston's $126.8 million payroll this year.

"It's assumed that Epstein is looking for a greater challenge,'' the team said in a statement, noting that Epstein could sweeten the pot for players with an $18 per diem and put them up with a host family.

Current Rox GM Andy Crossley basically dared Epstein to replace him.

"If the Rox can get Theo Epstein to take this job, great. All I can say is, good luck signing Manny Ramirez on our budget," Crossley said. "We signed Emmanuel Ramirez as a pitcher last season, but we paid him about $800 per month."

Rox owners include comedian Bill Murray and Mike Veeck, son of former Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck. The team has led the league in attendance in each of the past three seasons, and this year it gave 45-year-old former Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd a platform for his comeback.

The team said Epstein could join Boyd for Thanksgiving dinner in the pitcher's hometown of Meridian, Miss., in an effort to get the deal done. Epstein used a similar tack to bring Curt Schilling to Boston.

One warning for the 31-year-old baseball boy wonder, though:

"We don't actually have an office for Theo,'' Rox president Jim Lucas said. "But we built two new cubicles this year and he'd have his own phone and access to the internet."