After last fall’s Red Sox debacle, the subsequent resignation of Terry Francona, and Theo Epstein leaving for Chicago I was very critical. I didn’t do what the Sox organization did and lay the blame solely on Francona. Nope, I was critical of the players and even more critical of Theo.
Well with this weekend’s games against the Cubs on the schedule, there’s going to be a ton of Theo came from the Sox pieces. A few things I want all of my readers to remember while the media is throwing shit at you.
Yes, Theo was the GM during the 2004 season and was part of the the reason Schilling came to town. And yes he traded Nomar. DOn’t forget he also tried to get A-Rod that February and move Manny and Nomar as part of the process. If that had gone through and A-Rod was a Red Sox would they have won?
Just remember most of that team was built by Dan Duquette and interim GM Mike Port. So don’t heap all the praise for that team on Theo. He only did some of the work.
Let’s explore right after that. He let Derek Lowe who was the hero of the post season walk. Let Pedro walk and drove Orlando Cabrerra to the airport. Then to replace them brought in:
Edgar Renteria – Who was traded after one season
Matt Clement – Who never recovered after taking a ball to the face but WAY overpaid for him all the same
Wade Miller – A reclamation project that really never panned out
David Wells – A guy the they dumped to San Diego for nothing when he became unhappy in Boston
I’ve gone over all the terrible signings several times. Such gems as Eric Gagne, Mike Cameron, John Lackey, Dice-K, Carl Crawford, JD Drew (thanks for the grand slam).
He managed to field a team that had the following finishes while he was in charge:
2011 90-72 Third Place
2010 89-73 Third Place
2009 95- 67 Second Place (Wild Card, swept by the Angels)
2008 95- 67 Second Place (Wild Card, lost in game 7 of the ALDS to the Rays)
2007 96-66 First Place (Won the World Series)
2006 86-76 Third Place
2005 95-67 Second Place (Wild Card, swept by the White Sox)
2004 98-64 Second Place (Wild Card, Won the World Series)
So in his tenure the team finished more times in third than it did in first (3-1). But finished in second the most times (4). The won their most games in his first year. That last part is a bit misleading since the Rays improved in that time and weren’t the whipping boys of the AL East any longer.
But how many times did we see this team travel to Kansas City in that tenure and see them lose to an absolute dog of a team? Lots.
Bottom line is Theo wasn’t the greatest GM in the world. He wasn’t the worst either. He was mediocre. If I was handed John Henry’s checkbook to build a scouting department, had Bill James on the payroll, and all his resources, chances are I’m building a contender too.
Does make you wonder though. What if Billy Beane had just said yes when Henry asked him? Would we still be sitting hear without a World Series? Or would we have five titles in that same window? I think the latter is probably more realistic since Beane wouldn’t have made some of those stupid signings. He learned too much being in Oakland on a garbage budget. Chances are, the collapse of last year wouldn’t ever have happened, and Francona would still be here too. Just saying.