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It seems like just yesterday Theo Epstein was the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox. Then a small event in September happened. Before you knew it he was with the Chicago Cubs, a team which would pay some type of compensation for hiring an executive away while under contract. During the winter visions of Matt Garza, Brett Jackson, and getting rid of John Lackey were dancing in the heads of Boston fans and media alike. But the wait is over: today the Red Sox acquired right-handed pitcher Chris Carpenter (no, not that one) from the Chicago Cubs.
Fitting the length of the negotiations, the deal is not quite that simple. In addition to Carpenter, the Red Sox will also acquire a player to be named later, and will send a PTBNL of their own to the Cubs. These players are unlikely to be of significant value, but role players and depth are be important to any organization.
Carpenter is a tall, hard-throwing, righty. The 26 year old was drafted by the Cubs in the thrid round of the 2008 draft, one pick after current Braves closer Craig Kimbrel. and several picks ahead of former Red Sox farmhand Kyle Weiland. Among the harder throwers in the game, Carpenter has topped 100 mph at times.
Injuries have slowed Carpenter’s progress through the minors and the Cubs had shifted him to the bullpen with an eye on keeping him healthy. When he is on the mound things are not entirely rosy; while he owns a career minor league ERA of 3.62, Carpenter has walked 4.2 batters per nine innings, including 23 walks in 30 AAA innings in 2011. In his first sample of major league baseball the former Cub walked 7 and struck out 8 over 9.2 innings out of the pen.
While Carpenter is not close to the type of compensation some had been hoping for, live arms with the ability to top 100 mph can make breakthroughs. If the Red Sox see something in his mechanics that could be tweaked to improve his control, he just might find a home in a bullpen down the road. Maybe even in Boston as Bobby Jenks, recovering from injuries of his own, was placed on the 60-day DL to free a spot on the 40-man roster for the new arrival.