Did Theo Epstein Pull the Wool Over Ben Cherington?
Let the debate begin. Did the Boston Red Sox receive adequate compensation for the boy wonder, Theo Epstein? This was after all the same boy wonder who brought two titles to a city and a fan base that had been tortured, tormented, laughed at and tortured again for over eight decades of baseball. Surely that has to stand for something.
On the other hand this is the same GM who spent millions of dollars on players who never lived up to their worth or have yet to show they’re worth half of their salary. Players like John Lackey and potentially Carl Crawford are still eminent of those decisions made by Epstein and as a result the new regime is struggling to find enough pennies to spend on legitimate starting pitchers. Rather we’re left with what my colleague Dan Corrado so brilliantly called “a bunch of crumpled up lottery tickets.”
So what is Epstein worth? Well according to himself and Ben Cherington, they mutually agree that he’s worth one Chris Carpenter and a player-to-be-named later. Don’t hold your breath Sox fans, that player later won’t be Starlin Castro, Matt Garza or Brett Jackson. No, rather it will be a single A player who can hit the ball, but only if he’s sitting on fastball because he can’t pick up the off speed stuff. In other words it’ll be someone who may never reach the AA level and will wither away after kicking around the lowest level of the minor leagues for four or five years.
That leaves Carpenter. Sources say he has ‘tremendous upside’ with a fastball that hit over 100 mph on the radar gun last season. While control and command are an issue at the present time, the 6-foot-4, 26-year old is labeled as a power arm, despite having Tommy John Surgery in 2005. He’s a reliever type arm and when fully developed appears to be best used as a set up man.
The Cubs were able to part ways with a prospect who was not on their top 10 list, despite an already shallow prospect pool. Theo Epstein will bring more value to the Cubs in the next five years than Carpenter would in twenty years with the Red Sox (not that he’ll last that long).
The decision didn’t come from Bud Selig simply because Theo and Ben were finally able to agree on something. Trey McNutt was rumored to be on the Sox radar and quite likely could have wound up coming to Boston had Bud Selig been forced to make the decision.
Why did Ben cave at this settlement? Did Theo use his boyish charm and fancy words to pressure his prodigy into believing he’s not worth as much as everyone else was telling him he was?
Ben should have let the commissioner decide this one. The clubs had already presented a list of who they felt was reasonable compensation. All of this after countless hours of trying to settle it themselves, only to no avail. Then suddenly the two sides can agree to something that doesn’t appear to amount to a whole lot other than a guy who may see 30 innings in the majors this season.
Personally, I think Ben got hosed on this one. It was in the commissioners hands, it should have stayed there.
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