The deal is reportedly in place. Theo Epstein, who helped to bring two World Series titles to Boston in his nine seasons with the club, has agreed to join the Chicago Cubs in a prominent front office role, likely giving him more power than what he had in Boston. The one sticking point for completion of the deal is what type of compensation the Cubs will send to Boston. The Sox, after all, have Theo under contract through this season, so, much like the case with the Marlins acquisition of manager Ozzie Guillen, the Sox have every right to ask for some type of compensation in return for letting him walk.
The question is: What will that compensation be? It is being reported that the Sox favor cash and that a major leaguer will not be involved, but we’ll have to wait and see what develops. In the meantime, let’s take a look at what some of the more attractive players the Cubs could potentially offer up.
Brett Jackson, CF – This seems to be the most popular name being bounced around and for good reason. Jackson doesn’t project to be an all-star star due to strikeout issues, but he has plenty of speed, potential 20 home run power and ability to get on base. He could be a .350-plus OBP, 20 HR/20 SB outfielder with plus defense down the road.
Sean Marshall, LHP – The Sox tried mightly to find a solid lefty out of the pen in 2011. While Franklin Morales and Andrew Miller had their moments, nether was much more than a replacement level pitcher. Both Morales and Miller posted fWARs of 0.2 while Marshall, for the second straight season, posted over 2 fWAR (2.8 in 2011, just 0.2 WAR shy of Jonathan Papelbon‘s total). The beautiful thing about Marshall is that he’s not just a LOOGY, as he is almost as dominant against righties as he is against lefties.
It is said that no major league player will be headed to Boston, but the Sox front office should certainly at least push for Marshall’s services given their current situation in the bullpen.
Andrew Cashner RHP – Cashner suffered a season-ending rotator cuff injury just as the 2011 season got underway. The Cubs tried to move Cashner into a starting role even though he was a dominant closer in college. Much like Daniel Bard‘s repertoire boasts better as a reliever, so too does Cashner’s. Reports state that Cashner is back to throwing in the upper 90s in the Arizona Fall League and even touching triple digits. He may still need to work on his control/command, but the swing-and-miss stuff has always been there.
Trey McNutt, RHP – The sleeper of the bunch, McNutt may be an interesting arm for the Sox to look at. Last season, at the age of 20, McNutt ripped through three levels, starting at single-A, then high-A and eventually a short stint at triple-A. All told, he had logged 116.1 innings, posted a 2.48 ERA and struck out 10.2 batters per nine innings while walking only 2.9 per nine innings. This season, however, his stat line was not pretty. In 95 double-A innings, McNutt posted a 4.55 ERA with only 6.2 strikeouts per nine and 3.7 walks per nine. That being said, McNutt battled through injuries seemingly all season long including finger blisters and a rib injury. A good showing in the Arizona Fall League could help him to regain some prospect stature.
Honestly, that’s about it in terms of pieces that fit the 2012 Red Sox needs. Asking for Starlin Castro is very much wishful thinking, so don’t expect that to happen. I also don’t think Sean Marshall is a realistic possibility either.
In my opinion, the Sox need to get some type of player in return, rather than just cash. Maybe an arm like Cashner plus cash would work. We’ll soon find out.
What player(s) would you like to see the Sox get as compensation?