Cubs send Kurcz to Red Sox as part of Epstein compensation

572794.jpg

Cubs send Kurcz to Red Sox as part of Epstein compensation

MESA, Ariz. All the top Cubs executives are here, with a Ricketts family board meeting on Thursdays agenda.

Theyve been watching games from an open-air box high above home plate. Chairman Tom Ricketts has been seen shaking hands and taking pictures with fans.

From ownership on down, theres said to be a new energy around the organization, and almost all of it can be traced back to the Theo Epstein hire. You probably cant put a price on that.

But the Cubs had to settle on compensation with the Boston Red Sox for getting Epstein out of the final year of his contract. The president of baseball operations got a bigger job and a better title.

Some five months later, the Red Sox got another prospect, 21-year-old right-hander Aaron Kurcz. A 10th-round pick in the 2010 draft, Kurcz spent last season mostly as a reliever at Class-A Daytona, where overall he went 5-4 with a 3.28 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 82.1 innings.

Chris Carpenter a 26-year-old reliever who can throw around 100 mph and made his big-league debut last season already became the answer to a trivia question as the first player sent to the Red Sox camp as compensation.

The final piece left to the Epstein compensation puzzle is the prospect the Red Sox will send to the Cubs. Major League Baseball procedure forced the Cubs to structure this as a trade and not just giving away two prospects for a general manager who helped build two World Series winners.

The compensation for general manager Jed Hoyer and senior vice president Jason McLeod the two executives Epstein lured to the North Side from the San Diego Padres is said to not have a resolution yet.

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

Yoan Moncada 'relieved' to get first White Sox hit out of way

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yoan Moncada can’t complain much about his first hit with the White Sox.

Given all the elements, it rates about a 9 1/ 2 out of 10. Only a homer would have been better.

Baseball’s top prospect continues to look comfortable at the plate and in the field. Two days after he made his team debut, Moncada earned his first hit when he ripped a two-out, bases-loaded triple early in Friday night’s 7-6 loss to the Kansas City Royals. Moncada finished 1-for-4 with four RBIs.

“Once I got that first hit, I felt relieved,” Moncada said through an interpreter. “First, because it was the first one. And second because of the situation. It was a three RBIs triple. It was a very big moment of the game. I think that from now on I’m going to feel more relaxed and comfortable.”

Moncada has put together a series of good plate appearances in his first two games. He’s looked at ease while in the box and hasn’t panicked even when he gets behind in the count. Moncada said he felt even more comfortable when he stepped in to face Royals starter Ian Kennedy in the third inning. Not only was it his second time facing Kennedy, but Moncada sat in the on-deck circle as Matt Davidson drew a 10-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs.

Hitting left-handed, Moncada fell behind 0-2 in the count but Kennedy hung a 78-mph knuckle curve and the rookie lined it deep into the left-center field gap to clear the bases. Moncada not only showed his power, he also showed off his wheels: his 11.24 seconds from home to third was the fastest time by a White Sox player this season, according to MLB Statcast.

“He's seeing the ball,” manager Rick Renteria said. “He seems pretty calm, composed out there. It's just a couple of days, but in terms of how he's carrying himself, his body language, he seems to be transitioning pretty well up to this point, first couple of days.”

Moncada said Friday was much calmer than his Wednesday debut against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he drew a walk and went 0-for-2. The switch-hitting second baseman had an RBI groundout in his first at-bat Friday to give the White Sox a 1-0 lead. Then he stood in and tracked Kennedy with Davidson at the plate.

All in all, Moncada’s happy with how he’s executed his plan at the plate thus far. He said he choked up on the 0-2 pitch and put a good swing on it.

“That at-bat gave me more time to see in real life his pitches,” Moncada said. “I’ve been feeling very comfortable. In Chicago, that first game, it was a little bit nervous. But overall I feel very comfortable hitting and with my defense.”

Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez rings NASDAQ closing bell

nrod.jpg
Chicago Fire

Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez rings NASDAQ closing bell

As part of the hype for the MLS All-Star Game, Fire general manager Nelson Rodriguez and a handful of Major League Soccer cohorts made a trip to New York on Friday.

Rodriguez rang NASDAQ's closing bell. The MLS All-Star Game will take place at Soldier Field on Aug. 2.

Check out the photos from the occasion.