MILWAUKEE -- Minutes after Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Wednesday night the Red Sox had taken a "good step" in bringing Dale Sveum to Milwaukee to meet with the team's owners, a source confirmed that Sveum had been offered the manager's job by the Chicago Cubs.
Sveum could not be reached for comment late Wednesday night, but a source close to the Milwaukee Brewers' hitting coach said that he "doubted" Sveum would take the Cubs' job without giving the Red Sox a chance to make an offer. But is an offer forthcoming?
Asked Thursday by ESPNBoston.com whether the Red Sox were out of the hunt for Sveum, Cherington replied via text message: "If he accepts the job with the Cubs we would be."
As of Wednesday night, the Red Sox had yet to make Sveum an offer, with Cherington talking about the possibility of expanding the search. Cherington was heading Thursday to the Dominican Republic to meet with Red Sox personnel there and have a private workout with Cuban outfielder Yeonis Cespedes. Before he left, he told reporters the team's manager search would "take a little breather this weekend."
Things got more interesting just after noon Thursday, when Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were seen walking into Sveum's hotel.
Sveum, who originally interviewed for the Cubs job Nov. 7, had a second interview with Epstein and Hoyer Tuesday night. During the process, Epstein told reporters that before settling on his final choice, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts would meet with the candidate. That part of the equation appears likely to have happened: Ricketts arrived in Milwaukee Wednesday -- site of baseball's GM meetings -- for the league's quarterly owners' meeting.
Another source close to Sveum said his "gut feeling" is that Sveum would ultimately take the Cubs' offer if given the choice of the manager's job in Chicago or in Boston. Multiple media reports echo that Sveum is likely to take the Cubs job.
Sveum's only previous managerial experience was in 2008, when he took over the Brewers job from Ned Yost, who was fired with 12 games remaining in the season. Sveum's team went 7-5, gaining the Brewers' first playoff berth since 1982. The familiarity Epstein and Hoyer have with Sveum dates to 2004, when he was the Red Sox's third-base coach for two seasons before leaving to become the Brewers' bench coach.
Hoyer was noncommittal Wednesday when asked if he had picked his next manager.
"We are at the stage where we are going to keep the information a little tighter," he said. "Obviously multiple teams are looking for a manager and we are going to keep things close to the vest."
As the Red Sox continue their search, Cherington said that while it was not a "certainty," he expected the Red Sox to talk to one, and perhaps two, more candidates, possibly one who did not make their first round of interviews.
He said the Red Sox informed Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin that he was no longer under consideration, which would leave Torey Lovullo, Gene Lamont and Sandy Alomar Jr. in play.
Cherington said the Red Sox have yet to ask for permission to speak with additional candidates, but have been granted extensions to continue talks with Sveum, Lovullo, Lamont and Alomar Jr.
Cherington said the Red Sox would not be asking permission to interview anyone currently holding a major league job.
"We're not dissatisfied with the candidates we have,'' he said. "We feel like these are unique circumstances here. ... We're very happy with the candidates. Our next manager could very well come from among those candidates, but we're not ruling out adding candidates."
Asked if the Cubs competing for the same pool of candidates was a factor in the Red Sox possibly expanding their search, Cherington said: "I don't think so. If the Cubs hire someone from that pool, then that was the right person for them. If we expand the pool, I don't think it has anything to do with the Cubs.''
Cherington had previously set a tentative deadline of Thanksgiving to hire a manager, but with the trip to the Dominican Republic, he acknowledged that they were "bumping up against" the deadline.
"At this point we may stretch past it," he said.
In addition to Sveum, the Cubs previously had interviewed Mackanin, Alomar Jr. and Mike Maddux at Wrigley Field. Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale and former Boston manager Terry Francona had phone conversations about the position.
"It's good that we reached out to the all candidates in some form or another," Hoyer said. "We had good conversations with all them. I think we are entering the stage of the process where we will play it a little close to the vest. We reached back out to them and had a lot of conversations."
Multiple major league sources told ESPNChicago.com that Maddux withdrew his name from consideration for the Chicago job within the past two days. Maddux had previously withdrawn his name from the Boston opening.
Gordon Edes covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com. ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine contributed to this report.