Theo Epstein, heading west? (Bizuayehu Tesfaye / AP)

The Chicago Cubs, according to the Boston Globe, have requested permission to speak to the Red Sox about Epstein. Larry Lucchino, Boston’s chief executive officer, had no comment, when reached by ESPN Boston’s Gorden Edes, about the report. Owner John Henry was talking on Twitter for a time, but only about the search for Francona’s replacement.

“Another productive day this week at Fenway,” he tweeted. “Tom [Werner, team chairman], Larry and I were briefed by Theo and Ben [Cherington, Epstein’s assistant] on the managerial search. Due diligence this week.”

Hmmm. If Epstein is hiring the next manager, doesn’t that mean he isn’t going anywhere, despite being in a 50/50 situation? The Cubs, who fired Jim Hendry as general manager, could offer Epstein both general manager and team president titles. Tom Ricketts, new owner of the Cubs, was noncommittal about candidates in a Fox Business Network interview this week.

“I don't know. There are a lot of good candidates out there,” Ricketts said. “We're going to talk to a handful of them and I'm sure we'll come up with the right fit for the team. Ultimately it will be the decision of myself and my family. Obviously we didn't get it done on the field this year. It was a disappointing season for everyone, but we're going to get some new leadership.”