The Long National Nightmare is Over

In case you haven’t heard the news, the Theo compensation situation is finally over!  In exchange for the former boy wonder, the Red Sox will receive…wait for it…Chris Carpenter!

Holy effing crap!  Chris Carpenter?  Really?  WTF?!  This is amazing!  Our starting pitching situation is totally awesome now!  World Series here we come.  Wait, what?  The Cubs can’t trade a pitcher on the Cardinals to the Red Sox?  When the hell did this become a rule?  But…but…I want the real Chris effing Carpenter!  Can we call Bud Selig, and ask him to change the rules on the player transactions just for this one time?  We can’t?  CRAP!  This effing front office screws us every time!  Fire Ben!  Fire Larry!  Fire Theo again, even though he doesn’t work for the team anymore!  Hell, fire Ed the water cooler guy just because!  I want heads to roll!  Someone call Shaughnessy, and tell him to write a scathing article, STAT!  No excuses!  Grab your pitchforks and your torches, boys and girls!  On to Fenway, we go!

Oh, I’m sorry.  Was that a little too over the top?  Perhaps it was.  So who did we get instead?

Well, we get the other, less talented (albeit much younger) Chris Carpenter who was drafted in the third round of the 2008 amateur draft by the Chicago Cubs.  According to a report I read, his velocity and stuff were good enough to go in the first round, but concerns about his injury history and durability caused him to fall to the third round.  Among the issues he dealt with leading up to the draft were Tommy John surgery in 2005; a “clean up” procedure on his elbow in 2006; and “tired arm” that forced him to leave the Cape Cod League in 2007.  It should be noted that he’s pitched through the last three-plus seasons, relatively free of injury.

Fast forward to today…

Carpenter was recently named the 13th best prospect in the Cubs farm system by Baseball America.  While that’s a somewhat noteworthy distinction, we need to put that into perspective.  Not all number 13 prospects are created equally.  The Cubs farm system, though on the rebound, is still in pretty rough shape after being annually abused by Jim Hendry and his mediocre scouting team.  It’s worth noting that e might not even rank in the top-20 or top-25 on a club (like the Rays or Blue Jays) that has a deep, productive farm system.  Furthermore, 26 year old relief pitchers typically aren’t valued highly by prospect mavens on the account of their limited future value.  I’m not saying these things to tear down Carpenter.  He could very well be an important piece to the bullpen puzzle.  Instead, I’m trying to put his value and potential into perspective.

Like most pitchers, Carpenter began his professional career as a starting pitcher.  He had a great deal of success limiting runs in the lower levels of the minors, often relying on his natural talents.  Upon reaching AA and AAA, he couldn’t rely quite as much on his stuff to get by, and command issues became a problem.  As a result, he started allowing base runners at a much higher rate; thereby creating a potentially challenging environment for him as he progressed toward the majors.  Prior to the 2011 season, the Cubs converted him to a reliever and moved him to the bullpen.  Despite struggling in AAA to start the season, the Cubs promoted him to the big club in June.  He made his major league debut on June 14th and pitched in 10 games, producing a 2.79 ERA in 9-2/3 innings.  Despite an eye pleasing ERA, his FIP was 4.89, and he allowed 19 baserunners, including seven via the walk.  Needless to say, his performance was somewhat of a mirage.  He was demoted at the All-Star break, and finished his season in AAA.

According to Texas Leaguers, Carpenter primarily throws a four-seamer (FF) and slider (SL); although I’ve heard he also throws (or threw) a straight change (CH).  His four-seamer lacks movement, but he gets a nice downward plane giving it a natural sink.  He throws his FF for strikes (63.7%), induces a fair number of whiffs (8.9%), and has plus velocity that rides in the 95-97 MPH range.  (Typical small sample warnings apply.)  He throws a hard slider that gets a lot of movement and dips out of the zone.  He doesn’t have the kind of command with his SL that you’d typically like to see, but when it’s on; it can be devestating.  Serving as his primary out pitch, he generated whiffs 16.3% of the time in limited MLB action.  While he didn’t throw his change-up at all during his major league stint, everything I’ve read has classified it as “fringy” or “mediocre” at best.  He may not need to develop a reliable third pitch as a reliever (especially if his FF and SL improve), but a change-up would go a long way toward neutralizing left-handed hitters.

Since Carpenter has minor league options remaining, it’s possible (or perhaps, even likely) he’ll be stashed away at AAA Pawtucket to start the season.  As a power arm out of the bullpen, he could prove to be an asset down the stretch in case injuries and/or performance by other arms in the bullpen pile up.

At least now, we can rest easy.  Our long national nightmare is over.  We no longer have to hear the Boston media whine about the compensation issue not being settled.  Instead, they’ll complain about how long the process took to complete, and how little they got in return for Epstein.  As far as I’m concerned it’s time close the book, turn out the lights, and start looking for the next crisis.  It’s what they do best.

Categories: Boston Red Sox Chris Carpenter

After being slapped with a restraining order for stealing Nick Cafardo's mail, I was forced into retirement for a brief period of time. As fun as it was to lounge around the community pool and play shuffleboard with noted internet columnist, Murray Chass, I quickly felt a yearning to write again. Now in my second tenure with Fire Brand, I have set lofty goals of achieving world domination, ending the plight of the hipsters, and becoming BFFs with Mike Trout. I am fluent in two languages (Sarcasm and English, in that order); have an intimate relationship with M&Ms; firmly believe that Lucille is the best character on Arrested Development; and spend my spare time trolling select members of the Boston media. You can follow me on Twitter @Chip_Buck.

12 Responses to “The Long National Nightmare is Over” Subscribe

  1. Shaughnessy February 22, 2012 at 11:43 AM #

    You hurt my feelings… 8-(

  2. marcos February 22, 2012 at 1:56 PM #

    At least they got a player with MLB experience and a plus plus arm. That's better than a lottery ticket.

  3. ChipBuck February 22, 2012 at 3:41 PM #

    I have a feeling one of my friends is trolling me…

  4. Walt in Maryland February 22, 2012 at 4:30 PM #

    One part of this story that hasn't been discussed enough is that the Sox owners could have kept Theo if they wanted to. He still had a year left on on his contract, and they could have made him honor it.

    A year from now, they probably would have had to promote him to keep him from leaving, but that could have been done too.

    The bottom line, I'm convinced, is that the owners were ready to let Theo go rather than giving him a greater say in running the franchise. Lucchino, in particular, was happy to see him go, I believe.

    • JohnSilver February 22, 2012 at 6:34 PM #

      They could have also kicked him down a notch.. left Epstein with an empty title and Cherrington in charge.

      This shows the Ricketts promise of significant compensation was easily voided once Epstein took over in Chicago also.

      • ChipBuck February 22, 2012 at 7:44 PM #

        Significant compensation meant non-monetary. That is it. Getting a member off of the Cubs 40-man roster was significant. It may not have been Matt Garza, Starlin Castro, etc., but those were pipe dream options created by the media and fans. Those options weren't rooted in reality. Furthermore, the compensation for Theo is comparable to other similar precedents.

    • ChipBuck February 22, 2012 at 7:42 PM #

      I couldn't disagree more. Theo seemed ready to leave, and I think he would have resigned and sat out the year rather than finish out his contract. Would you really want to keep someone around that didn't want to be around? I wouldn't. Furthermore, it's a well known standard industry practice to allow executives to leave (without hindrance) for position in another organization provided it's for a promotion, which Theo's new position was. The Cubs president job happened to be the perfect job at the perfect time. It gave him a chance to go somewhere new to tackle new challenges. This what driven people do. I don't understand why people feel the need to believe/create conspiracy theories rather than assume the most reasonable and obvious scenario.

  5. Joe Aiello February 23, 2012 at 1:19 PM #

    I don't know that I agree on the reason the farm system for the Cubs is somewhat lacking. Keep in mine we had to give up some talent to bring Matt Garza in. Add Chris Archer and Hak Ju Lee to our system and it looks a lot nicer.

    • ChipBuck February 23, 2012 at 3:55 PM #

      Absolutely it does, but that trade was over a year ago. The Red Sox could say the same about their farm system prior to the A-Gon trade as Kelly and Rizzo were in everyone's top 100 (and most top 50s). The problem is that we don't live in the past, we live in the present. Making those kinds of statements are "what ifs." I have full confidence that both teams can rebuild their systems. The Cubs are in capable hands with Theo and Jed, and I'm very comfortable with Ben guiding the Red Sox. It's going to take some time though.

  6. Evan February 23, 2012 at 9:52 PM #

    Isn't there another player to be named later also in this debacle? I'm positive I read that somewhere. And in saying that who is he? When is he getting here? Is he the Cardinal's Chris Carpenter? Why isn't the Boston media talking about this? And most importantly is there anyway to trash Josh Beckett about it? I bet Callahan could find a way.

    • ChipBuck February 24, 2012 at 7:50 AM #

      The PTBNL is actually going to the Cubs, but it's more of a procedural thing in order to follow MLB transaction rules. The PTBNL is actually Theo.

      The Boston media always finds new ways to trash the Red Sox. Dan Shaughnessy has made a career out of it.

      • Evan March 2, 2012 at 11:03 PM #

        That's extremely misleading and somewhat upsetting but we wouldn't have received anyone that would be a big difference maker anyway. Nesn.com just had a mail bag and mentioned the player to be named also but they said its going to be a player we receive so you might have to pass this info along to Didier Morais. Also Shaugnessy writes crap I'm glad I get the herald over the globe because I'm assuming Beckett plays the anti Christ part in all his columns even after a good season. Thanks for the reply.