Is compensation for Theo Epstein's departure back on? Depends on who you ask. The Cubs say no, according to Paul Sullivan. As Nick Cafardo mentioned Thursday, it's not clear the Red Sox have much of a case to claim things aren't over. Chris Carpenter's medical records suggested he was good to go when he got to Boston, and if that's true, then he wasn't damaged goods at the time of the transaction.
We're not going to get very far debating whether or not the Red Sox and Cubs can or will reopen compensation negotiations, as none of us even know the severity of Carpenter's elbow problem. We do know his surgery went off without a hitch, and from the man himself, but unless his surgeon is on Twitter, we can't just ask where on his elbow the bone spurs were. (And even if his surgeon were on Twitter, HIPAA Laws keep them from telling us whether the bone spur was on the inner or outer part of his elbow.)
Until we know that from reports, it's hard to tell if Carpenter is going to be out for a while with future worries, or just out until he's back, and then ready to go from there. Or whether or not he'll be on the Red Sox at all by then. (Great, now I'm doing it.)
*Was the old agent not going to be able to get enough money on his next deal? Oh, no... is Jon Lester planning to leave the Red Sox?! Scott Boras isn't involved, and Jeff Moorad has moved on to failing to be the Padres' owner, so we can all relax for now.
Lester's previous agent, Josh Yates, left SFX for ACES recently. There's no word of whether Lester is going back to Yates, but it would make a lot of sense. Lester is under contract through 2013 at a cost of $19.25 million, and has a $13 million club option for 2014. Even if this was a step towards a shiny, new contract, it won't come up for a few more years.
Have you wondered how the Red Sox make decisions when they have President Larry Lucchino, new general manager Ben Cherington, and forceful personality Bobby Valentine in the dugout? According to Rob Bradford, it's a lot like they made decisions when Theo Epstein and Terry Francona were around. Lucchino, in his role, has to approve decisions, but it seems to be the same kind of formality it always was when Epstein was around:
"The process is really exactly the same when Theo was here," Cherington said. "If we want to do something, we present it, make the arguments. I don't remember ever when Theo was here where after some back and forth, and after discussion that if Theo felt that strongly about something he wasn't empowered to do it, and that's been the same case with me months into the job.
The baseball people make the baseball decisions, but they have non-baseball bosses. Those bosses have to sign off on the decisions. It's a normal process to imagine, even for those who like to picture Lucchino with a set of horns and a tail, and access to mind control code words he uses on Cherington before the poor guy can talk to WEEI. We're pulling for you, Ben! Be strong.
Let's not forget for all the supposed meddling of Lucchino over the years, the team has two championships with him around, and the third-best record in baseball since their last one. We're all a little insane about the results of the team, and things got a little out of hand this winter during the highly-publicized transitional state, but it's fair to take a wait-and-see approach with this new regime before we organize the next anti-Larry mob.
Why is there such a strong anti-executive sentiment in this town sometimes? Our problem is that we don't have any real executives to complain about, so we have to create demons out of capable people. Next time you feel down about someone in the Red Sox hierarchy, do a quick Google search for the first few months of Dan Duquette's regime in Baltimore (or the man who hired him), or take a look at the condition Ed Wade was forced to leave the Astros in, thanks to years of real, old-fashioned owner meddling in Houston, or maybe take a gander at what Frank McCourt did to Los Angeles in the last decade. We won't even ask you to publicly apologize to Lucchino once you do.
Aaron Cook is going to start for the Red Sox. No, that's not an announcement about who one of the fourth or fifth starters is, but Bobby Valentine did mention that they're going to keep Cook on track as a starter while he's in the minors:
"He has some situations that they tell me about, and it would be best served for him at the beginning of the season if he stays on line [in the rotation]," said Valentine.
He won't be ready at the beginning of the year -- giving the Red Sox more time to see whoever out of Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves, and Felix Doubront as starters -- but the plan is to keep him and his groundball tendencies in a rotation for the future. If he's healthy, then this is an easy decision for Boston to make.