Trey McNutt Rumors

Cubs Outright McDonald, Dolis, Four Others

The Cubs announced that outfielder Darnell McDonald, catcher J.C. Boscan, and right-hander Trey McNutt have cleared waivers and were outrighted off of the 40-man roster.  In addition, the Cubs activated right-handers Rafael Dolis and Zach Putnam and outfielder Thomas Neal off of the 60-day disabled list and subsequently outrighted them from the 40-man.

McDonald, 35 in November, slashed .302/.351/.434 in 57 plate appearances for the Cubs this season but spent the bulk of the year in Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .236/.307/.346.  Dolis made 34 relief appearances for the Cubs in 2012, but pitched to a 6.39 ERA with 5.7 K/9 and 5.4 BB/9 and saw just five games this season before a June injury.  McNutt, 24, was rated by Baseball America as the 48th best prospect in the country prior to the 2011 season.  The well-traveled Neal was claimed on August 5th and played in two games before suffering a separated right shoulder. 

With the moves, the Cubs’ 40-man roster currently stands at 37 players.


Cubs, Red Sox Nearing Epstein Deal

The Red Sox and Cubs are working toward an agreement that would send Theo Epstein to Chicago and one or more prospects to Boston. We learned earlier in the week that Epstein could bring former colleagues and current Padres executives with him to Chicago in a separate deal. Jed Hoyer, Josh Byrnes and Jason McLeod of the Padres worked with Epstein in Boston. Here's the latest on the negotiations with the most recent updates up top:

  • "A lot would have to happen" for a final deal to be announced tomorrow, a source tells Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, though it's still possible.  Miller also reports that Hoyer will receive a five-year contract, just like Epstein, and the Cubs will send the Padres "one or two lower-level minor leaguers" as compensation for Hoyer.
  • The sides have agreed to "nothing" in terms of compensation, according to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com.
  • Epstein has been working at his Red Sox office all day, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Padres assistant general manager Jason McLeod will join Hoyer and Epstein in Chicago. McLeod was Boston's amateur scouting director under Epstein before leaving for San Diego with Hoyer after the 2009 season.
  • The Red Sox are less optimistic than the Cubs that a deal for Epstein is near, according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. "There seems to be a fundamental divide in the way the two clubs look at this," said Silverman's source.
  • The Red Sox and Cubs are "finalizing" the deal, according to Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com. They're expected to announce the deal tomorrow. It would not include Brett Jackson, Trey McNutt, Matt Szczur or cash. MLB has told the Cubs they can have a news conference tomorrow, a World Series travel day, according to Levine. 
  • However, Red Sox assistant GM Ben Cherington told Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that reports of a deal are "premature" (Twitter link). Cherington says there's nothing new to report this morning.
  • The Cubs will name Jed Hoyer their GM within a few days, according to Levine (Epstein would be the club's president of baseball operations). However, the Cubs have not officially asked for permission to interview Hoyer. The Padres will make Josh Byrnes their GM and won't demand compensation for losing Hoyer, according to Levine.
  • The Red Sox and Cubs are making progress and the sides could announce a deal by tomorrow, according to Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. Commissioner Bud Selig may allow the teams to make an announcement during the World Series so they can proceed with their offseason planning. The Red Sox are optimistic about reaching a settlement soon.

Theo Epstein Rumors: Tuesday

The latest on the Cubs' attempt to add Red Sox GM Theo Epstein to their front office…

  • Epstein is actively looking to hire a general manager to join him in Chicago, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The 37-year-old is exploring GM candidates while he waits for the Red Sox and Cubs to work out compensation for his departure. The Cubs would bring Epstein in as their president of baseball operations and he would hire a general manager to assist with the daily grind of the job.
  • The Red Sox are "holding tough" on their asking price and don't anticipate resolution tonight, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe (on Twitter).
  • Hoyer told Marty Caswell of XX1090 Sports Radio that he's not going to comment on media speculation (Twitter links).  "I'm excited about what we continue to build here in San Diego," he said. 
  • The Cubs haven't asked for permission to talk to any Padres executives, according to Dan Hayes of the North County Times (Twitter link).
  • Carrie Muskat of MLB.com points out that obtaining Hoyer could prove difficult, as he is under contract through 2013 with an option for 2014 (Twitter link).  But Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres doubts owner Jeff Moorad would hold up a deal if it meant Byrnes became the Padres' next GM (Twitter link).
  • Current Padres GM Jed Hoyer is being considered by the Cubs and Epstein, tweets SI's Jon Heyman.  In that scenario, Josh Byrnes would become the Padres' GM.  Heyman notes that the Cubs are also looking at Padres executives Byrnes and Jason McLeod for themselves, should Hoyer stay.  All the executives were once members of the Boston front office with Epstein.
  • Yesterday we learned that the Red Sox started out the Epstein compensation discussions by asking the Cubs for righty Matt Garza, which CSNNE.com's Sean McAdam says was "rejected out of hand."  Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe says that "the sides slowly have moved their position to a more realistic center" as they discuss Cubs prospects.  
  • Cafardo says the Red Sox have been focusing on Trey McNutt, Brett Jackson, Matt Szczur, and Josh Vitters, the latter three labeled as unlikely by Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com yesterday.  McNutt and Andrew Cashner are unlikely as well, writes Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune, while McAdam says McNutt's inclusion is "far from guaranteed at this point."
  • An announcement today has been ruled out, writes McAdam, with "significant work" remaining to reach an agreement on compensation.  He says Friday's World Series off-day is the earliest possibility, assuming the teams come to terms and get Bud Selig's permission for an announcement.  McAdam says that although progress has been made, the Cubs feel that precedent calls for minimal compensation while the Sox think this situation defies precedent.
  • McAdam writes that the issue of Epstein taking Red Sox employees with him is not an issue, with a mutual understanding in place that he will not raid Boston's baseball operations department. 
  • Most reports, including this one from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, suggest that the five-year, $18.5MM deal between Epstein and the Cubs is not in jeopardy.  Still, as Cafardo notes, both teams have a lot of team-building to do.    


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 CSNChicago.com.  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.