Why I Couldn’t Care Less About Theo Epstein LeavingOctober 26, 2011
Boy Wonder. The Man Who Broke the Curse. The Mastermind. Inventor of the “Scouting and Player Development Machine.” Genius.
However you liked to refer to Theo Epstein over the past ten years, his era in Boston has ended in a shitstorm that I think gives the best nickname of them all: Houdini. Did this guy who just oversaw the biggest collapse in regular season baseball history really just sign a five year, 18.5 million dollar contract to run the Cubs? The man who signed John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million contract, only to see Lackey post the worst season of any starter in baseball history (literally) two season later, not only didn’t get fired, but he also got a promotion?! The genius who signed Carl Crawford, to patrol the smallest left field in baseball… then have him bat 7th because we already had our top six hitters in the lineup, to a seven-year $142 million contract not only watched Crawford put up a sub-.300 on-base percentage, but also got a promotion in job title? Am I the only one who feels like this…
If you agree this makes less sense than Helen Keller riding a bicycle in Times Square, keep reading. Otherwise, you’re probably a delusional Cubs fan, and I’d recommend you continue this blissful fit of ignorance and stop reading. But before you go, here’s this peace offering…
Somehow, Theo Epstein is made of teflon in the baseball world. He quit on the Red Sox in 2005 citing his “heart and soul” wasn’t into the job when he got offered a three year $4.5 million deal. This guy who supposedly lived and died with the Red Sox growing up in Brookline, Mass. didn’t have his heart and soul in running the team?! I don’t even need to explain how absurd this is. Then, for whatever reason, ownership didn’t get pissed and move on from the spoiled brat who ditched town in a Gorilla suit: THEY BEGGED HIM TO RETURN.
In the mean time, Theo’s replacement at the time (and replacement now) Ben Cherington, swung the deal that won the Red Sox the 2007 World Series when he traded top prospects Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Lowell won the MVP of that World Series, and Beckett was the team’s best pitcher. Epstein is on record as saying he wouldn’t have made that deal, which is fine. We wouldn’t have won that World Series, either, though.
Now, after the epic collapse, a manager who lost control of his team, and a team that committed mutiny worse than Jack Sparrow’s crew, Epstein moves to a team that hasn’t won a World Series since 1908. We are all about to find out if the boy really is a genius. The Cubs are an absolute mess right now. They just won 71 games, they have no star players, a bunch of bad contracts and a weak minor league system. When Theo took over in 2002, the Red Sox had a nucleus of players left behind that carried the team within an inning of the 2003 World Series. With some minor tweaks, a lucky free agent signing (David Ortiz) and a Curt Schilling falling in his lap, the Red Sox finally broke the Babe’s curse the following season. If the Cubs can play .500 ball this year, it’s an enormous success.