Ok, so yesterday’s conclusion to the Theo Epstein compensation drama wasn’t really the *last* time we’re going to talk about it. (Heck, it wasn’t even really the “conclusion,” as each side still has to come up with a player to be named later to send to the other side.) There are a number of reactions worth reviewing, including those from the men involved, as well as a handful of takes on who “won” the dispute. Unsurprisingly, there remain disagreements.
- First, from the man for whom the Cubs kinda just traded … four months after they hired him. “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,” Theo Epstein said via a prepared 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.” I genuinely believe it would make Epstein very happy if Carpenter emerges as a contributor in the Red Sox’s pen, even if it might make us kick a rock or two.
- Cubs GM Jed Hoyer also shared his thoughts. “The reason the Commissioner was potentially involved at any point was because there is such a lack of precedent,” Hoyer said. “It’s such an unusual move. I think both sides are very happy that he didn’t have to decide the matter and the two teams decided the matter themselves …. It wasn’t a guy we were hoping to give up. We knew there would be compensation and both sides deemed that fair …. Chris is a very good reliever and a difficult guy to lose. I think we all realized we would lose something of significant value when Theo came over here. I hope Chris has a lot of success over there. Obviously, the Cubs are excited about the new management team with Theo leading it. There was a price to be paid for that and that price is Chris and we all felt that was fair. He is talented and we wish him luck.” It’s funny to hear Jed speaking about knowing “we would lose something of significant value when Theo came over here,” given that Jed didn’t join the Cubs until several days after Epstein.
- Speaking of the Commissioner, you can bet he was thrilled he didn’t have to set a precedent and piss off two organizations in the process. “I am pleased that the Cubs and the Red Sox have resolved this matter,” Bud Selig said via a prepared 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 recognizes that he’s now a part of history (30 years from now, when the Las Vegas Rollers hire Beckett Hoyer away from the Boston Red Sox, who demand five top prospects, Rollers’ fans are going to be saying, “wait a minute! When the Cubs hired Theo Epstein, the Red Sox only got one 13th ranked prospect!” But then Red Sox fans will say that Rollers’ Business President Blaine Kennedy offered “massive” compensation … ). “As soon as they called me into the coaches office, I kind of had a feeling about what was going on,” Carpenter said. “I can’t say anything bad – I appreciate everything the Cubs have done for me. It’s been a great organization over the past four years. I’m looking to going to Boston and helping them win now.”
- Cubs manager Dale Sveum on his now departed reliever: “Unfortunately we lost a great arm in Chris. Fortunately for him, it came from a team that wanted him really, really, really bad. He’s going to fall into some competition over there to make the team, as well as he would’ve here. He gets to go to a great organization and a great city too. So that’s not a bad time to be traded for the first time.”
- Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, who’s already been unfairly maligned for “not getting enough,” according to a large swath of Red Sox fans, is doing his best to talk up the move. “We’ve scouted Chris since his amateur days at [Kent] State,’’ said Cherington. “We saw a lot last year, including the fall league. We felt he was making good adjustments there. We’re happy to have him, a young, power-arm reliever who can be a big league pitcher …. It’s easier to assign value to figure out what’s fair and not fair. In this case, it was tougher because it involved an executive and a friend. We can now move forward.’’ I continue to have a feeling that, with all respect due Cherington, he wasn’t one the driving this train from the Red Sox’s perspective.
- As for one particular of the trade, it sounds like the PTBNLs in the deal are merely a procedural inclusion (required to make this a player for player trade), and will not be anyone notable on either side. So, while the issue is not at a close, for all purposes that will plausibly impact us as fans, it is.
- Now for the pundit reactions. Dave Kaplan says swapping Carpenter for Epstein was “worth it,” which is, of course, very true. The more difficult question, however, is whether Carpenter was too much compensation, given how things played out. And, on that question, Phil Rogers says the Cubs were the big winner here, giving up less compensation than they probably should have, thanks to the Commissioner’s Office allowing Epstein to join the Cubs before compensation was determined. Bruce Levine, on the other hand, emphatically says Carpenter was way too much compensation. “Giving up a young pitcher such as Carpenter was too much in this case,” Levine writes. “A lower-level player and cash would have been proper compensation. There is no doubt that Epstein is a great talent, but as he said, he has never played one inning of organized baseball. Why should any team give up a player for a suit?” Levine’s position is that the compensation should always have only been cash. I’m not sure I agree with him there, but I do agree that, even though I previously guessed that Carpenter would be the compensation, giving up a high-upside, ML-ready reliever was probably a hair too much for one-year of a GM whom the Red Sox didn’t even want anymore (and on whom the Red Sox saved millions by making the deal).
- One other random reaction to the move: I’d think Jeff Samardzija’s chance to grab a rotation spot just got slightly more difficult. Carpenter was not expected to be a top setup guy in the pen for the Cubs, but it was definitely a possibility. Without that possibility, the chances that the Cubs will need Samardzija in the pen just went up a bit.
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