The Chicago Cubs sent minor-league pitcher Aaron Kurcz to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday as the player to be named later in order complete their obligations in the Theo Epstein compensation situation.
Earlier this spring, the Cubs sent right-hander Chris Carpenter to Boston.
All that remains is for the Red Sox to send a player to be named later to the Cubs.
Kurcz, a 10th-round draft pick in 2010, was a midseason Florida State League All-Star last season at Class A Dayton. He finished the season 5-4 with a 3.28 ERA, making a start in 12 of his 32 appearances. He pitched 82 1/3 innings with 91 strikeouts and 34 walks.
Like most of you, this is the first time I've ever heard the name "Aaron Kurcz". So I did some brief digging this morning to see whether this addition is worth generating any excitement for. And, well, it just may be.
John Arguello of ChicagoNow.com, who seems to know what he's talking about, projects that Kurcz could be in the bigs by 2013. He writes:
Kurcz generates a lot more velocity than you would expect from someone who 6'1" and 170 lbs, as he's able to touch 95 mph. He has struck out 11.4 batters per 9 innings in his brief minor league career. His slurve shows good break and he has had average control.
Kurcz could be up by 2013 because is polished enough with two solid pitches and average command... I think he'll have a solid career as a middle relief guy with a ceiling of a set-up guy. In fact, I won't be shocked if he has a longer career than Chris Carpenter, the main piece in the deal.
For a player thrown in after-the-fact, that's a pretty solid endorsement. If you had told me in 2003 (that's when this Epstein-Cubs standoff began, right?) that all we'd get in return for Theo were a couple mid-level relief pitchers I would have been outraged. I still am, to some degree. But at least we've netted ourselves some players that have a legit shot of helping at the big league level. They're surely no Castro or Garza, but it's better than nothing.
And if you want to follow Kurcz on Twitter, here you go: https://twitter.com/#!/aaronkurcz
On Page 2, Bard didn't fare so well
That meant he came in for the sixth inning and didn't feel much like a starting assignment. Worse, after he faced one hitter, a rain shower hit Jet Blue Park and Bard had to sit out a delay.
Still, the results weren't good: Bard was rocked for seven runs on six hits and four walks in 2 2/3 innings in the Red Sox' 9-6 loss to the world champion St. Louis Cardinals.
"He's probably had better days," concluded manager Bobby Valentine.
"Physically, I feel great," said Bard. "But obviously, I wasn't in the strike zone enough. I wasn't throwing strike one. I just need to get a little more aggressive early in the count with the middle of the strike zone."
We've all seen Bard get lit up before. It's not the end of the world.
How he bounces back is what's important. If his confidence is rattled and he struggles in his next outing, that may be a sign he's not ready to step into the rotation. I don't think that will be an issue.
And if you are concerned, it's worth noting that his routine was all out of whack for this game. He approached the game using the same routine he uses when he starts. Except, once he was ready he had to sit in bullpen for five innings until it was his turn to pitch. That certainly didn't help.
Rest of the links:
Herald - Alfredo Aceves values moment | Andrew Miller works on mechanics | Kevin Youkilis’ lead time brief | Mark McGwire applauds Adrian Gonzalez | CSNNE - McDonald enjoying 'best spring ever' | Aceves: 'I'm ready to (pitch) every day' | WEEI - Being and Aceves: Pitcher poses complex dilemmas | Daniel Bard: ‘I just kind of felt dead’ in shellacking