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.
Earlier, Craig wrote about how Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig is back in manager Dave Roberts’ doghouse once again. Puig didn’t slide into second base when he was caught stealing to end Saturday’s game, which irked Roberts.
Puig didn’t earn himself any brownie points on Monday as he was late to a team workout and was benched as a result, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports. Roberts said, “That was a decision he made, not me.” Roberts added that he was disappointed in Puig, though he did note that the former All-Star’s behavior has been improved for most of the season.
Puig, 26, has had a solid season, batting .259/.339/.474 with 26 home runs, 70 RBI, 66 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 554 plate appearances. While he hasn’t provided value on the same level as Justin Turner or Corey Seager, he’s been a valuable part of the lineup which makes this drama all the more unfortunate with just a week and a half before the start of the NLDS.
Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that the Pirates were granted an exemption by Major League Baseball and the players’ union which will allow infielder Jung Ho Kang to participate in the Dominican Winter League without being removed from the restricted list.
Kang, 30, has been denied a visa by the Department of State as a result of his third DUI in South Korea last September. Kang was also under investigation in 2015 for alleged sexual assault.
Kang is under contract through the end of 2018 and the Pirates have a club option for the 2019 season as well, so it makes sense they would try to get him into some type of baseball action ahead of next season. The infielder has hit .273/.355/.483 in 837 plate appearances across two seasons in the majors. As Brink notes, Kang has already arrived to the Dominican Republic and will work out with his team, Aguilas Cibaenas, ahead of the start of the season on October 20.