Red Sox Focused On McNutt In Epstein Talks

The Red Sox are "believed to be focused" on Cubs pitching prospect Trey McNutt in the Theo Epstein compensation talks, writes Patrick Mooney of  Mooney says Cubs center field prospect Brett Jackson is "untouchable and not part of the discussions," while prospects such as Josh Vitters and Matt Szczur are considered unlikely.  A source close to the talks said the Red Sox have been asking for "ridiculous combinations," writes Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus.

McNutt, 22, posted a 4.55 ERA, 6.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, and 0.5 HR/9 with 120 hits allowed in 95 innings for the Cubs' Double-A affiliate this year.  Baseball America ranked him second among Cubs prospects heading into the season and he was a consensus top 70 prospect in the game.  McNutt dealt with blister problems and bruised ribs in a disappointing 2011 season, and is currently pitching in the Arizona Fall League.  ESPN's Keith Law scouted him there, noting "great velocity but well-below-average command and control."

The World Series, scheduled to begin Wednesday, seems to serve as a deadline for the talks between the Cubs and Red Sox.  That is the latest point the Red Sox expect a resolution, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.  One major holdup is determining which front office members Epstein can take with him to Chicago.  Silverman's informed speculation suggests Red Sox vice president of baseball operations Brian O'Halloran, special assistant to the GM Dave Finley, and head athletic director and assistant director of medical services Mike Reinold "could be part of Epstein's request."  Senior vice president of baseball operations Josh Byrnes and assistant GM Jason McLeod could be candidates to come from the Padres.       

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