The word “compensation” has been a bit of an annoying one that Cubs fans and the team front office just could not shake off all winter long. Despite all the staff replacements (from the front office all the way down to the manager and coaching staff), the roster changes, and the rumors that go along with those player changes, the compensation talk for Theo Epstein always lingered. Even with Commissioner Bud Selig involved, the issue dragged on, thanks in part to the apparent divide and bad blood between Epstein and the top dogs of the Red Sox organization.
From the standpoint of Cubs fans, there was some concern over rumored Red Sox demands for All Star shortstop Starlin Castro or ace pitcher Matt Garza. Even more realistically speaking, the possibility of losing top prospects such as Brett Jackson or Trey McNutt was an honest concern. ESPN Chicago is reporting that the name that both teams have agreed to is Chris Carpenter. The hard throwing right hander made his MLB debut this past season with the Cubs and totaled 10 appearances. Although it is a small sample size, the young pitcher showed flashes of promise, striking out eight during that span. But on the flip side, Cubs fans also witnessed a reliever that is still a work in progress, as we walked seven.
He has also showed promise in the Cubs minor league system and projects to be a good middle reliever. Baseball Prospectus had Carpenter ranked 14th on the Cubs prospect list in their most recent rankings. While in a perfect Cubs world it would have been a mid to low level prospect that the team sent to the Red Sox, Cubs fans should take comfort in at least knowing that the Cubs were not robbed blind for Epstein.
There is one minor step involved to officially wrap up the compensation talk – which is why the headline features a question mark – but Cubs fans can rest easy that the saga is over with. The minor detail involves both the Cubs and Red Sox exchanging one player to be named later. Other than that, all parties, from the front office and coaching staff, to the players on the roster, to the fan base can now turn their full focus on 2012 with Spring Training ramping up.