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Compensation deadline today

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / November 1, 2011

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Today is the deadline for the Red Sox and Cubs to agree on compensation for Theo Epstein and no tangible progress has been made, according to general manager Ben Cherington.

“It’s a difficult deal to work out because it’s too hard to quantify the value of Theo Epstein,’’ Cherington said. “I have an idea of it and Theo doesn’t think he’s worth as much as I do. We haven’t been able to bridge that gap yet.’’

That means commissioner Bud Selig is likely to intercede and determine what the Sox will get in return for their former GM, who agreed on a five-year deal to become president of baseball operations of the Cubs on Oct. 12.

“Both sides are comfortable with that outcome if it happens that way,’’ Cherington said.

Cherington said the teams would argue their cases before Selig, or his representative. The commissioner then would make a ruling.

Meanwhile, there has been limited communication between Epstein and the Sox.

“We’ve talked a little bit but he’s been pretty busy with other things and so have we,’’ said Cherington, who hopes to talk to his former boss today to try one more time to resolve compensation.

No Sox staff members have joined Epstein in Chicago to this point. Cherington said he would not stand in the way of anybody who could advance his or her career with a move.

Window closing

Cherington is staying in touch with the agents for David Ortiz and Jonathan Papelbon, but he does not expect either player to sign before the team’s exclusive window closes at 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

“That’s unlikely,’’ he said.

Ortiz and Papelbon are Type A free agents. If they were offered arbitration, the Sox would receive two draft picks for each in return if they sign with another team.

Wheeler let go

The Sox declined the $3 million option on righthanded reliever Dan Wheeler. He was 2-2 with a 4.38 earned run average in 47 appearances. He did not appear in a game after Sept. 7 because of forearm stiffness.

“We just felt like looking into the offseason, we didn’t feel like we could commit to that money for him this early,’’ Cherington said. “We have a lot of respect for Dan. He’s a pro and pitched really well after coming off the DL before getting a little sore late in the year. We’ll keep the door open.’’

Wheeler is a Type B free agent. If he were offered arbitration and signed with another team, the Sox would receive one draft pick in return.

The Sox also declined their option on righthanded reliever Scott Atchison, who spent most of the season with Triple A Pawtucket. He had a 3.26 ERA in 17 games in the majors.

The option was for the major league minimum (yet to be determined) plus $200,000. Atchison remains on the 40-man roster and under team control.

“It’s just a matter of whether we locked in that rate for next year,’’ Cherington said.

Easy call on Scutaro

Cherington said it was an easy decision to pick up the $6 million extension on shortstop Marco Scutaro Sunday.

Scutaro, 36, hit .299 with a .358 on-base percentage in 2011 over 113 games.

“We see him as an above-average major league shortstop. He certainly performed that way this year,’’ said Cherington.

Cherington said Scutaro would go into spring training as the starter. With Mike Aviles, Jed Lowrie, and 21-year-old prospect Jose Iglesias on the roster, the Sox could be in a position to make a trade.

“We felt like going into spring training with a surplus in that area was an advantage to us, and this offseason, having a surplus in that area is an advantage to us, too,’’ Cherington said.

Gold Glove finalists

First baseman Adrian Gonzalez, second baseman Dustin Pedroia, center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, and third baseman Kevin Youkilis are finalists for the American League Gold Glove at their positions. The winners will be announced tonight. Gonzalez was a two-time winner in San Diego. He is competing against Casey Kotchman (Rays) and Mark Teixeira (Yankees). Ellsbury never has won before. His competition is Austin Jackson (Tigers) and Peter Bourjos (Angels). Pedroia won in 2008. He is up against Robinson Cano (Yankees) and Ian Kinsler (Rangers). Youkilis, a winner at first base in 2007, is a finalist along with Adrian Beltre (Rangers) and Evan Longoria (Rays) . . . Righthander John Lackey is scheduled for Tommy John elbow surgery today in Los Angeles. Dr. Lewis Yocum will perform the surgery . . . Catcher Jason Varitek also is a Type B free agent. Teams have until Nov. 23 to offer arbitration. Players have until Dec. 7 to accept or decline.

Peter Abraham can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.

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