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.

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

John Lackey struggles as Cubs drop series finale to Reds

CINCINNATI — With his high leg kick and below-the-radar breaking balls, Bronson Arroyo showed the Cubs a little old-style pitching. Who needs to throw 90 mph to beat the World Series champions?

The 40-year-old righty gave his best performance yet in his long comeback from elbow problems, pitching three-hit ball over six innings on Sunday, and the Cincinnati Reds salvaged a 7-5 victory . Arroyo worked fast, varied the angles of his deliveries, and kept `em guessing with his minimalist pitches.

"I'm happy for him, to see him back up," Chicago catcher Miguel Montero said. "He's a tough pitcher to face. Obviously he's throwing below hitting speed right now."

Arroyo (2-2) needed more than two years to recover from Tommy John surgery. The Reds gave him what amounted to a final chance this spring, and he's back to fooling `em with his unusual repertoire. Jon Jay saw pitches of 67, 74, 83, 75 and 70 mph during one at-bat.

"I don't want to say I had pinpoint control, but I was throwing the breaking ball down and out where it was almost impossible to hit," Arroyo said. "They knew where I was going, but I still had enough late movement to surprise them."

Arroyo allowed Anthony Rizzo's two-run homer - his third of the series - and struck out seven batters for the first time since May 13, 2014.

"This was the first time he looked like the Bronson of his first time through here," manager Bryan Price said, referring to Arroyo's 2006-13 stay in Cincinnati.

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Raisesl Iglesias gave up a pair of runs in the ninth before finishing off the Reds' 3-7 homestand.

Patrick Kivlehan's bases-loaded double highlighted a four-run sixth inning off John Lackey (1-3) and decided a matchup of up-in-years starters. The 38-year-old Lackey and Arroyo have combined for 793 starts in the majors.

Despite the loss, the defending champs took two of three in the series and moved back into first place in the NL Central. No surprise that it happened in Cincinnati - the Cubs have won 17 of their last 22 at Great American Ball Park. They've taken 20 of their last 25 overall against the Reds.

"I have nothing to complain about," manager Joe Maddon said.

Rizzo extended his hitting streak to 12 games - matching his career high - with his two-run homer in the fourth inning. His three-run shot with two outs in the ninth helped the Cubs rally for a 6-5, 11-inning victory in the series opener. He had another three-run homer during a 12-8 win on Saturday.

The Cubs have homered in their last 15 games at Great American. They hit seven in all during the series.

Cubs offense explodes with three home runs in victory over Reds

Cubs offense explodes with three home runs in victory over Reds

CINCINNATI — After a sputtering start, the Cubs' offense is finally rolling. And it's no surprise that they're breaking out at Great American Ball Park, a place that's just their style.

Wilson Contreras hit his first career grand slam and Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward added three-run shots on Saturday, powering Chicago to a 12-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Jake Arrieta (3-0) returned to the mound where he threw his second career no-hitter last April 21 and struggled mightily at the outset, giving up two homers in the first inning. Chicago's offense pulled him through with another homer-filled game at Great American Ball Park. Arrieta helped with an RBI triple.

"We've been making the most of them the last few games," Heyward said of the big hits.

The Cubs have won 20 of their last 24 games against the Reds, including 17 of 21 at Great American. The Cubs have homered in each of their last 14 games in Cincinnati, which suits their power-laden lineup.

"We've had some hiccups, but we've been picked up by our offense," said Arrieta, who gave up five runs in six innings. "As starting pitchers, we have to take advantage of our offense."

In the series opener, Rizzo's three-run homer tied it with two outs in the ninth and set up a 6-5 win in 11 innings. He connected in the first inning on Saturday against left-hander Cody Reed (1-1), who was moved into the Reds' injury-depleted rotation. Contreras hit his grand slam in the second, which was Reed's final inning.

"We score, what, nine runs and we lose? That's tough," Reed said.

Heyward's second homer in two days made it 11-5 in the sixth. The Cubs hit 42 homers against Cincinnati last season, the most by any Reds' opponent in their history. Chicago has six homers in the first two games of the series.

Arrieta was pitching on six days' rest. He needed 53 pitches to get through the first two innings. Joey Votto hit a three-run homer in the first - he drove in five runs overall - and Eugenio Suarez followed with a solo shot.

"I feel like I did my job after that first inning or so," said Arrieta, who struck out eight and didn't walk a batter. "After that, you want to protect the lead and get as deep into the game as you can."

Arrieta knocked in a run with his fourth career triple , a drive to right field that Scooter Gennett misplayed and missed as he tried to make a diving catch on the warning track.