Red Sox’ Chris Carpenter Could End Up a Bust But Aaron Kurcz Has Potential


The Red Sox got news that every team dreads this past week when relief pitcher Chris Carpenter was diagnosed with bone spurs in his pitching elbow, prompting surgery to correct the problem. An elbow injury for a pitcher is alarming in any circumstance but even more so when said pitcher was the main part of a compensation deal that allowed your General Manager to jump ship with a year remaining on his contract. The injury to Chris Carpenter has sparked debate amongst Red Sox fans, writers and other media as to whether the Cubs were aware of the injury when they sent Carpenter to the Sox. There has even been speculation that the injury could bring the two teams back to the table to restructure the compensation deal, a proposition that Cubs GM Jed Hoyer promptly turned down in a recent interview.

The Boston Herald reported yesterday that Ben Cherington and the Cubs have talked but there is nothing to comment on, this is what Larry Lucchino said.

"Ben Cherington has had some discussions with the Cubs exploring this issue, but there is to comment on beyond that right now"

Sounds encouraging right? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

Its becoming pretty clear that the Red Sox will have to take this one with a grain of salt and hopefully learn from their mistake of letting Epstein leave before a deal was made, all but eliminating any leverage they had in the situation.

There is another part of the deal that has been overlooked by most, the player to be named later, Aaron Kurcz. The young righty alone hardly equates to “significant compensation” but in the long run there’s a chance that he ends up the better part of the deal for the Red Sox, especially if Chris Carpenter has complications or fizzles out after his surgery.

Aaron Kurcz was drafted by the Cubs in the 11th round of the 2010 First Year Player Draft and made his professional debut the same year in the Cubs organization. Just 19 at the time, Kurcz pitched to a 1.98 combined ERA in 27 1/3 innings between Low A and rookie ball. His K/BB ratio was well over 4-1 with 48 K to just 11 BB which amounted to a 15.8 K/9.

Numbers Combined Rk/A Ball: 27 1/3 IP, 2-1, 1.98 ERA, 11 BB, 48 K, .951 WHIP, 15.8 K/BB, 4.36 K/BB

Those numbers came in a fairly small sample size of just 27 1/3 innings but in 2011 Kurcz was able to rack up 82 1/3 innings with very respectable numbers in High-A ball.

Numbers in A+ Daytona: 82 1/3 IP, 5-4, 3.28 ERA, 34 BB, 91 K, 1.227 WHIP, 9.9 K/9, 2.68 K/BB

As you can see his strikeout numbers obviously came down and his ERA went up in a larger sample size but these are still promising stats from a 21 year old pitcher. The real challenge will come when Kurcz advances to Double A, which could come this season. If he can continue to progress through the minor leagues, there’s a chance he could see the bigs around 2015. Whether that’s with Boston or not remains to be seen.

Here’s the Scouting Report from

So the point is the Red Sox may not have gotten what they wanted for Theo Epstein but if Aaron Kurcz can make an impact somewhere down the road I’d be satisfied with the deal. After all, were we really that upset to see Theo walk? I agree the compensation could have better but if Aaron Kurcz has success with the Sox in the future I’ll be happy to let go of this grudge.

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