Cubs send pitcher to Red Sox as comp for Epstein

Theo Epstein’s worth to the Boston Red Sox was easy to gauge. A

quick glance at the two World Series trophies at Fenway Park

settles that.

Determining his value to the Chicago Cubs, another title-starved

franchise desperately hoping to be saved by the Boy Wonder, turned

out to be a much more complicated issue. Turns out the architect of

a two-time champion who restored pride to a franchise that had long

been known for choking in the biggest moments was worth a

26-year-old reliever and a player to be named later.

The two teams finally announced a deal Tuesday that settles a

four-month dispute over what Boston should get as compensation when

Epstein left for Chicago. The Cubs sent right-handed reliever Chris

Carpenter and a player to be named later to the Red Sox for a

player to be named later — and Epstein.

”I guess my name will go down in history,” Carpenter said.

After the Red Sox blew a nine-game lead in the AL East by going

7-20 in the final month of last season, Epstein started to look for

a new challenge. He became Chicago’s president of baseball

operations and got a five-year, $18.5 million deal in October.

But completing the deal proved to be much more than a formality

as both sides grappled with comparing the skill set of an executive

on the suite level with what a player brings on the diamond. The

teams were not able to agree on compensation and wound up

submitting arguments to Commissioner Bud Selig.

”I think it took this long because it was a unique

circumstance,” said Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, who served under

Epstein before succeeding him. ”We talk to teams all the time

about trades and it’s player-for-player and it’s … easier to

assign value and figure out what’s fair, what’s not fair. In this

case it was just tougher because it involved not just an executive

but a friend.”

It had to make for awkward conversations. Would Cherington throw

out a name, only to have Epstein say, `No, I’m not worth that

much’?

”It was just difficult because these things don’t normally

happen,” Cherington said with a chuckle. ”It’s hard to figure out

what was appropriate. In the end both teams compromised and we feel

really good about the guy we’re getting and we’re happy it was

resolved and we were able to resolve it between the teams without

the commissioner getting involved.”

For one deal, at least, Epstein went from talent evaluator to

the actual talent being acquired.

”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,” he said in a statement released by

the team. ”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.”

Selig said he was glad he didn’t have to get involved.

”I am pleased that the Cubs and the Red Sox have resolved this

matter,” Selig said in a statement. ”It has always been my

preference that Clubs resolve matters like this amongst themselves,

as they understand their unique circumstances better than anyone

else could. Though the matter required time, both clubs

demonstrated professionalism throughout their discussions, and I

appreciate their persistence in finding common ground.”

Carpenter was a third-round draft pick by the Cubs in 2008. He

made 42 relief appearances between Double-A Tennessee, Triple-A

Iowa and the Cubs. He spent four years in the minors before seeing

his first major league action last season, when he posted no record

and a 2.79 ERA in 10 appearances.

”If you’re going to pick two teams to play for, why not the

Cubs and the Red Sox?” Carpenter said. ”You can’t complain about

that.”

The Red Sox bullpen is in a state of flux and it’s one of new

manager Bobby Valentine’s chief concerns this spring. Andrew Bailey

was acquired from Oakland in December to replace closer Jonathan

Papelbon and setup man Daniel Bard has been moved to the starting

rotation. The Red Sox have 36 pitchers in camp, hoping that the

numbers will help them bolster the depth of the relief corps.

The Cubs, meanwhile, can finally close the book on their biggest

acquisition in years.

”Now we can just move forward with the spring without worrying

about the compensation,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer said in Mesa, Ariz., at

Chicago’s spring training complex. ”Chris is a very good reliever.

He’s a difficult guy to lose. I think we all realized we were going

to lose something of significant value when Theo came over here,

and this doesn’t change that.

”I hope Chris has a lot of success over there. Obviously the

Cubs are really excited about the new management team with Theo

leading it, so there was a price to be paid for that.”

As for the players to be named later, Hoyer called it a

”procedural” thing to meet MLB transaction rules.

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