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Cubs send Chris Carpenter to Red Sox for Theo Epstein

Cubs president Theo Epstestill has resolve compensatiwith San Diego Padres for hiring general manager Jed Hoyer player development boss JasMcLeod.

Cubs president Theo Epstein still has to resolve compensation with the San Diego Padres for the hiring of general manager Jed Hoyer and player development boss Jason McLeod. | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times

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Updated: March 23, 2012 8:24AM

MESA, Ariz. — They couldn’t have done this three or four months ago?

After nearly four months of sometimes angry, sometimes frustrating negotiations that needed a push from the commissioner, the Cubs sent hard-throwing relief prospect Chris Carpenter to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday to settle the compensation dispute over Theo Epstein.

‘‘I think both sides are happy it’s behind us,’’ Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said. ‘‘Now we can just move forward with the spring without worrying about the compensation.’’

The transaction was structured as a player trade to keep it within Major League Baseball protocol, similar to the way the White Sox received compensation for allowing manager Ozzie Guillen to leave for the Miami Marlins. The deal also includes an additional player to be named later from each club.

‘‘I guess my name will go down in history,’’ Carpenter said of the unusual ‘‘trade.’’

Carpenter had a 2.19 ERA in his 10-appearance big-league debut last year, although he put 19 men on base in 92/3 innings. He has an upper-90s fastball.

‘‘Unfortunately, we lost a great arm in Chris,’’ Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ‘‘Fortunately for him, [he goes] to a team that wanted him really, really, really bad.’’

Carpenter, a third-round draft pick in 2008, was a candidate for one of the Cubs’ last two bullpen spots. He’s expected to contend for a roster spot with the Red Sox.

‘‘He’s a difficult guy to lose,’’ Hoyer said. ‘‘I think we all realized we were going to lose something of significant value when Theo came over here.’’

Despite the process reaching the commissioner’s desk at the end of December, Hoyer said the teams closed the deal without specific orders or a hard deadline from Bud Selig, who nonetheless took briefs from both sides and prodded the process along.

‘‘I think part of the reason it took so long is there’s not a lot of precedent for this kind of transaction,’’ Hoyer said, ‘‘and I think both sides had a lot of things going on this winter.’’

The Cubs put the cart before the horse in ignoring the compensation issue until after agreeing to terms with Epstein. Red Sox CEO and chairman Larry Lucchino subsequently took a hard-line and at times combative approach to negotiations.

The Cubs and San Diego Padres have yet to resolve compensation for the hiring of Hoyer and player development boss Jason McLeod. Hoyer said that was tabled intentionally until the Red Sox talks were complete, and he expects it to be resolved during camp.

A prospect not on the 40-man roster is expected to go to the ­Padres.

Hoyer said he expects the players to be named in the Red Sox deal to be exchanged by April 15. Neither will be a high-ranked prospect or part of the 40-man roster.

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