Because Epstein left Boston with one year remaining on his contract, the Cubs must provide some form of compensation.
Epstein was named the Cubs' president of baseball operations in late October. During a Boston radio show earlier this month, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington compared the matter to a much disdained household chore.
"It's like cleaning the garage," Cherington said in the interview. "You know it's out there and you've got to do it, but you're going to do everything else first. It's that thing that you know you have to do at some point, but you're sort of working on other stuff."
Epstein heard about that.
"I said, 'That was a good point,' and I offered him two bags of ice melt and an old rake," Epstein said. "That's what's in my garage."
The matter is expected to be resolved after Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. There's also the matter of compensation for the Padres because Jed Hoyer left that organization to become the Cubs' general manager.
"That one is a little simpler," Epstein said. "We have a list of players, lower-level guys, who we get to choose from. That will be done in a timely manner, hopefully."
Or before it's time for spring cleaning.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.