By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Former Red Sox general manager and current Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein is dispelling speculation that he could return to Boston eight years after leaving his hometown for the Windy City.
Epstein told reporters in Chicago that his focus remains on the Cubs, who will miss the playoffs following a disastrous September collapse. Some have suggested that Epstein could be a candidate to replace Dave Dombrowski, who was fired by the Red Sox after four years in charge of baseball operations.
"There's nothing to that story," Epstein said. "I'm here [with the Cubs]. We have a lot we need to work on to get back to the level we're accustomed to. I'm invested in that. That's what I'm focused on."
"The thing that gets you excited, even in the face of this adversity, is waking up and trying to build the next Cubs championship team," Epstein added.
According to Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago, neither Epstein or right-hand man Jed Hoyer have expressed interest in the Red Sox job. Hoyer, who served as co-GM of the Red Sox during Epstein's 10-week hiatus from the job following the 2005 season, has also been floated as a potential candidate.
"I have really good relationships with a lot of people [working for the Red Sox] and certainly wish them the best," Epstein said.
Epstein is considered to be close with current Red Sox President Sam Kennedy. The two were high school classmates in Brookline and rose through the ranks with the Red Sox together. His strained relationship with former Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino is widely believed to have played a role in his departure in 2011.
Epstein has two years remaining on his five-year, $50 million contract in Chicago.