Our four-month nightmare is finally, mostly, at a close.

Today, the Cubs and Red Sox decided – on their own – that the Cubs would send relief pitcher Chris Carpenter and a player to be named later to the Boston Red Sox as compensation for the Cubs hiring Theo Epstein back in October.

The Cubs will also get a PTBNL. Note that 2011 Draft picks can now be included in deals as PTBNLs, so it’s possible that’s what we’re looking at here. It’s also possible that the sides felt they were so close that they wanted to move on, and tie up loose ends later (that always works). (UPDATE: it sounds like both sides expect the PTBNL situation to be resolved by the end of Spring Training, so it isn’t going to involve any 2011 Draft picks.)

It sucks to lose Carpenter, who was expected to be an important part of the pen this year, but I suppose it could havebeen worse. The Red Sox, however, should be mighty happy – they just got a better prospect than Hector Trinidad.

It’s important to keep a proper perspective here.

First, and foremost: we don’t know everything. As much as this story has been reported (and re-reported, and regurgitated, and repackaged, and poured over), there are still a number of crucial details we may never know. What exactly did the Cubs (via Crane Kenney, we think) say to the Red Sox about a possible interview with Theo? How exactly did the chain of events play out? Did the Cubs ask about Theo as a GM, and then later decided to give him the Presidency? Were names ever exchanged? If so, how many? Which ones? Was there ever an allegation of tampering? Do the Cubs value Carpenter less than we think?

I could go on.

Secondly: the Cubs are paying for what they got, and not what Boston gave up. That is, of course, backwards, but this whole process has been backwards. The Cubs got a completely remade front office for at leave five years, and that’s the story Boston effectively sold to the media for months. Instead, the story should have been what Boston lost: one year of a disgruntled Theo Epstein, offset by the promotion of Ben Cherington and millions of dollars saved. The Boston front office, by way of the Boston media, “won” the public relations battle. And it probably got them a slightly better prospect than they otherwise would have gotten.

Thirdly: the Cubs were always operating at a surplus. I know it’s easy to look at this like, “the Cubs just lost a great prospect today for nothing.” But, really, it’s more like the credit line just got called. Compensation was always owed. This day, however far off it seemed every time someone said a decision was “coming soon,” was indeed always coming.

It’s not all bad news. The move conveniently opens up a 40-man roster spot so that the Cubs can officially add Cuban pitcher Gerardo Concepcion at their leisure.

  • BFiddy

    Any credible rumors on who the PsTBNL will be?

  • Cedlandrum

    The PTBNL will tell the story. If it is anyone of significance like a shoulders or gretzky, I will mark this as a huge loss.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Shoulders would not be a huge loss.

      In any event, the PTBNL is due by April 15, so that rules out the 2011 draft class.

      • MichiganGoat

        Thanks, I was hoping a quick deadline would be included. I’m guessing a list of names has been agreed upon the teams just want to see how they look in ST before choosing a player.

        • butlerdawgs

          Let’s remember that the original deadline for the compensation was the world series. Not saying it won’t get done by then.

  • die hard

    And its time to ask Kenney to resign if he created this mess…Cubs can do better than him

  • PoppyPants McGee

    sounds like some boston baked bullcrap to me

  • JB88

    @PWSullivan – The players to be named later will be done by April 15. Compensation for SD for Jed wil” get done very soon. Not anyone from 40-man.

    Doesn’t look like the players will be from the 2011 draft.

    • BetterNews

      Who’s deciding on the players? What a damn debacle!

      • JB88

        Well, considering every report out there says that Selig DID NOT decide the question, but the clubs did, I would assume the Sox and Cubs are going to be the ones deciding who the various PTBNL are …

        • BetterNews

          what is going on here? Both clubs turned the matter over to Selig for resolution because they couldn’t compromise. Now both clubs resolved the issue without Selig being involved? What gives? What a fiasco!

          • JB88

            How is this a fiasco? What does it matter? Out of curiosity, what do you do for a living?

            Maybe it is based on my job as a litigator, but I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve been involved in cases where we’ve “turned the matter over” to a judge and still settle the case. All that matters is that at the end of the day the Cubs were able to convince the Red Sox to take the offer that the Cubs were making.

            If you trust in Theo & Co., this was an absolute win for the Cubs.

            • MichiganGoat

              Well stated JB88, this is not shocking among legal and corporate decisions. Say your going to a third party only to settle before the third party makes a decision. Either the Sox or the Cubs became worried and decided to settle or this was a recommended settlement before it became the official settlement. This saves the face all parties involved and is better than letting the Commish hand down a verdict.

              • JB88

                And, to add to that, it is a PR win for the Cubs, no matter how the Boston media tries to spin it. For months, the Sox were talking about how the comp should be Garza or Castro, then Vitters or Lake. Instead of ending up with a high end prospect, they end up with a relief pitcher prospect and a PTBNL.

                Good god, for the way in which the Boston media and Larry Lucchino tried to sell this, this is an absolute, with-a-doubt, loss by the Red Sox.

                • MichiganGoat

                  Exactly, the Cubs don’t have to say anything to be the winners in all this, meanwhile Larry Lou and his reporters will have to sell, sell, sell this move and continue to cry and moan.

                  • So Ill Cub Fan

                    They seem to cry and moan almost as much as the Stink-Birds!

            • necusfan

              88, truly like your posts, but this sounded pretty douchey to me:
              “Out of curiosity, what do you do for a living?

              Maybe it is based on my job as a litigator…”

              • JB88

                Perhaps it was a little douchy. I didn’t really intend it that way, but I will admit that BetterNews has a habit of bringing out the best in me.

                In any event, all I meant was that depending on ones job, you might encounter these type of situations frequently enough that it would not come across as a fiasco. To me, I’ve never thought the process was really particularly drawn out, arduous, or problematic. I suppose depending on your job, one might think that the process was a fiasco. To me, it just seemed like a process, but I might be differently equipped to handle these type of situations as my job frequently involves multi-year long disputes.

                Let me put it this way, if one of my cases settled in 4 months, it would usually be a minor miracle and either mean that my client was screwed or the other side internally admitted it had a truly weak case.

          • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

            Selig probably called them both saying that they needed to resolve it but if he had to make a decision it would be Chris Carpenter and swapping a couple no-namers. Thereby making a decision without the MLB offices making the decision and setting a gold standard.

            • BetterNews

              Hans-I see what you’re saying but when and where did swapping no-namers come into the equation. I must say I am “miffed” as many people are. The compensation was to be “a” player!

              • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

                In order to trade a player you have to receive a player back, hence the no-namers going both ways, which is a HUGE advantage to Theo.

                • SirCub

                  Yea cause Theo might even know their own minor league system better than they do, while the Sawx won’t have scouted the Cubs’ low-level prospects nearly as well. Theo will be much better equipped to do some deep prospect mining.

            • MichiganGoat

              Yup we had the exact same idea at almost the exact same time.

        • MichiganGoat

          I guessing Emperor Bud stepped in and told them they have 48hrs to create a solution or he’d make them both hurt, OR this is Bud’s recommendation and ultimate solution but wanted the teams to take the responsibility instead of the Emperors office the one who made the decision. Either way the Commish comes out of this with minimal negative press, neither team can blame him for the solution. He may be a Dark Lord of the Sith but he is slick and avoids blame.

          • Sweetjamesjones

            “Good, gooooood.”

          • Dave H

            Good call. Honestly folks, it’s done. Could have been worse. I wish it wasn’t carpenter but hey, if this front office isn’t to miffed then I won’t be.

            • BetterNews

              Dave-Yes , it could have been worse. Raphael Dolis’ name had been thrown out there for compensation for example. I guess this whole thing just has my blood boiling.

              • Dave H

                What got me miffed is that this whole thing could have been done a long time ago. Carpenter wasn’t really going to have a shoe-in for the show this year. I’d take anyone else who throws 95-97 who can find a strikezone without a map and flashlight.

  • Chris

    Hey Brett,

    Slightly disagree with your assessment of losing Chris Carpenter. He’s a reliever with command issues, and who looked awful in AAA last year. I was once a huge fan of Carpenter, but have since cooled quite a bit. I’m just fine with losing him. A relief prospect is a dime a dozen, imo. And I’m not sure he’s a better prospect than was Hector Trinidad. Wasn’t Trinidad a mid to low teens ranked prospect, as well?

    The PTBNL, on the other hand, well… let’s just hope this all ends soon…

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I actually disagree.  The Red Sox should be unhappy; they did not get a significant prospect.  Carpenter is interesting, but I doubt he would have spent much more time in Chicago in 2012 than he did in 2011.

    Some publications have had Carpenter ranked highly, but it is hard to see how a 27 year old reliever who has trouble finding the strike zone can be considered  a top prospect in a system as deep as the Cubs.  Yes, when he can harness his stuff he looks like a future closer.  To date, he has not managed to harness his stuff in the majors.

    That said, I think the compensation (prior to the PTBNL being known) is pretty reasonable.  The Red Sox are getting someone with plenty of upside that they can use right away, but the Cubs aren’t losing anyone that impacts the team this year or in the near future.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      He was #5 on MLB.com’s list, but I have many grumbles with their top-20.

      All in all, this is good, the Red Sox can proclaim victory, the Cubs don’t much care as they got rid of a 27-year old flame-thrower instead of a Trey McNutt or Belliveau.

      The PTBNL will be important but I see this as Theo’s last grasp to pry a prospect away that he might have really valued that is “off the radar”, so to speak and really, once you get out of the top 6 or 7 prospects, there are so many in our system that are interchangable its not too much to get scared about.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        If Theo can bring back a corner outfield prospect with power in the PTBNL swap I’ll be thrilled.

        • CubFan Paul

          theo&co. have acquired Lendy Castillo and Casey Weathers. Dont they both have similar stuff to Carpenter (and younger)?

          • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

            but they weren’t drafted by the Cubs, therefore they are cold garbage.

            • CubFan Paul

              i meant, with losing Carpenter its no big deal because they’ve already acquired two guys with similar stuff for the same price/money

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

            I think I’d still take Carpenter over Casey Weathers.  Carpenter has control issues, but Weathers just doesn’t have control.  If both guys reach their ceilings, I think Carpenter would be a little better, but we’re splitting hairs.

            Lendy Castillo is a tougher call.  He has been pitching for such a short amount of time it is hard to put a ceiling on him.  I think he could be the best of the three, but he also has the most risk (by far) and is so inexperience that I could be off by a mile.

            If I had to pick one of those three to keep in the Cubs system, given the Cubs depth of right handed relieve prospects, I’d toss the dice and keep Castillo.  That would be a controversial choice, though.

        • MichiganGoat

          I’d prefer a power hitting 2B or 3B prospect, power hitting outfielders are easier to find.

          • DocWimsey

            …. which takes us back to this weekend’s discussion about WAR….. 😀

    • Chris

      I agree entirely

  • DocWimsey

    Well, the first reaction from most of baseball (including most Sox and Cubs fans) is going to be: “When did Carpenter join the Cubs???”

  • ramin

    pwat brett forgot to mention is that if the ptbnl pans out then the red sox then give the cubs a player back of equal value its like a future trade

  • Steve

    I’ll take that. I absolutely will.

  • rbreeze

    I just want this over with………….

  • MichiganGoat

    Hopefully we will hear about this PTNL soon I hope there is a deadline to resolve the exchange. What I’m looking forward to is how much the Boston media tries to sell Carpenter as a HUGE get, as the best prospect in the Cubs system, and the next great closer of baseball. Now it’s time for us to start and demand a top Red Sox prospect for our PTNL.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      They’ll be able to.  Some analysts have ranked Carpenter as high as #6 in the Cubs system.  Others (like me) didn’t rank him in the Top 25.

      • JB88

        Interestingly, Dave Kaplan just tweeted: “Chris Carpenter and not much else forTheo and Co. is a huge win for the Cubs. Boston prez Larry Lucchino cannot be happy.”

        Given the various comments people are making on this site, I thought it offered an interesting perspective from someone many think is fairly closely tied to the Cubs these days.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      Jacoby Ellsbury, Pedroia AND Lester for Koyie Hill

      • JasonB

        I won’t do this unless they add Bard too.  Koyie’s superior handling of a pitching staff should be worth the additional player.

        • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

          ok, fine, and if they insist we can take Ortiz and his $13M salary off their hands.

          • JasonB

            We’ll give Soriano back to them to sweeten the deal in that case.

  • Chicub14

    Projected middle reliever for theo.well worth it.

  • Mike F

    On one hand it could have been worse, one of the premium prospects, but it’s not good. A pitcher who throws over 100 mph is not something that grows on trees, and he is a better prospect than most people give him credit for. We’ll see how it turns out, but it may work out to nothing, or far too much, I personally think it’s sad to see him leave, but dumping Kenney would make it far more palatable. There’s an old saying about worthless as tits on a boar, that’s Crane.

  • JasonB

    Whatever – I’m fine with losing Carpenter.  Throwing 100 doesn’t matter if you can’t get it accross the plate.  I’d gladly give him up over Beliveau or Maine.

    Having said that, they still didn’t deserve him though – they didn’t deserve crap

  • ferrets_bueller

    “Red Sox receive Chris Carpenter and a PTBNL, Cubs get Epstein and a PTBNL”



  • Beer Baron

    I think its as good as we could have reasonably expected. Carpenter is definitely an intriguing prospect, but in all honesty a 27 year old who’s ceiling is probably middle relief has little value on a team that won’t win for a couple of years. Sure it would be nice to have kept him, but I’d rather lose him than some of the other names thrown out there (McNutt, Vitters, et al). If there is one thing the Cubs have in abundance, its hard throwing, poor-control right handed relief pitchers (Mateo, Weathers, Dollis to name a few).

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    This is better then I imagined. Carpenter is ok, but nothing to be angry about. I have a feeling the Cubs PTBNL will be better then the Sawx. In other words, Sawx get the player they want now, so that player can be at spring training preparing for the season, in exchange for a player swap later, with the Cubs getting the better prospect to recoup some of what they lost in Carpenter. I would trade Carpenter for Epstien straight up anyday.

    • AP

      That’s what I think might happen. Even though I’m not high on Carpenter, I think he was too much, but that could very well be offset somewhat by the Cubs getting the better PTBNL later.

  • Edwin

    Carpenter is a 26 year old “prospect” who throws hard, has control issues, and hasn’t been that good. He’s also been injury prone. Other than throwing hard, I don’t know why people think he has potential. He’s still more than the Cubs should pay, but he’s no great loss.

  • Chicub14

    Ptbnl sori for Crawford.both cubs and sox fans would cry they got shafted.

    • ferrets_bueller

      I wouldn’t.  First, thats impossible, but if it did happen…man, would the Cubs get a steal.

  • Jeremy

    So someone explain to me the PTBNL deal? I don’t completely get that part. Do the Red Sox get another one of our guys in the Top 20 and then we get a player of equal value if they pan out or are we just swapping prospects?

    • SirCub

      Nah, it will be decided before that time. And probably won’t involve that high caliber of player either (we can only hope). The PTBN later swap will essentially be a trade, and there is likely a list of players from the Sox and one from the Cubs that is slightly better.

    • Beer Baron

      Technically the trade had to be player for player, so the Sox had to give up something – ie a player to be named. So the Cubs will likely get a low level guy, but then will send back an equally low level guy in return. Sounds like it won’t be anything particularly big, just a formality to make the deal legal in MLB’s eyes.

  • EQ76

    I called this on the message board..

  • Kevin

    What’s with PTBNL for both teams? Any idea the quality of players in the pool? I wanted this thing over but for some reason it keeps dragging out.

  • Andrew

    Nick Cafardo is probably reporting now that ptbnl is Javier Baez and Dan Vogelbach

    • ferrets_bueller


  • http://comicsandcardsupplies.com Chris

    I would bet that the PTBNL will be one of the many 1B draft picks from 2011. Rock Shoulders perhaps? It would be a shame to lose a name like that. Or maybe it’s Gretzky’s kid. With Rizzo, that seems to make some sense. Coming back, Theo will probably try to bring a diamond in the rough he discovered in last year’s draft. Hopefully it’s a young starting pitcher.

    • SirCub

      Well if the deal is supposed to be completed by April 15th, it couldn’t involve players drafted in last years draft.

    • Chaz

      Not even close. Someone got it right earlier when they said the PTBNL is just a formality. To make it work it had to be a player for player exchange.

  • Mick

    If the Cubs were going to trade from depth to acquire Theo Epstein it would be from our glut of bullpen prospects. I think Bud, Theo, and/or Ben made a balanced move to settle the compensation issue without severly affecting either teams future outlook. Carpenter will never be a SP, 3B, 2B, or OF so, from a Cubs point of view we did pretty good.

    Now that this compensation issue is resolved, what about the Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod compensation? I feel the sticking point to the Theo compensation centered around what was originally agreed upon between the Sox and Cubs. From what I originally read surrounding the Hoyer/McLeod compensation there was going to be a lower-level prospect involved. Should we expect this decision soon or will this now carry on throughout the year?

  • ogyu

    Can we please stop whining about compensation now, and get back to whining about Soler?

    • MichiganGoat

      Sources not close to me are saying that Soler will be signed by the Cubs but be the PTNL to the Red Sox, I think my sources name is Nicky C. Or maybe Nicky Stixx I can’t remember.

  • Dante Hicks

    1) It’s over. 2) We can blame Kenney for some of it, but for what we shall never know. He ain’t going anywhere. He got his “demotion” by being kicked out of the baseball side (why he was ever in being a different question). The Ricketts’ remain firmly behind him, so we need to move on. 3) The loss guys like Carpenter and Cashner can be sad on the surface because they throw so hard. But, in the end, you need to see clearly were they fit in your system and needs. It is like a 7 foot prospect in basketball. They height (or arm strength) is there, but what else? Can he score? Rebound only (like middle relief)? Pass the ball? Not sure if I suddenly talking about Omer Asik, but the lesson applies. I love seeing the gun hit 100, but would rather have someone who can get outs. At the MLB level. Like what the Reds want to Chapman to do before Dusty overuses him and ruins his career.

    • DocWimsey

      Also, we probably cannot blame Kenney for saying “significant”: if he does not say that, the it’s very possible that the Sox say: “he’s ours for 12 more months: here’s a highlight reel of us winning the ’04 Series against that team you hate to watch in the meantime.”

  • coby

    I’d trade Carp for Theo any day

    • Bret

      I’m pretty disappointed with what we gave up, but relieved it’s over. I think Chris will blossom into an amazing pitcher over the next few years.

      • SirCub

        You misspelled your name, and are missing your avatar, Bert.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    Meta: 1/3 of this post was written this morning when it looked likely that things were going to be settled today, 1/3 was written at a gas station in the middle of nowhere on my phone, with service cutting in and out, and 1/3 was written as I drove. Yeah, I’m on the road today – great timing.

    Sorry for lack of comments for a bit.

    • SirCub

      One of the more impressive phone-written blog posts I’ve read.

    • Spencer

      So Ohio doesn’t have any texting/using phone while driving laws, right?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Of course not…

    • TWC

      I’m surprised that Siri didn’t autocorrect “Red Sox”  into “douchenozzles” like it does on my phone.

      • SirCub

        Weird. Mine autocorrects the other way around.

    • CubFan Paul

      You need a tablet and phone with mobile hotspot ..BN on the go

      • King Jeff

        Or a car with one.

    • Toosh

      Using phone while driving = bad idea.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Definitely agree, and not bragging. I pulled off as soon as I could.