The Boston Red Sox selected their player to be named later for Theo Epstein (together with Chris Carpenter, whom they’ve already received), and it’s relief pitching prospect Aaron Kurcz.

I want to make sure to properly contextualize this so I don’t overreact, but I’m a tad bummed. Kurcz, 21, is almost exclusively a relief prospect, which limits his value. But, he’s been quite a good one – he sported a 3.28 ERA and a 91/34 K/BB ratio in 82.1 innings last year at High A Daytona. He cranks it up into the mid-90s on a good day, despite his relatively small stature.

Still, pulling back the tears, Kurcz has generally been left off of the Cubs’ top 25/30 prospect lists for 2012 (or is found at the very end), and is a kid that, while I’m sure the Cubs are unhappy to lose, the team can do without.

All that now remains in the Theo deal is for the Cubs to get a player back from the Red Sox, who is expected to be of a lesser caliber than Kurcz. Once that’s settled, we can fully evaluate the process and the final deal. Of course the Cubs still come out winners (that is to say, I’d rather have Epstein than Carpenter and Kurcz (no offense, gents)), and, in sum, I think the price is not totally unfair. A touch high? Yes. But the Red Sox were exceptionally good at being a squeaky wheel.

The Cubs also still owe compensation to the Padres for hiring Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, which should be settled at some point soon.

  • Ced landrum

    Well now I think they were way Over compensated

  • Funkster

    Not real happy about this but what can you do. Sick of this whole compensation issue and I’ll be glad when it’s over. Starting to strongly dislike Larry Lucchino.

    • Brett



      • funkster

        Its moving beyond mild annoyance with him ha.

  • Jonski

    Well the fact that he was never going to be converted to a sp or was used primarly as a reliever is a easier pill to swallow ,but I still think it stinks to lose both o well got to move on and learn from it I guess!

  • Sean C

    Not cool.

  • MichiganGoat

    Ah I can live with this we lose two relief pitching prospects with a possible ceiling of being 8, 9 inning guy. If both of them reach the majors then sure it kinda sucks but then again if Theo drafts with the success he had in Boston then we win. So I guess a player between like Kurcz (in terms of rank) for Jed and cash for Jason and everything will be done. Anyway you look at this we win. We will have years of a stable, genius FO and that is worth a couple of relief prospects.

  • ty

    Aaron played in Vegas high school with Washington Nationals kid and then to West Point for 2 years. A right hander with 3 pitches and control and a serious prospect. I knew when our head scout left for Boston he would sting us and Gary you sure did.

    • al

      he didn’t play at west point, i played with him at air force. learn the facts!

      • ty

        you are correct Al. I got to know Aaron and am very optomistic about his pro future.

  • King Jeff

    On the surface, I hate this. Theo Epstein was promoted, and never has a baseball team had to give player compensation for promoting a front office employee from another organization. I like both Carpenter and Kurcz. I think Carpenter would have been in the mix in the bullpen, and a possible future closer. Kurcz is a solid relief prospect who just throws strikes and gets guys out. That being said, they are both marginal prospects, who in all likelihood are going to have as many all star seasons as Theo Epstein is. It rubs me that they took two of the more ready pitching prospects from an extremely top-thin system. I hope the Cubs pull back a decent prospect to balance this out some.

    • DocWimsey

      Again, the Cubs did NOT promote Theo or anybody else that they did not employ: only the Sox could do that. Theo took a different job with a rival organization, but to do this, the Red Sox had to release him from his contract. Regardless of the position, the Sox are entitled to some compensation for this.

      • Brett

        And again, Jeff is referring to an unwritten rule in baseball, to which almost everyone adheres, that, when you hire a guy for a higher position than he currently has, particularly one that wasn’t available to him in his current organization, the old team doesn’t stand in the way or ask for compensation.

        The Red Sox were fully within their rights. It’s just rare that a team does it, particularly as aggressively as they did.

        • MichiganGoat

          There is a story behind all this we will never know, but one can theorize that conversations about “significant” compensation were agreed upon before Theo left. What level if comp or who was mentioned will never be known (and who led those initial discussions). It was the definition of said compensation that held everything up before Theo left and and ultimately why Bud almost made the decision. We will never know if: 1-the Red Sox were actually promised more 2-if this was the level of comp I initially discussed or 3-if this agreement was reached because the Cubs were afraid of what Bud would ultimately decide. In the end we have Theo the Red Sox have two possible relievers that may stick on the roster but WE HAVE THEO. if Theo and Co build a farm system that is even 80% of what he had in Boston we will replace these players tenfold in five years. It is over, finally.

          • Brett

            Right – we have no idea why the Red Sox were as aggressive as they were. They may have had a very good reason to be, based on conversations we’ll never know the details of.

            • hardtop

              all we really know for sure is crane kenney should have nothing to do with baseball operations.

              im thankful its over. i can now maybe resume my relationship with my one buddy who’s a red sox fan.

              arent we supposed to be getting some dud from them in this player to be named later sham. the utlimate revenge would be for said return player to turn out to be a late bloomer and become a perennial all star. eat it larry.

            • bluekoolaidaholic

              Didn’t we hear that Kenney promised the Saaaax “significant compensation”?
              If so,

  • brittney

    I’ve always had a natural and very strong dislike for the ny yankees and I used to also kind of like boston (until they started spending like ny) and now I’ve shifted to strongly disliking boston and their goons as much as the yankees! Boston is greedy as all h3ll! They deserved NOTHING and got 2 good prospects. Atleast theo doesn’t have to be associated with douche monkies and can be part of a true baseball tradition!

    • DocWimsey

      Actually, the Yanks still spend a lot more than the Sox. And although it is a common belief that the Sox play only expensive free agents, they actually play a lot of guys that they developed in their farm system. This was a topic of yesterday’s posts: the Sox have gotten more wins from their drafts over the last 10 years than has any other organization.

      Of course, that gets expensive, too: if you develop All Stars, then you have to shell out All Star $$$ to keep those guys.

  • Jay Anderson Jr

    Why are people hating on Larry Lucchino, he’s trying to get the most for his team as he can. That’s his job and I can’t hate him for that. Apparently, he negotiated this a lil better then Thoe/Jed/Crane/Tom, so all those who are hating, he kicked our ass on this one.

    I would still rather have Theo then Carpenter/Kurcz, so I’m good with it.

    • Montellew_IA

      We’re hating on him because he had the option to say no to Theo interviewing in the first place. We’re hating on him because Theo only had 1 year left on his contract. We’re hating on him because after last years Red Sox collapse, they so disrespected Theo that they fired his manager against Theo’s decision. We’re hating on them because we know if he’d stayed, they would have treated him like a turd based on what happened last year, if not shown him the door themselves……and yet now that we wanted their ‘trash’ (no, I’m not saying Theo is trash by any means), that they suddenly want to call him their treasure and ask a Kings ransom for him. Yes, we knew he was valuable to us all along. But for where he stood with the Sox, he wasn’t long for there anyhow. So yes, Larry Lucchino Lover, we continue to hate on the bastard.

    • Boogens

      “Apparently, he negotiated this a lil better then Thoe/Jed/Crane/Tom…”

      You might be right about that but ultimately I think that it’s not a big deal because Ricketts proved to be exceptional at setting his sights and landing his man. Lucchino felt the sting and that gave him the motivation to be extra vigilant in his compensation demands. Bottom line is that Ricketts made his hire and all it cost us was two relievers. We came out way ahead on this one.

  • Fishin Phil

    ” But the Red Sox were exceptionally good at being a squeaky wheel.”

    You mean whining like little punks.

    • cjdubbya

      That’s the ex-lawyer in Brett coming out.

  • Dan

    So now it is known what the Cubs had to give up for Theo (and soon Jed). Yes, it should not have been much. BUT, for the number of years the Cubs now have the type of FO they have now vs Hendry, I’ll take it. If they are as good as we hear, they will replace what we lost fast! I plan on supporting the team and supporting the FO with the moves they are and will make. We must remember, we are (RE)building. Little moves now, may end up leading to GOOD moves tomorrow, next month, next spring, who knows. I want to believe this FO has a plan and they are slowly attacking it with the pieces they had in place when they came in (not much). Now they are making moves to improve what was, to help what wil be. I think it will be fun just watching how they go about doing business over the next 1, 2 and 3 years to get the Cubs to the elite!

    GO CUBS!

  • Steve

    I am of the opinion that if each of us were asked before this subterfuge began, if we would trade Carpenter and Kurcz for Theo Epstein, the response would have been a collective, resounding..”YES.”
    It was the excruciating, drawn out process that has made this almost unpalletable.

    • Brett

      You have to be careful about that approach to the resolution, though. Before all of this started, before Theo seemed like a real possibility, wouldn’t you have gladly traded Brett Jackson for Theo? I sure would have, if that was the trade offer on the table.

      But that doesn’t mean I would have been happy if the Cubs had to give up Jackson now.

  • So Ill Cub Fan

    I think we’ll all be happy with this in a few years. While I don’t think much of Lucchino, it’s still Tom Ricketts who dropped the ball by not having the basis of a deal before signing Theo. On the other hand, all the Red Sox had to do was deny permission.

    • Boogens

      “While I don’t think much of Lucchino, it’s still Tom Ricketts who dropped the ball …”

      It bothers me a bit when we criticise Ricketts over this. It’s safe to say that, at best, it’s unclear what was agreed upon by the teams. We don’t have the genuine insight to know if term “significant” was really agreed to and even if it were we don’t know each team’s understanding of the word at the time. It’s as if we’ve just accepted the red Sox account of the term as fact.

      If we go back and try to remember what was happening at that time it makes sense that Ricketts acted as quickly as he did to secure Theo. Remember that the Red Sox jerked us around a bit and didn’t provide an answer to the interview request for several days. Once they gave permission we only had 7 days to interview, make something work out with Theo and agree on compensation. Chances are slim that he would’ve had enough time to do all of it so it make sense that Ricketts got his man first. Maybe they could’ve settled the compensation issue upfront but then again maybe it would’ve been contentious and the Red Sox may have rescinded the persmission to interview him or maybe we would’ve run out of time to fit it all in the 7 day window. We came out way ahead and I’m happy as hell with the way it worked out even if the Red Sox acted like spurned prom dates.

  • Curt

    For something that I believe they deserved nothing at all, the redsox did pretty well but watch the bitch and moanfest that is L.L. And company will still say they didn’t get enough , you just feel slimy after dealing with them, they should be proud the sox are Yankee twins glad the cubs are almost done with dousche bags and I now yield the floor to any other speakers and get down from my soapbox. Lol

  • Norm

    People are really upset about losing a guy that wasn’t even in BA’s top 30 Cub prospects?

    • Kyle

      Meh, he could have been. The Cubs’ 20-45 are pretty interchangeable (that’s a good thing, we have an amazingly deep pool of guys who qualify as prospects, even if they aren’t great prospects), and he fell into that list.

      I’m not upset about losing him, but it’s definitely not nothing.

      • Norm

        oh I agree…I guess people would’ve been upset no matter who it was in the top 45 or so…

    • Cedlandrum

      He wasn’t rated high because he is a bullpen arm. Some who follow the cubs minor leagues closely feel that he was the best bullpen prospect in the system. I agree.

      • Luke

        He was a good bullpen prospect, but I don’t know that I could get behind best in the system.  Dolis, Beliveau, Antigua, and Zych should at least be in that conversation, I think.

        • Cedlandrum

          Antigua, I am not sure he is a reliever at this point. He could be, but he still has a shot as a starter. Beliveau is a lefty who probably will be a seventh inning guy or a specialist. Zych is probably the same level of potential. This year could change my mind, but he has only pitched a few professional innings. Dolis has the highest upside but he is also the riskiest to stick. He has to find separation between his BB/SO.

          Maybe best bullpen prospect isn’t the right phrase, but most likely to be a consistent late inning pitcher isn’t too far off. Also Closer is still the premium postition in the pen. Really only Kurcz and Zych have closer out pitches. Dolis has the stuff but not the put away pitch. Kurcz could have been a late inning guy as early as 2013.

  • Dumpgobbler

    Kurcz was, IMHO, the best relief prospect in our system. This hurts. Not so much that I’ll be throwing my computer out the window, just hurts more then losing Carpenter. The reason Kurcz has been so underrated is because RP are generally not included in anyones list, due to being less valuable.

  • Norm

    I yawn when I think of bullpen “prospects”.

  • bluekoolaidaholic

    No matter how you cut it, we made out, team Thoyer is the feline’s sleepware, period.

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