That’s right, Boston fans. The Red Sox demanded Matt Garza for Theo Epstein, and the Cubs balked at that offer. The Sox also were rumored to be trying to get Brett Jackson, but it appears for now that he’s off-limits. Who can blame the Sox for trying either? As mentioned in my previous article, Brett Jackson to me represents more than just another quality outfielder–adding him would set up some interesting negotiations for Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Sox have also shown interest in Josh Vitters and Matt Szczur, not surprisingly, as these are two more of the Cubs top 5, but the Cubs seem unlikely to move either at the moment. So the Sox have their sights set on 22-year-old Trey McNutt, currently sitting in AA with the Cubs, and this season wasn’t his best. He posted a 5-6 record averaging a little over 6 strikeouts per 9, and 3.5 walks per 9, en route to a 1.67 WHIP. McNutt is still one of the most promising arms in the Cubs system though, and I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing–they gave up Chris Archer to the Rays in the Garza deal, and he was one of the only “stud” pitchers at the time. As I previously noted, McNutt features a fastball, a curveball/slider combination, and a changeup, although I read that his changeup needs some work.
McNutt wouldn’t be a horrible tradeoff for Theo, but I’d like to see them add some smaller prospects as well. If they could pull off McNutt and Vitters, I’d be pretty excited as a Sox fan. The Sox hold the cards here, since if a deal doesn’t get done, they can just retain Theo and the Cubs will have a PR nightmare on their hands, whereas Theo has been occupying his office doing Red Sox-related work even through this compensation negotiation, prolonging Ben Cherington’s ascent to General Manager (for the second time). There seems to be a rush to get this done before the World Series, as MLB discourages any announcements during their biggest stage, but everything I read all weekend didn’t look promising that we’d get resolution by Wednesday. Time will tell!