Cubs, Red Sox finally put a price on Epstein

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Cubs, Red Sox finally put a price on Epstein

MESA, Ariz. Theo Epstein joked that it was some sort of existential question: What am I really worth?

The answer finally came on Tuesday (sort of), with the Cubs sending pitcher Chris Carpenter and a player to be named later to the Boston Red Sox. Some four months later, these two iconic franchises resolved the compensation issue without Bud Selig having to make the final decision.

The commissioners office applied pressure, and received briefs from both sides, but ultimately didnt have to rule on the value of Epstein escaping the final year of his contract to become the Cubs president of baseball operations.

After laying out roughly 20 million for the rock star executive, the Cubs will also get a player to be named later to complete the transaction (per Major League Baseball procedure). The unidentified players have already been agreed upon and should be revealed by April 15.

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said cash was not included in the deal. The 26-year-old Carpenter would have competed for one of the final spots in the bullpen.

We all realized we were going to lose something of significant value when Theo came over here, Hoyer said. This doesnt change that. I hope Chris has a lot of success over there. Obviously, the Cubs are really excited about the new management team with Theo leading it, so there was a price to be paid for that. (We) all felt like that was fair.

This should clear the path for finalizing compensation with the San Diego Padres. Sometime during spring training, the Cubs are expected to give up one prospect not on the 40-man roster for Hoyer and scouting executive Jason McLeod.

Epstein, who was not available for comment, released a statement that said hes relieved the process is over.

More than anything, I'm excited that we can all move forward and focus exclusively on getting ready for the season, Epstein said. I wish Chris and the Red Sox nothing but the best in 2012 and beyond.

It got to this point, sources said, because the Cubs worked backwards. Chairman Tom Ricketts and team president Crane Kenney secured the deal with Epstein before settling on compensation with the Red Sox.

Late last season, the White Sox and Florida Marlins agreed on a framework of two prospects before Ozzie Guillen could negotiate a new contract. The Cubs would have to deal with Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, whos known as a brilliant and ruthless negotiator.

But there really werent many other reference points outside of the Class-A pitcher named Hector Trinidad the Cubs once gave the Minnesota Twins for Andy MacPhail, another executive who built two World Series winners.

So the Red Sox felt like they could start out sky high last October, asking for something like Matt Garza or Starlin Castro before looking at top-level prospects. Brett Jackson joked that he hoped it wasnt Josh Vitters because Jackson is crashing at Vitters place this spring.

Its part of being a professional athlete, Jackson said. You can be traded at any time. I try to not let it get too much in my head. I have friends that are Red Sox fans and they, of course, were chirping in my ear a little bit. But Theos an incredible general manager and they deserve someone great for him.

Id love to be a Cub forever. I love the city of Chicago and I love the atmosphere around here right now with all the changes.

The Cubs and Red Sox spent most of the offseason rearranging their front offices, finding new managers and reshaping their rosters. Epstein, Kenney and general counsel Mike Lufrano wrote the brief filed to Seligs office.

Ben Cherington, Epsteins replacement in Boston, joked that the compensation issue was like cleaning out the garage, because you just want to keep putting it off. Cheringtons assistant general managers, Mike Hazen and Brian O'Halloran, also worked on the lists of prospects.

Not to say this wasnt a priority, (but) the two teams were more focused on the on-field things, Hoyer said. It probably took a little bit of time because of the lack of precedent, but it certainly wasnt because of any kind of animosity. We were actually looking at the people on the e-mails involved last night and were all really good friends.

Epstein insisted that he wasnt worth that much, because hell never throw a single pitch or take one at-bat in a Cubs uniform. Red Sox Nation invades Wrigley Field on June 15-17 for what should be a memorable weekend. Wouldnt it be something to see Carpenter running in from the bullpen?

It finally came to closure, Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. Unfortunately, we lost a great arm in Chris. Fortunately for him, (this is) a team that wanted him really, really bad. (He) leaves one great place and gets to go to another one.

CSN will air six Cubs spring training games in 2017

CSN will air six Cubs spring training games in 2017

Cubs fans will get to see 10 spring training games on TV in 2017 as they begin their World Series title defense, including six contests on CSN.

The Cubs released their spring broadcast schedule Monday afternoon, featuring 10 games on TV, 10 on the radio on 670 The Score and then 27 internet radio broadcasts on Cubs.com.

Len Kasper and Mick Gillispie will be the broadcasters for Cubs.com games while Kasper and Jim Deshaies will serve as the announcers for all TV contests.

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Here are all six of CSN's broadcasts (all game times in Mountain Time Zone): 

—Wednesday, March 15 (7:05 p.m.) vs. Diamondbacks
—Sunday, March 19 (7:05 p.m.) vs. Royals
—Wednesday, March 22 (6:05 p.m.) vs. Reds
—Saturday, March 25 (1:05 p.m. PT) vs. Reds
—Tuesday, March 28 (1:05 p.m.) vs. Giants
—Friday, March 31 (1:10 p.m. CT) vs. Astros

Here's the complete Cubs spring schedule:

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Cubs' Carl Edwards Jr. looks to follow in Mariano Rivera's footsteps

Carl Edwards Jr. couldn't dream up a better pitcher to try to emulate than Mariano Rivera.

Not for a young right-hander who is still getting used to being a reliever with a cutter as his bread and butter pitch.

After picking up his first career save late in 2016, Edwards mentioned how he has been watching video of Rivera. At the Cubs Convention earlier this month, Edwards name-dropped Rivera again in response to a fan question and went into more detail with exactly what he's aiming to accomplish by watching Rivera tape.

Let's be clear: Mariano Rivera is inimitable. He's a once-in-a-lifetime talent and there almost assuredly will never be a better closer in Major League Baseball.

But Edwards knows that. 

"He's great. He's a Hall of Famer," Edwards said. "He goes out there like he has the world in the palm of his hand. He's very competitive; I've never seen him back down. That's one [takeaway] for myself — I'm gonna go out and never back down.

"I don't really get into trying to be like him. I just look more into how he goes about his business. That's something that I can control — how I go about my business."

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Cubs coach Mike Borzello was there with Rivera in 1997 when the now-legendary cutter was born.

It's not fair to compare Edwards' cutter to one of the greatest pitches ever, but his version is pretty nasty in its own right:

The Cubs are still searching for long-term answers in the rotation, but don't have any intentions of moving Edwards back to a role as a starter.

Like Edwards, Rivera began his career as a starting pitcher coming up through the Yankees system. But Edwards actually has a leg up on baseball's all time saves leader: Edwards' first save came in his age 24 season while Rivera didn't tally his first save until age 26 in New York.

Edwards also struck out 13 batters per nine innings in 2016 while Rivera never posted eye-popping whiff totals (a career 8.2 K/9 rate).

As Edwards gets set for what he and the Cubs hope will be his first full season in the big leagues in 2017, his maturation will be important in an age of baseball where relief pitchers have never been more valued.

Rivera pitched in the playoffs nearly every year, routinely working more than one inning and posting ridiculous postseason numbers: 0.70 ERA, 0.759 WHIP and 42 saves while taking home the World Series MVP in 1999 and ALCS MVP in 2003.

The Cubs hope Edwards will be pitching in the postseason on a regular basis, too.

For now, the 25-year-old is still reveling in the glory following the 2016 Cubs championship.

He served as honorary drummer at the Carolina Panthers game in November.

"That was pretty amazing. That's a highlight of my offseason," Edwards said.

He grew up as a Pittsburgh Steelers fan despite being a South Carolina native, but Edwards said he did get a pair of Cam Newton cleats to wear for 2017 when he and Cubs teammates like Addison Russell or Matt Szczur throw the football around in the outfield to get loose.

Edwards was also blown away by the reception from Cubs fans at the Convention — "This is my third year and every year as been better" — but still hasn't fully wrapped his mind around the ending of the 108-year drought.

"Everything happened so quick," he said. "Hopefully in the next couple weeks when I have a break, I can sit down and soak it all in."