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epstein and carpenterAt this time last year, we were still mired in the Theo Epstein Compensation Saga. When the Cubs hired Epstein away from the Red Sox in the Fall of 2011 – to a promotion that was unavailable with the Red Sox (even a year later, I feel compelled to underscore that point) – each side agreed that, because Epstein was still under contract with Boston for one more season, the Cubs should send the Red Sox some compensation for the hire.

I’d originally heard that Cubs relief pitcher/prospect Chris Carpenter was going to be the compensation, but then reports out of Boston had the Red Sox asking for a crazy variety of pieces – Starlin Castro? Matt Garza? Insane. Brett Jackson? Trey McNutt? Only slightly less crazy (at the time). So the two sides fought a private battle for the better part of four and a half months before agreeing on Carpenter and a PTBNL, who turned out to be relief prospect Aaron Kurcz.

Kurcz was a nice young relief prospect, but Carpenter was clearly the centerpiece. He left for Boston during Spring Training, and shortly thereafter developed (or discovered) bone spurs in his elbow, which mostly derailed his 2012 season. He managed just six innings at the big league level, and 21.2 innings over various minor league stops (during which he pitched quite well). And now, to make room for Mike Napoli, Carpenter has been designated for assignment by the Red Sox. They will have 10 days to trade, release, or waive him.

He can still bring the extreme heat, and remains an interesting bullpen pitcher, on whom some team will take a chance if those bone spur issues are behind him.

Might that team be the Cubs?

Well, according to a source of Bruce Levine’s, the Cubs would indeed be interested in bringing Carpenter back if he’s waived by the Red Sox. I’m going to assume, however, that the interest is on a minor league deal if Carpenter clears waivers, and becomes a free agent (and if he’s never been outrighted off the 40-man roster before, he becomes a free agent after clearing waivers only if the Red Sox don’t want to keep him). The Cubs’ 40-man roster is currently full – indeed, they still need to clear a spot for Carlos Villanueva – and they are loaded with bullpen options. If Carpenter is interested in returning on a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite, however? Sure, why not add him to the Wade/Lewis/Carpenter (Andrew)/Takahashi crew of competitors.

Given his raw ability, however, it’s fair to wonder whether Carpenter would clear waivers. And, even if he did, he might be able to find a team with which he has a slightly better chance of making the big league club out of Spring Training.

  • Bigg J

    Would love to pick him back up

  • HackAttack

    I seem to remember Carpenter being pissed at the Cubs for not recalling him in September of 2011. New management now. But something to think about.

  • Sponge-Bob

    Damaged goods

    • Mat B.

      3/4 of the Cubs pitching staff is damaged goods.

  • MightyBear

    Question: Can the Cubs trade someone like Rusin for Carpenter but only as a minor league deal both ways? This would give the Red Sox someone without using a roster spot and the Cubs could get Carpenter and clear a spot for Villanueva. Not sure this is possible but would be a good deal for both teams.

    • hansman1982

      Both players would have to be off the 40-man roster.

      If Rusin is on the 40-man, the Cubs would have to place him on waivers. Once he clears waivers (assuming that Carpenter clears as well) they could trade them as minor leaguers.

      But at that point, why would you want to trade Rusin away?

      • MightyBear

        Thanks. No at that point they wouldn’t want to trade Rusin. I knew the Sox had 10 days to make a trade and I was trying to come up with a creative way to clear a spot on both rosters and each team get to keep a player. Actually, I was just using Rusin as an example. Thanks again for the info. I am not up to speed on the 40 man rules as I should be but that’s why I come here. To get wisdom from Brett and folks like you HM.

  • JulioZuleta

    Yeah, it’d have to be a minor league deal for me to be on board. He’s 27 now, be tough to justify booting anyone for a 27 year old raw, oft-injured, reliever.

    • Forlines

      Pretty much exactly how I was gonna put it. Let him prove he can earn a spot in the majors before we drop anyone else. It would be nice to give him that opportunity though

  • João Lucas

    Wouldn’t the Red Sox just keep him if he clears waivers? Does he have the right to refuse an assignment to the minors in that case?

  • Jeremy

    I want to resign him just out of spite for the Red Sox.

  • JMack4568

    Just for kicks, Theo should call Boston and offer himself back in a trade for Carpenter.

  • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

    I’ll double check the rules, but we’re all missing the fact that if he clears waivers, Boston keeps him. DFA isn’t release.

    • Stinky Pete

      AND I would think as much as some of us want to get him just to stick it to Boston, Boston will trade him for garbage to StL, Mil or CWS just to stick it to the Cubs.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Given that the Sox think sufficiently little of Carpenter that they are DFA’ing him, wouldn’t they want to give him to the team to which they would like to “stick it”?

        • Stinky Pete

          I don’t think a DFA indicates they think little of him so much as less of him than 40 other dudes. Carpenter still has some upside value. Granted I doubt Detroit pursues him for their closer, but he could have some value.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Sure, that is all a DFA ever means: but you can count the number of teams that don’t have some pretty holes on their 40 man roster on one hand. Boston is telling us that they don’t think Carpenter is going to be particularly useful: and if you want to stick it to the Cubs, then you give the Cards or Reds someone that you think will be useful.

    • JulioZuleta

      I believe they only keep him if he wants to stay. I think he can refuse the minor league designation.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        He can’t refuse unless he’s got three years of service time or if he’s been outrighted before. I’ll have to check on the second one, but I don’t think so.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I thought he’d been outrighted before, but you are correct if he hasn’t.

  • Tim

    Podcast today?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Recording tonight for publication tomorrow (the holiday put us back a day).

      • Tim

        Awh man that’s a let down. I listen to it during my 2 hour break between school and work

  • Spriggs

    I would really be surprised if he cleared waivers. I know many teams have roster issues, but having seen how all the scouts drooled over him in the AFL – and given that he hasn’t lost any of that “tops 100″ on the gun speed, I can’t imagine at least a few GMs wouldn’t have their scouting departments screaming to claim him.

  • RWakild

    You would think that the Cubs can find room for that 100 mph fastball. My guess is Houston will claim him though.

  • Bigg J

    What’s the likelihood that the Cub’s DFA Campana for Vill and Castillo for Carp?

    • MacPete

      Castillo won’t be DFA

      • Bigg J

        Well I know they took him rule 5, but struggled last year and why not grad Carp who is a proven asset in the pen?

        • King Jeff

          They are working on converting Castillo to a starter I believe, which tells me that they won’t want to give him up for nothing.

    • TonyP

      Campana and Clevenger would be my first two DFA’d

      • Rcleven

        Clevenger has back-up to back-up ability. If claimed the Cubs have dug themselves a pretty deep hole.
        Think pitching is thin? The Cubs don’t have a prospect above low A which can project to MLB.

        • King Jeff

          Vizcaino and Loux, once recovered, should help with that.

      • http://thecubcontrarian.blogspot.com Kyle

        The problem is you probably won’t go into the season without a third catcher or 5th outfielder, so does that really save you a spot to DFA any of them? Unless you want to wait until the spring when you’ve had some people make it to the 60-day DL.

    • Bigg J

      Ahh makes sense then. I am not sure what the hold up is with DFA Campana. I am sure they are trying to work a trade to get something out of him, but come on it shouldn’t take this long. If there is no match then cut him loose.

      • King Jeff

        Doesn’t Campana still have options left? If so, they don’t have to release him, just move him off the roster, right?

        • Bigg J

          I am not sure if he has options left and that doesn’t mean DFA that means he doesn’t have to go through waivers when he is outrighted off 25 man I think……i don’t remember…too many rules

          • King Jeff

            Ah, I see, thanks. I get the 25 and 40 man roster rules confused quite a bit.

            • hansman1982

              It’s quite easy, Hendry got twisted up in them in 2010…

              I want to say it involved the 2011 Mark DeRosa award winner Tyler Colvin

        • hansman1982

          That’d only get him off the 25-man roster. 40-man is the DFA/Waiver process and he’d most likely get claimed by a couple of teams out there.

  • willy

    Im confused by all these Cubs fans that would want Carpenter back, he’s a terrible pitcher, just look at his stat’s, he’s a Minor league reliever and that’s it.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      fuh-lah, the answer to that is obvious! Every player that the Cubs trade away turns into a star. I mean, wasn’t the entire All-Star team last year made up of Cub farmhands who Hendry traded away for overpriced veterans who routinely get thrown out at first on flyballs off of the wall? I’m sure of it. Didn’t the Rays just win two straight WS on the shoulders of the studs that we sent them for Garza? I’m pretty sure about that, too.

      Now, I could look up some actual facts, but I’m pretty sure that my gut is right here. Either that, or the large worm in it is lying to me…..

  • Rcleven
  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    Atlanta just proposed a trade with the Dbacks for J Jpton…Atlanta’s out of Bj Justin and Hayward! Sick outfield!

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