Already having picked up Chris Carpenter, the Red Sox have now acquired fellow right-hander Aaron Kurcz from the Cubs as the player to be named in the Theo Epstein compensation package.
This comes almost five months after Epstein left the Red Sox to become the Cubs’ president of baseball operations. The Red Sox still owe the Cubs a player as part of the deal.
Kurcz, 21, was an 11th-round pick in the 2010 draft. He spent the entire 2011 season at high-A Daytona, finishing with a 3.28 ERA and a 91/34 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings. Initially strictly a reliever, he made 12 starts last season with fine results. Still, he didn’t rate a mention in Baseball America’s top 30 Cubs prospects.
Kurcz figures to open this season in Double-A, though whether he’ll be a starter or a reliever is unclear. Carpenter is likely to start off in the bullpen at Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Nationals have acquired left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski and cash considerations from the A’s in exchange for minor league infielder Max Schrock.
Schrock is a 21-year-old second baseman who has been pretty darn impressive in A-ball this year, but the Nats can be excused for giving up promise in 2018 or whatever for some bullpen help come playoff time. Rzepczynski walks a few too many guys for my taste but he strikes ’em out at a pretty decent rate for a LOOGY and the Nats could use another southpaw reliever apart from Oliver Perez. This is especially true given how many tough lefty hitters they may face in the playoffs.
On the basic merits, sure, Rzepczynski for Schrock may look pretty dang good for the A’s in a few years. But this October the A’s will be watching on TV from home while the Nats will be trying to win it all, making the trade pretty darn understandable from their point of view.
Meanwhile, in Tulsa, Zach Welz of the visiting Arkansas Travelers made a spectacular catch. It was the catch Torii Hunter tried to make on that famous David Ortiz homer in the playoffs a few years back except Welz made it.
Watch as he topples over the wall to come up with the would-be dinger off the bat of Tulsa Drillers first baseman Cody Bellinger: