Epstein had one year remaining on his contract with the Red Sox at the time. The two teams had tried to resolve the matter themselves, but in mid-January, the decision was turned over to Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig. By that time, Epstein had revamped the Cubs front office, bought a home in Chicago, and traded Carlos Zambrano, among other things.
But Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Selig did not intervene in the matter. His office did receive briefs from both teams but the Cubs and Red Sox resolved it themselves.
"The reason the Commissioner was potentially involved at any point was because there is such a lack of precedent," Hoyer said. "It's such an unusual move. I think both sides are very happy that he didn't have to decide the matter and the two teams decided the matter themselves."
When Andy MacPhail left the Twins to join the Cubs front office, Chicago sent Class A pitcher Hector Trinidad to Minnesota as compensation. Trinidad never made it to the big leagues.
Hoyer said Carpenter's name had been part of the discussions from the start.
"It wasn't a guy we were hoping to give up," Hoyer said. "We knew there would be compensation and both sides deemed that fair."
The news didn't exactly surprise Carpenter, who said the Cubs' prospects joked about it in October in the Arizona Fall League.
"It's something you could kill yourself thinking about all the time, so you just don't even think about it and you just go along and if it's you, it's you," he said.
Carpenter, 26, last year combined to make 42 relief appearances between Double-A Tennessee, Triple-A Iowa and the Cubs, his first Major League action. The right-hander spent most of his time with Iowa, going 2-3 with one save and a 6.53 ERA in 22 relief outings. Carpenter posted no record and a 2.79 ERA in 10 relief outings in the Majors and went 1-1 with a 4.38 ERA in 10 relief appearances with Tennessee last year.
Selected by the Cubs in the third round of the 2008 Draft, Carpenter is 21-19 with a 3.62 ERA in 96 outings (60 starts) in four Minor League seasons.
"As soon as they called me into the coaches office, I kind of had a feeling about what was going on," Carpenter said Tuesday. "I can't say anything bad -- I appreciate everything the Cubs have done for me. It's been a great organization over the past four years. I'm looking to going to Boston and helping them win now."
"Chris is a very good reliever and a difficult guy to lose," Hoyer said Tuesday. "I think we all realized we would lose something of significant value when Theo came over here. I hope Chris has a lot of success over there. Obviously, the Cubs are excited about the new management team with Theo leading it. There was a price to be paid for that and that price is Chris and we all felt that was fair. He is talented and we wish him luck."
Carpenter said Hoyer met with him in the general manager's office to explain the situation and that Epstein left him a message.
"In the short time I've known those guys, they're great guys and I appreciate everything they've done for me," Carpenter said.
Epstein was not in Arizona but issued a statement.
"I am relieved that this process is over and particularly pleased that the teams were able to reach agreement on their own without intervention from MLB," Epstein said. "I truly hope and believe that this resolution will benefit both clubs, as well as Chris, who is an extremely talented reliever joining a great organization at a time when there's some opportunity in the Major League bullpen."
Said Carpenter: "If you're going to pick two teams to play for, why not be the Cubs and the Red Sox? You can't complain about that."
His phone was buzzing with incoming messages as he talked to the media.
"It was kind of surreal, like a little shock," Carpenter said of his first reaction. "They talked me through it. Our coaching staff, they've been traded before and they told me things to expect and just be positive. That's where I'm at right now."
Shortly after the compensation was announced, Selig issued the following statement:
"I am pleased that the Cubs and the Red Sox have resolved this matter," Selig said. "It has always been my preference that Clubs resolve matters like this amongst themselves, as they understand their unique circumstances better than anyone else could. Though the matter required time, both Clubs demonstrated professionalism throughout their discussions, and I appreciate their persistence in finding common ground."
Still to be resolved is compensation to the Padres for Hoyer, who said he expected a decision soon.