Over the weekend the rumors swirled. I had heard that Theo was already in Chicago holed up in a hotel room. Then I heard yesterday that Epstein was spotted at a Chicago Starbucks.
OK, we’ve established he’s clearly in Chicago.
Then the word came out last night he was on the verge of joining the Cubs. The Cubs, according to the report, had already contacted the league office to see what type of compensation the Cubs would have to send Boston in exchange for him taking their GM and likely presidency.
You can have him Chicago. I’ve said it all along. This guy was great in drafting players and bringing guys through the system. He was God awful at bringing in free agents.
Starting in 2003, even his greatest free agent bargain pick up was a fluke. Remember, the team had Shea Hillenbrand, Jeremy Giambi, Kevin Millar, and then David Ortiz on their depth chart. When his bullpen by committee failed, Epstein traded Hillenbrand for Byung-Hyun Kim. Right. I know Hillenbrand wasn’t that good, had a terrible OBP, but the team made a conscience decision to trade for Kim.
That trade was followed up by trading future All Star and World Series Champion Freddy Sanchez with Mike Gonzalez (a lefty who threw gas) to the Pirates for Jeff Suppan, Scott Sauerbeck and Anastacio Martinez. Suppan sucked down the stretch, Sauerbeck was serviceable out of the bullpen but wasn’t invited back, and Martinez got a sniff in the majors in 2004 before being sent back to Pawtucket where he played till the end of the 2005 season.
We all know the Foulke was brought in as a free agent. He was good for one year, a World Series Champion year so I won’t say it was a terrible signing but he didn’t even play out the contract. The team also worked out a trade for Curt Schilling who also helped the team win a World Series.
Signed Renteria and Clement
Traded for Coco Crisp (dumping Renteria and eating the contract)
Dumped Bronson Arroyo right after spring training to bring in Wily Mo Pena
Traded for Javy Lopez after the trade deadline and released him a month later
Signed Carlos Pena as a free agent in August only to see him blow up in Tampa the following season
Paid $51.1 million to talk to Matzucrappa then paid him to a six year $52 million contract
Signed JD Drew
Traded Manny for Jason Bay then didn’t re-sign Bay after the 2009 season
Dumped Lugo for Adam Laroche who they traded for Casey Kotchman
Sent a slew of players to Cleveland for Victor Martinez who they didn’t re-sign after the 2010 season
Traded for Jeremy Hermida
Signed Boof Bonser (yup)
Signed John Lackey
Signed Mike Cameron (with the intention of moving Jacoby Ellsbury to left)
Signed Marco Scutaro
The bottom line before we start writing about Crawford and that disaster of a contract is that Theo really sucked at the free agent and in most cases the trading parts of the job. It was a disaster. For all the good that was player development (Pedroia, Buchholz, Ellsbury, etc) the free agency sucked.
Here’s hoping he takes Ben Cherington with him to the Cubs. I think he’d be a clone in the same mistake ridden disaster Theo was. Bring in some fresh blood. A new perspective on the entire process. If not, it’s just going to be more of the same.