Could Theo Epstein and Terry Francona be reunited with the Chicago Cubs?

Theo Epstein is very close to accepting a job with the Chicago Cubs as their general manager and leaving the same position with the Boston Red Sox, according to a report in the Boston Herald late Tuesday evening.

The Herald cites two baseball sources that say an announcement s expected within 24 to 48 hours. The position in Chicago would give Epstein even more power than he has in Boston.

However, there are roadblocks: The Red Sox had hoped he would remain their general manager. He is still under contract through next season.

With that in mind, a source told the Herald that the Red Sox will want something real as compensation. Something real, of course, can be taken many different ways, so it is not known what type of compensation the Red Sox will desire.

Epstein, still just 37 years old, was appointed to the Red Sox general manager position after the 2002 season. The Red Sox won two World Series under his reign in 2004 and 2007, the franchise's first two titles since 1918.

Numerous reports had floated around for the past week indicating mutual interest between Epstein and the Cubs. Last week, the Cubs formally requested to speak to Epstein about their vacant general manger position.

The Cubs also have a vacant manager position, leading to speculation that Terry Francona, the recently let-go Red Sox manager, could fill that void if Epstein were hired.

Epstein would come into Chicago in a similar situation to his entrance in Boston. The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908, the longest such drought in Major League Baseball.

This would be just the latest setback in a two-month period that has been so rewarding to the Red Sox and their fans in recent years.

In September, they blew a nine-game American League wild card lead to the Tampa Bay Rays and found themselves out of a playoff spot. Two days later, the organization and Francona parted ways. Now, it appears Epstein could also venture out of Boston.