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Cubs Wed Feb 22 2012

Cubs, Red Sox Agree on Compensation for Theo

By Chad Ruter

Theo Epstein's move to Chicago was as much about leaving the Red Sox as it was about the Cubs stealing him away, but his new team still wound up having to compensate his former team for its loss.

After nearly four months of negotiations, the clubs announced Tuesday they have decided which player not named Matt Garza is heading to Boston. The lucky man is right-hander Chris Carpenter, along with a swap of players to be named later (most likely non-prospects).

The 26-year old Carpenter is a two-pitch flamethrower who is regarded by many as being just outside the Cubs' top 10 prospects, primarily because of his age, injury history, and lack of a reliable third pitch. In a relief role, the kid can bring it with a high-90s heater and mid-80s slider. But with that titanic fastball comes Titanic-like rudder control (I'm allowed a centennial anniversary joke when talking about the Cubs, right?) to the tune of a 5.7 BB/9 rate in the minors last season.

"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," Epstein said in a statement. "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."

Having avoided losing a top prospect such as Brett Jackson or Javier Baez, the Cubs don't lose much in the short term with Carpenter's departure, considering a right-handed relief pitcher is the least of their problems this season. Instead, Theo and general manager Jed Hoyer continue to preach starting pitching, getting on base, and good defense as the way to make the Cubs consistently better in the future.

When it's all said and done, Cubs fans are hoping the dragged-out compensation process is merely a footnote to long, successful careers for both Epstein and Hoyer in the front office of an organization desperate for perennial success. If everything falls into place at Wrigley Field for the next decade, you won't hear a single complaint about the loss of Carpenter to secure the services of the Boy Wonder.

 
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