Theo Epstein – Is he as good as he thinks he is?

13 Jan

Having lived in Sox nation for their improbable rise to workd champions, I saw Theo Epstein’s workings on a daily basis. You couldn’t turn on a local TV network or radio show without hearing in one breath how he destroyed the Red Sox and then in the other how he was a savior of some sorts. For Sox fans, he is likely always going to be remembered as a savior – which is fine. he got them two World Series rings after decades of drought. That allowed Theo to have a pretty lofty opinion of his abilities – and while some of it is deserved, a lot of it is hype.

The thing to know about the reign of King Theo I is that Theo was not the real decision maker. he wasn’t the scout on the ground. He wasn’t the man with the money. Theo was more of a figurehead – a throwback to the era of when George Steinbrenner was hands on every day with the Yankees and GMs were guys that got the gig because they were fired from another position in the organization – a lot like managers. If you go by what is now Sox legend, Theo did it all. He masterminded huge deals. He had a special perception for talent. He knew how to squeeze the crap out of a buffalo nickel.He was THE GM in baseball and all others dreamed of being him. he was ballsy and hard-assed.  Well…not really.

Much of his legend has to do with having traded Nomar. It was a huge move – it may have been a factor in the Sox winning the series – then again maybe it wasn’t. Theo never assembled the core of the winning Sox teams – that was all in place. Theo never did find an actual shortstop that could produce – the Sox still haven’t. it’s a revolving door, and no – Marco Scutaro is not am answer. he piled money on JD  Drew which was questionable at best. he signed Carl Crawford which was sheer stupidity. Giving a speed guy that plays a corner outfield position record setting money when his speed is just beginning to decline? Then a long term deal? Ouch…

There is the Dice-K  issue – another record setting flop. Letting Varitek collect a few extra checks to make up for the cheddar his ex-wife snagged in their divorce. Hey Theo – coaching was an option? On that subject – when was the last time the Sox had a productive catcher? They could have had Russel martin for next to nothing but Theo quibbled over a few hundred grand. Martin to the Yankees –> Yankees to the Playoffs  –> Theo and the Red Sox go home.

All GM’s have winners and losers. if you look back at Theo’s career with the Sox, he never really built a winner. he added a few pieces to the core group – important, but not a build. He spent like a drunken sailor and only has disappointment to show for it – John lackey ring any bells? Once the core group aged out or was traded and Theo had to do it on his own, he flopped. he couldn’t even manage a winning rebuild.

Cubs fans be warned – you did not get the messiah!


2 Responses to “Theo Epstein – Is he as good as he thinks he is?”

  1. toosoxy January 13, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I think- once the celebrity wears off- you’re still going to be left with a great GM- and you’re going to excel and be pleased. Sox already miss Theo. A lot.

    • mandyf January 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

      Theo has done some good work – can’t take that from him, but I think he has rubbed more fellow GMs the wrong way than he can get away with. The Cubs have money to spend – not Sox money, but money so Theo can spend, just not as prolifically as he did.he has a major overhaul to perform in Chicago so this is really going to be his test. I hope he is up for it, he is a decent guy personally, but I just don’t think he has the stuff for it. Thanks for chiming in – much appreciated!

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