Compensation for Letting Epstein Walk

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?

Categories: Andrew Cashner Boston Red Sox Brett Jackson Sean Marshall Trey McNutt

Charlie first started writing about baseball back in 2008 when he opened Fantasy Baseball 365. Since graduating college with a degree in English, he has spent time coaching baseball as well as working in several minor league front offices. He also writes for The Outside Corner and contributes to Project Prospect and ESPN's Sweet Spot. Writer from August 3, 2010 - May 6, 2012

16 Responses to “Compensation for Letting Epstein Walk” Subscribe

  1. ChipBuck October 13, 2011 at 7:35 AM #

    I'd love Sean Marshall, but that's not happening. I'm hoping for Brett Jackson instead. Word is that the Red Sox would rather have monetary compensation in return, so we'll see.

    Also, John Dennis is reporting that discussions on compensation haven't started yet, but will today. I'm expecting this deal to be wrapped up by mid-day tomorrow. Probably late afternoon in another "take out the trash" type deal to minimize the PR impact.

    • TroyPatterson October 13, 2011 at 10:18 AM #

      I don't quite understand the whole Money aspect. Sure it might be easier than picking players and agreeing with Chicago, but what do we need the money for? It's not going to make a big swing in how much we can pay on Lackey to move him is it?

  2. Ben October 13, 2011 at 7:55 AM #

    I want Darwin Barney, just to hear Boston fans say "Dahwin Bahney"

    • Charlie Saponara October 13, 2011 at 1:05 PM #

      Yeah, but it would most be as a part of the phrase, "Hey, Dahwin Bahney youra losaaahh!"

  3. Joe M October 13, 2011 at 9:21 AM #

    I think mid-level prospects like Steve Clevenger, Junior Lake or Wellington Castillo are more likely to be in the deal. Not top-tier prospects like those mentioned above.

    • Don October 13, 2011 at 11:33 AM #

      No, it won't be Castillo. He will eventually take over for Soto. If there's names involved at all, it will be ones mid-level as you mentioned. My guess is, it's going to be all about cash and cash only.

      • Lou October 13, 2011 at 4:28 PM #

        I think Junior Lake is not a mid-level prospect and Clevenger is a great hitting and solid defensive catcher! Take Castillo! He gets hurt a lot.

  4. Don October 13, 2011 at 11:38 AM #

    Also, Brett Jackson, Darwin Barney, Sean Marshall and any name mentioned in this article is going nowhere. Brett Jackson is a huge part of the future. Sean Marshall has been outstanding in the pen. Cashner is in the plans for a spot in the rotation and McNutt I could see, but even that's pretty far fetched.

    • Charlie Saponara October 13, 2011 at 1:03 PM #

      I'm just going on what types of names are being reported. Now, the fact that they're being reported means very little. However, as Tim comments below, the Sox do have some leverage to work with here.

    • Joe October 13, 2011 at 8:22 PM #

      not sure why you think that. Ozzie Guillen netted the White Sox two of the Marlins top 5 prospects according to baseball America. Florida's system is weak this year, but so is the Chicago's.

  5. Tim October 13, 2011 at 12:54 PM #

    Don't the Red Sox have a lot of leverage right now? It's not like the Cubs can really walk away from hiring Mr. Epstein now. If the Cubs think he's the one who should run the organization, it should be worth it to them to part with someone of value. I understand him returning to the Red Sox now isn't a viable option, so the Red Sox can't get a major league ready player, but is seems like a prospect with major league potential is reasonable. The Jets got a first round draft pick when the Patriots hired the current coach and the Patriots should feel it was worth it. Those situations aren't perfectly comparable – the Patriots were accused by the Jets of tampering and the NFL had to decide on the punishment which included possible penalties worse than the loss of a first round pick. But, nevertheless, my overall point is that Cubs are hiring someone of value from the Red Sox organization and should be willing to part with something of value.

    • TroyPatterson October 13, 2011 at 1:08 PM #

      It's a tough spot for both teams now that the contract is public. Neither team really wants to back away from the deal as it would hurt both of them. On top of that the Red Sox would owe $7 million to Theo if he came back as a lame duck GM.

      I think this gets done for a lesser prospect than many are discussing. Charlie might be right that Cashner is a fair target as a reliever with injury concerns plus cash. In the end the Red Sox probably prefers cash because they know they can't get anything close to the majors.

  6. Don October 13, 2011 at 2:36 PM #

    Sounds like the Red Sox have just announced their replacement GM….doesn't it sound like the ball is in the Cubs court now? Why would they do that, unless the compensation is already been worked out?
    Again, my bet would be a mid-level prospect or just cash and i'm leaning towards just cash and I don't think the amount would be jaw dropping by any means.

  7. Joe October 13, 2011 at 8:25 PM #

    I'm not sure cash isn't a good option. The cubs system is weak, might be better to take money that you earmark for going layover slot on a few additional guys come the draft, farther from making an impact, but if you get two guys who fall as tough signs the talent level could be as good or better, and there isn't the added pressure on the player to be a star since he was traded for Theo.

  8. Dan October 16, 2011 at 3:20 PM #

    It will be Ryan Flaherty and Jay Jackson with lots of cash

  9. John October 22, 2011 at 4:26 PM #

    Lots of Cash and the Cubs Number 1 pick in the 2012 draft.