MESA, Ariz. _ Some players were breathing a little easier Tuesday in Cubs camp. Among those able to exhale was pitching prospect Trey McNutt. It was relief prospect Chris Carpenter, and not McNutt, who was traded to the Boston Red Sox as compensation for the Cubs being able to hire Theo Epstein away from the Red Sox to be the Cubs’ president of baseball operations.
“There were a lot of names going around: (Josh) Vitters and Brett Jackson, (Matt) Garza…a ton of names thrown out there,” McNutt said. “The Red Sox did good getting him (Carpenter). He’s going to be a real good one.”
McNutt went 10-1 in 2010 at three minor-league stops before going 5-6 with a 4.55 ERA last year at Class AA Tennessee. Nagging injuries, including recurring blister problems, made it a start-and-stop 2011 for McNutt. Still, he knew his name was out there amid the Epstein compensation rumors.
“My agent was telling me to just kind of wait it out,” McNutt said.
McNutt and Carpenter lived together in Arizona during the off-season, and the two came in together Tuesday.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “We lived together last spring. We became pretty good friends, always working with each other, working hard this whole off-season to make this team, which now I guess (Carpenter) will be working hard down in Ft. Myers trying to make that team.”
The Cubs sent Carpenter and a player to be named later to Boston in exchange for a player to be named later. The deal had to be worked out as a player trade and not a trade of an executive for a player. The players to be named later should be known by April 15. The compensation the Cubs owe to San Diego for GM Jed Hoyer should be resolved sometime this spring, but it’s not expected to be the caliber of player as Carpenter.
“Don’t even bring that up,” McNutt said, joking.
Cubs manager Dale Sveum said it hurt to give up Carpenter.
“It finally came to closure,” Sveum said. “Unfortunately, we lost a great arm in Chris. Fortunately for him, it came to a team that wanted him really, really bad. I think he will fall into some competition over there, too, to make the team as well as he had here. He gets to go to a great organization and a great city too. So he leaves one great place and gets to go to another one too. That's not a bad time to be traded for the first time.”
Position players report Thursday and work out formally for the first time Friday. However, as we’ve been reporting, many position players already are in camp. One interesting batting-practice grouping Tuesday had prospects Vitters, Jackson and outfielder Matt Szczur in the same hitting group.