Blog Entry

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:29 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2011 12:34 pm
McNuttBy Evan Brunell

As the Red Sox and Cubs continue talking about compensation for GM Theo Epstein, one name has filtered out as to whom Boston wants.

The Red Sox are reportedly focusing on starting pitching prospect Trey McNutt, a 22-year-old who is the best pitching prospect in Chicago's system but a clear step down from top prospect Brett Jackson, as writes. Jackson, a center fielder, has already been ruled out as potential compensation for Epstein, who is expected to be named Chicago's new GM in the next two days, prior to the World Series starting.

McNutt had blister problems in 2011 and finished with a 4.55 ERA in Double-A Tennessee over 95 innings. He struck out 65 and walked 39 a year after breaking out, splitting 2010 between two Class A levels and Double-A. All told, the righty punched out 132 batters in 116 1/3 minor-league innings last season, walking 37 and checking in with a 2.48 ERA in 25 starts.

Red Sox drama
McNutt was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2009 draft and wasn't highly regarded coming out of community college in Birmingham, Ala. Astros infielder Matt Downs is another active baseball player who came from the same college.

McNutt has a chance to be part of the rotation for the Cubs in 2012, which could scuttle discussions, but that's also the same reason why Boston would want McNutt. The Red Sox are severely lacking in upper-minors pitching depth and McNutt would be a major boost and could even potentially win the No. 5 starter's job out of spring training, although he more likely figures to be a late-season option.

Two prospects in total are expected to be part of the package heading to Boston.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 1:17 pm

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

Here is another question for you all: if the Cub prospects are so good that Ricketts does not want to give up any to get Epstein in return, then why hire Epstein at all?

Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 11:47 am

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

Stop, I`m laughing so hard I`m gonna get fired.  The Red Sawx saga is now chasing Trey McNutt the next best jewel in the Cubs farm system.  What was Dude Hugeness ruled out.  The one liners here are endless.  Here`s a few:
Don`t think the Red Sawx need another McNutt invited to camp or in their dugout.
Oh it`s ONE-TWO-TREY MCNUTT your out at a Red Sawx game!!!  (Raise beer per Jon Lester)
I`d say the Red Sawx are busting a McNutt on this young pitcher.
This is a comedy fest. Hope they get stuck with Zambrano, he`d whip those lushes into a fight...ERR shape. Give em hell Cubbies! 

Since: Sep 12, 2011
Posted on: October 18, 2011 9:26 am

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

why do cubs want epstein when rays' andrew friedman has more impressive resume'.? epstein admitted on radio in FEB 2011 that sox rotation was not champion caliber then proceded to watch it flame out to cause baseball's worst collpase ever despite having MLBs top offense.  i cannot think of more compelling facts to avoid a baseball hire.

but, thanks for taking theo off our hands.   been a sox fan over 45 years.  we can only go up from here.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 8:11 am

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

You guys ever hear the expression “you have to spend money to make money”? That is the case here.

The Cubs organization feels that Theo Epstein could turn their bad farm system into a productive one. Whether he can or not remains to be seen, but that is one very important reason the Cubs want him.

But in order to improve their farm system, they have to give up a top prospect or two. So even though they are giving up on players like McNutt, in return over time they will have built a farm system under Theo with plenty of good pitching. In other words, spend money to make money. Again I don’t know if that will happen, but the Cubs have to decide if it is worth the risk.

I have this feeling, though, that the Cubs are afraid to part with a player, and that player turns around and leads the Red Sox to a World Series. That would be very bad karma for the Cubs. But again, is it worth the risk?

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:50 am

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt


Seriously you can't be that stupid to call the Red Sox farm system overrated. The only reason their lower now is because they traded a lot to get Adrian Gonzalez. How about you look up the Red Sox farm system before they traded for Gonzalez? Or would that take away your "overrated" argument? And even after all that's been traded away to acquire all the Red Sox talent, they still have a better minor league system than the Cubs who don't normally trade prospects away. What's the best player on the Cubs currently that came up through their system? Starlin Castro. Let's see what the Red Sox have on their team from their minors. Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Danial Bard, Clay Buchholz, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury. Would you say that Starlin Castro is on the same level as Ellsbury? And after Castro is there anyone on the Cubs from their minors that can compete with Youkilis or Pedroia?

Since: May 26, 2007
Posted on: October 18, 2011 5:41 am

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

I know that I am better known for being a calm-headed, rational person, but this gets my blood up a bit.

Right now, the Cubs would be better off sending Brett Jackson or Matt Szczur for compensation than sending Trey McNutt. Yes, I'm saying they should trade off the best overall prospect in our system rather than the best pitching prospect. Why? Because pitching, particularly the back of the rotation, KILLED the Cubs this season. The Cubs near-record number of errors didn't help the pitchers any, but the numbers this rag-tag group put together is just pitiful.
Lets break this down. The Cubs won a total of 71 games. Of those 71 wins, 25 were credited to pitchers other than the starting pitcher for that game. That means that the Cubs rotation accounted for 46 wins. 46. That's it. The top two starters in the rotation were Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster, who finished the year at 10-10 and 10-14 respectively. That's 20 wins from two starters, meaning 26 wins was all that could be mustered by the other 3 starters. 16 came from the #3 and 4 starters (Carlos Zambrano with 9 and Randy Wells with 7). That means a total of 10 wins came from the number 5 or fill-in starters. 10 wins, that's it.

Now, the Cubs lost 91 games. The Bullpen came up with, again, a total of 25 of those losses, meaning 66 were charged to starting pitchers. That's a lot of games. 24 of those are accounted for by Garza and Dempster, but 28 of those losses are attributed to the fifth starter spot. 28 losses. If half those losses were wins, the cubs are at least in the playoff conversation, or at least not in the NL Central Cellar.

Overall, what do these numbers tell us? First off, 25 losses from the bullpen tells us that they could not close the door. When the bullpen was called upon to preserve a win, this says that in 25 instances they failed. The 'pen blew 20 save opportunities between 3 pitchers (Marmol, Wood, and Marshall). That's a minimum of 20 games that should have been one. That is an area that has to be addressed if the Cubs want to contend. When Carlos Marmol is on his game, he is nearly unhittable. There aren't many closers in the game more effective than Marmol when he's in a rhythm. However, when he's not in rhythm, he plain stinks. His stuff is dynamic, and he has all the tools to be a great closer, but i have to wonder if the management moved him into the role too soon. His role for 2012 has to be addressed. The closing role is a vital one in a division with dangerous hitters like Pujols, Holliday, Fielder, Braun, Bruce, and Votto. Maybe the team just needs a new perspective from the pitching coach, or maybe its time to clean house in the bullpen for the most part.

Another thing that can be drawn from these numbers is that our pitching depth is abysmal. Yes, Andrew Cashner was hurt and that is not his fault nor the team's fault, but the fact they had no depth behind him is. Casey Coleman went 3-9 starting in his place. Doug Davis was even worse, going 1-7 before being cut and treated as though his stint with the team never happened. Ramon Ortiz was given three starts, and he lost two before moving to the bullpen. Rodrigo Lopez was by far the most successful of the pitchers to fill the fifth spot in the rotation, going 6-5 in his starts which makes him the only member of the fifth-starter committee to have a positive record. That MUST improve. Figure that you are going to get around 30 starts from the fifth slot in your rotation. If every fifth day you stand a 2/3 chance of losing, you might as well not play the game. You need to be able to count on 13 or so wins out of your fifth starter, with the hope that they can at least go 5-6 innings per start and keep the team in the game. I don't think that's too much to ask of a major league pitcher.

As for dealing Jackson or Szczur, the reasoning is simple: the Cubs need a GM who can turn the franchise around, and it is significantly easier to find servicable outfielders than it is to find a good pitcher, whether that be through free agency, trade, or the draft. Are those two prospects guys who the club would hate to lose? Yeah. They are both highly rated outfield prospects who hit with decent power and average. They would be missed, but the club currently has a glut of outfielders. Marlon Byrd is under contract for another year. Alphonso Soriano for another 3. Tyler Colvin, Tony Campana, Blake DeWitt, and Bryan LaHair are all still under team control for at least another year each, more than that in most cases. In the system, there are a number of other prospects at the various levels who would be servicable short-term fill-ins while prospects with higher potential are developed. In this year alone, the Cubs drafted six outfielders in the first 20 rounds, including Shawon Dunston Jr.

In terms of immediate impact, McNutt is more likely to have a serious and immediate impact on the club than Jackson or Szczur. Neither is expected to break camp with the team this year, as the outfield is rather full already. McNutt, however, could easily seize a rotation spot. Right now, the rotation appears to be Garza, Dempster, and Wells. Jeff Samardzija is supposedly being considered for a rotation spot, and Cashner will likely vie for a spot if he's cleared by the team medical staff to do so. Lopez earned a chance to compete for the spot, should he return, and McNutt will likely be thrown in that race as well. Right now, going off solely who is expected to be on the roster, here's how the rotation potentially shapes up:

Matt Garza
Ryan Dempster
Andrew Cashner
Randy Wells
Trey McNutt

Very heavy on right-handers, but there's not much helping that. This is all subject to change, however, as Cashner may not be cleared to start, the new GM might bring in a free agent pitcher or two, and there is the chance that Ryan Dempster chooses not to exercise his player option for 2012 and either retire or test free agency. I would not be surprised with any outcome, and all are logical in my mind given his young daughters medical condition.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: October 18, 2011 4:58 am

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

He's under contract with the Red Sox and the Cubs want him, that is why there is compensation.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: October 18, 2011 12:02 am

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

The Red Sox farm system is overrated. Most of their prospects are rated B- or lower!!! *This is true...look it up!*

The Cubs should not give anything up to get Epstein. Quite the opposite. The Red Sox should be giving the Cubs compensation because the Red Sox don't want Epstein. If they did they would not let him go. The Cubs should be compensated because they have to pay Epstein. In most trades that involves players if one team wants to unload a disgruntled player the other team usually gets compensated for taking on that problem player.   

Since: Apr 26, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 7:30 pm

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

guys, have none of you read the reason why the cubs want to get Epstein? One of the biggest reasons is because the Cubs farm system sucks. This is probably the best option there is. The cubs just need to give up whatever they have to give up and be done with this whole thing. They knew going into this thing that they were going to have to give up something, so just do it. Theo will be able to rebuild the farm system, including replacing whoever they give up in this deal. But, at the moment, McNutt is probably the only piece that is worth getting.

Since: May 28, 2009
Posted on: October 17, 2011 7:00 pm

Report: Red Sox targeting Cubs pitcher McNutt

I think the Red Sox are nuts if they want McNutt. Is there really nobody else?

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or