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Theo Epstein Rumors
Here's the latest from Wrigleyville….
- "We need more talent. We lack impact talent,” Theo Epstein told reporters (including MLB.com's Carrie Muskat) in regards to his team's minor league system. "We have a number of interesting guys, especially at the lower levels. Every organization has interesting guys at the lower levels….We need some more impact talent and we need some guys who have the ability to break through. It'd be nice to get a breakthrough player or two this year and have someone move from that interesting prospect category to that potential impact category."
- If the Cubs trade one of their current outfielders, there is no guarantee prospect Brett Jackson will be automatically called up to fill the spot, writes ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine as part of an online chat with fans. The Cubs want to make sure Jackson is "completely ready" to play in the majors, and Levine says the Cubs may also be thinking about service clock considerations.
- The Cubs have spent the last few weeks looking to acquire a left-handed reliever, writes Levine.
- Also from Levine, he predicts Matt Garza is looking for a five-year, $65MM contract extension akin to John Danks' new deal with the White Sox. The Cubs said they wanted to discuss a multiyear deal with Garza during Spring Training, though there has been little news about the status of these negotiations.
On this date 20 years ago, the Cubs released 29-year-old left-hander Jamie Moyer. The southpaw didn't pitch in the Major Leagues again that year, but he returned in 1993 and has since pitched 3,300 innings and won 233 games. His career isn't over yet, as the Rockies may add him to their rotation. Here are today's links…
- The Red Sox had complete access to Chris Carpenter's medical records before acquiring him from the Cubs, Nick Cafardo and Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe report. The reliever also passed two physicals earlier this year, so the Red Sox aren't likely to obtain a different player from the Cubs as compensation for Theo Epstein even though Carpenter underwent elbow surgery yesterday.
- ESPN.com’s Buster Olney wonders if the Indians could pursue free agent Johnny Damon instead of trading for Bobby Abreu (Twitter link). Dave Cameron of FanGraphs explores the Damon-Indians possibility and says it's hard to argue he’s a worse option than Abreu.
- The Brewers have exchanged figures with closer John Axford regarding a possible extension, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets. "I'm not going to jump at anything," Axford said.
After a months-long wait, the Cubs and Red Sox have finalized the compensation for Theo Epstein. The Red Sox sent 19-year-old prospect Jair Bogaerts to the Cubs to complete the deal, MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports.
The Cubs sent relievers Chris Carpenter and Aaron Kurcz to Boston as compensation for Epstein earlier in the offseason. Carpenter will undergo elbow surgery, but the Cubs say the operation wasn't caused by a pre-existing condition. “It’s certainly something we had no knowledge of,” GM Jed Hoyer said, according to Muskat. “I don’t think he had any elbow issues for the last two years. It’s unexpected and unfortunate."
Bogaerts completed his second pro season in 2011. The first baseman posted a .288/.387/.404 line in 186 plate appearances in the Dominican Summer League. He is the brother of top Red Sox prospect Xander Bogaerts.
The Blue Jays have J.P. Arencibia catching at the Major League level and top prospect Travis d'Arnaud could be MLB-ready within the year. It seems like a good problem to have for Toronto, but other teams view the Blue Jays’ depth as a possible opportunity, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney reports…
- Teams have asked about Arencibia and d’Arnaud in trade talks, Olney writes. However, it’s very possible that the Blue Jays will keep both unless they’re completely overwhelmed by an offer. D’Arnaud is slated for more minor league seasoning while Jeff Mathis backs Arencibia up, so the Blue Jays don’t have to make a decision any time soon.
- Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein has a bonus in his contract that resembles the conclusion bonus he had with the Red Sox, Olney writes. Epstein also has standard bonuses for team success.
- Steve Cohen made an impressive presentation in his bid for the Dodgers, Olney hears.
- The Padres love what they see in outfield prospect Rymer Liriano.
The Red Sox ownership group spoke to the media at the team's Spring Training complex this morning, with chairman Tom Werner saying this season "is going to be a new chapter." Here's a recap of their media session, with all source links going to Twitter…
- When asked if he and his partners would consider selling the Red Sox, ownerJohn Henry said, "It's a valid question … people involved in RedSox partnership, we've made enough money," tweets Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
- Henry didn't sound thrilled about the compensation his team received from the Cubs for Theo Epstein, says Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Henry did say that's how tough negotiations go, calling it a "basic misunderstanding" according to Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.
- Team president Larry Lucchino said the Marco Scutaro trade was "a little bit of both," meaning a baseball move and a financial move. They believe they can get similar production from other players. (Heyman)
- Henry said the luxury tax will be a "bigger issue every year moving forward" and the team has to be "more careful" spending money, according to Heyman and Britton. He noted that other clubs are catching up economically.
- Lucchino said payroll would be upwards of $190MM according to WEEI.com's Alex Speier, adding that the team will have money to make moves within the season.
- "So far, he's done everything we could have hoped," said Werner when asked about new manager Bobby Valentine, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
- Henry backed off his comments about not wanting Carl Crawford from earlier this offseason according to McAdam, saying: "I should have never made those comments."
The Red Sox received 26-year-old righty reliever Chris Carpenter and a player to be named later from the Cubs as compensation for Theo Epstein and a player to be named later, announced the teams today. The Cubs hired Epstein as their president of baseball operations in October, despite one year remaining on his contract as Boston's GM. Nearly four months after that announcement, Epstein and new Cubs GM Jed Hoyer reached a compensation agreement with former colleague and new Red Sox GM Ben Cherington. Epstein said in a statement:
"I am relieved that this process is over and particularly pleased that the teams were able to reach agreement on their own without intervention from MLB. I truly hope and believe that this resolution will benefit both clubs, as well as Chris, who is an extremely talented reliever joining a great organization at a time when there's some opportunity in the major league bullpen. More than anything, I'm excited that we can all move forward and focus exclusively on getting ready for the season. I wish Chris and the Red Sox nothing but the best in 2012 and beyond."
Carpenter, who made his big league debut with the Cubs last year, was recently ranked 13th on their prospect list by Baseball America. The Cubs converted Carpenter to relief late in 2010, and he averaged 96.5 miles per hour on his fastball in the Majors last year. His command and control are works in progress, but Baseball America thinks he could develop into a setup man. The Red Sox placed Bobby Jenks on the 60-day DL to create a 40-man roster spot for Carpenter.
The inclusion of two players to be named later means this saga has not quite reached its conclusion, but an April 15th deadline is already in place and Cherington expects resolution by the end of spring training. The Cubs also owe compensation to the Padres for Hoyer, which Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune notes will get done very soon and will not involve anyone on the team's 40-man roster.
WEEI's Alex Speier first reported the Red Sox would receive a pitcher from the Cubs' 40-man roster.
9:15am: The Red Sox will receive a pitcher from the Cubs' 40-man roster, tweets WEEI's Alex Speier. That'd rule out McNutt. Rafael Dolis, Chris Carpenter, Jeff Beliveau, and Casey Weathers are on the Cubs' 40-man and cracked Baseball America's top 30 prospects for the team. The decision is coming down today, confirms Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
7:36am: A resolution on the Theo Epstein compensation deal is imminent, reports Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston. Edes' MLB source says the Red Sox will receive one quality minor leaguer, a legitimate big-league prospect, from the Cubs. The decision might come today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
The Cubs hired Epstein as their president of baseball operations in October. Epstein resigned from Boston's GM position with one year remaining as part of the process, and the teams have not been able on agree which Cubs players the Red Sox will receive as compensation. The commissioner's office has gotten involved, with the teams submitting briefs recently. In January, Epstein explained his stance on WEEI: "There's no precedent for major, major compensation here."
The Cubs are not loaded with top-ranked prospects and young players, but I think it's safe to assume Matt Garza, Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, Brett Jackson, Javier Baez, and probably Matt Szczur will not be involved. Given MLB's involvement, perhaps a player in the Cubs' next tier of prospects could be included, such as Trey McNutt. Check out Kevin Goldstein's Cubs prospect rankings for Baseball Prospectus here.
- The Red Sox will not be one of the teams in attendance for Scott Kazmir's workout tomorrow, reports Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe (on Twitter). The southpaw's audition was supposed to be today, but it was pushed back.
- Korean pitching prospect Seong-Min Kim originally agreed to a $575K deal with the Orioles, Ben Badler of Baseball America reports.
- Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun hears that while MLB hasn't approved the contract between the Orioles and the 17-year-old left-hander, MLB didn't technically void it. In any case it seems the deal for Kim will not go through as originally announced.
- A Red Sox official expects compensation for Theo Epstein to be finalized "very soon," Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. The Red Sox and Cubs recently sent briefs to the commissioner's office explaining their perspective on the issue of how to compensate Boston for Epstein's departure to Chicago.
- Agent Barry Meister didn't comment on whether Tim Wakefield will accept a minor league deal from the Red Sox, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com tweets. It doesn't appear that Wakefield will accept the offer, Edes writes.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
- "Vladimir Guerrero has made it known to the Yankees that he wants their DH spot," tweets ESPN's Buster Olney, but Raul Ibanez remains the frontrunner. Ibanez had a slightly worse 2011 season, but the Yankees seem to prefer his left-handed bat.
- The Cubs and Red Sox submitted briefs regarding the Theo Epstein compensation issue, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, and a decision could come this week.
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington told WEEI after the Ortiz settlement that he doesn't expect any major moves between now and when pitchers and catchers report Sunday, but added, "We're still working on some stuff." WEEI's Rob Bradford hears there's still no traction with Roy Oswalt.
- Orioles executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira will still fly to the Dominican Republic this weekend to scout six Cuban players, including outfielder Jorge Soler, he told Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com. The Orioles had interest in Yoenis Cespedes, but Ferreira isn't surprised or disappointed about not getting him.
- Matt Moore, Dylan Bundy, Manny Machado, Travis d'Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, Manny Banuelos, Xander Bogaerts, Gary Sanchez, Brandon Jacobs, Daniel Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Dellin Betances, Hak-Ju Lee, Anthony Gose, Jonathan Schoop, Noah Syndergaard, Ryan Lavarnway, and Mason Williams are the division's best prospects, based on Kevin Goldstein's recently-released top 101 prospects list for Baseball Prospectus. Jacobs, Norris, and Syndergaard didn't merit mentions on Keith Law's top 100 or his "just missed" list for ESPN. On the other hand, Law included Drew Hutchison, Chris Archer, Enny Romero, Mikie Mahtook, Taylor Guerrieri, Aaron Sanchez, and Blake Swihart on his list and Goldstein did not.
The Red Sox haven't spent much on free agents this offseason, but new GM Ben Cherington did improve his bullpen via trade while also clearing salary by moving shortstop Marco Scutaro. The latest on the team:
- Commissioner Bud Selig still hasn't received written arguments in the Cubs-Red Sox Theo Epstein compensation case, tweets MLB Network's Peter Gammons. Gammons moderated the Hot Stove Cool Music panel on Monday with both Epstein and Cherington. Cherington said that he expects direction from the commissioner's office soon, writes Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Explained Cherington, "There was an expectation when Theo left that the Red Sox would receive significant compensation for allowing the Cubs to hire him and we haven’t been able to agree on what 'significant compensation’ means.'"
- The Red Sox have potential arbitration hearings for Alfredo Aceves and David Ortiz, and Cherington told MLB.com's Evan Drellich he'd prefer not to publicize the dates. Ortiz's hearing is tentatively scheduled for mid-February, reported Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports yesterday. Cherington doesn't think the potential impact of the hearings would be significant, but a $3.85MM spread on Ortiz does seem significant to me for a club that recently unloaded its starting shortstop in a trade that appeared financially motivated.
- As part of a Sacred Heart University lecture series last night, Epstein said that in retrospect it wasn't necessary for him to leave the Red Sox for three months during the 2005-06 offseason as a means of determining what the organization stood for (WEEI's Ryan Hannable reporting). Yankees GM Brian Cashman, now a potential trading partner for Epstein, also attended the event. Tyler Kepner of the New York Times has quotes about the executives' observations of each other while competing in the AL East.
- I've begun collecting lists of 40-man roster players with less than five years of service who are out of options. For the Red Sox, I've confirmed it's Michael Bowden, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, Darnell McDonald, Franklin Morales, and Matt Albers.