November 1, 2005


Epstein, toast of town in title year, leaves Sox: Says he no longer can give team his all (Chris Snow, November 1, 2005, Boston Globe)

Theo Epstein, the Brookline native who in 2002 became baseball's youngest general manager, and in 2004 became the youngest to win a World Series, announced last night that he was leaving the Red Sox, hours before his contract was due to expire.

While the initial differences in Epstein's negotiations centered on money, those issues were bridged, to the point that multiple major league sources said over the weekend that Epstein and the club had come to an agreement on an extension.

However, issues of respect and control between Epstein and CEO/president Larry Lucchino could not be overcome, ultimately leading Epstein, 31, to reject the club's three-year, $4.5 million offer and give up what might well have been the only job he ever wanted. [...]

Senior baseball operations adviser Bill James, however, intends to stay put.

''Certainly I was surprised," James said. ''I love the Red Sox and have no plans to look for a new paramour."

He's a victim of the success of his own philosophy: if the fundamental argument of the Moneyball crowd is that the numbers a player puts up and his price tag tell you all you need to know about him then it doesn't much matter who you have run the numbers, does it?

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 1, 2005 7:47 AM

When the numbers tell you the player you need plays for another team, you need a good deal-maker to acquire him. Epstein was a pretty good dealmaker, and good dealmakers are scarce, but obtainable.

Posted by: pj at November 1, 2005 9:49 AM

Management realized that aside from some big
money acquisitions (made possible by post-
Yawkey ownership).

The team that won the world series was
still largely put together by Duquette.

Posted by: J.H. at November 1, 2005 10:08 AM

This was about personalities/ego, not money as the BoSox matched and even exceeded slightly Epstein's requested money. What happened is that the negotiations dragged out so long that they became personal. The Boston Globe, acknowledged as a tool of the BoSox management, began running anti-Theo articles in the past few weeks in an attempt to force him into a deal. The sports pundits last night were saying that the deal was 99% done but the anti-Theo articles caused Theo to walk away at the last minute. Note also that Theo is young (early 30s) and is probably young enough to just say screw off instead of taking something that isn't exactly what he wants.

To OJ's point Theo may be easily replacable and/or $1.5MM a year for a GM may be too much. We'll have to see what happens.

Posted by: AWW at November 1, 2005 10:56 AM

It depends on what the numbers are tho. The James abstract and Stats inc stuff is all basically public, but teams are coming up with their own models as well, coming up with new stats as James did in the early 80s to evaluate players.

There was just a good article in the TribBusiness section on Sunday about how the White Sox developed their own computer modeling to find players. I remember reading that the new young stat geek ivy league gms have been doing the same thing.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at November 1, 2005 11:43 AM

Schilling getting healthy again will be the best thing for whoever the Sox pick as GM, let alone the ownership and the Globe if they want to show they didn't need Theo anyway.

On the other hand, even with all the negative publicity, Epstein's position still didn't seem as beleagured as Cashman, whose snipers are mostly 1,500 miles away in Tampa offering up contradictory advice to Steinbrenner. But George does pay top dollar, while Theo may have decided he could get a few more dollars elsewhere for (at least at first) less agrrivation.

Posted by: John at November 1, 2005 12:14 PM

Schilling will never be healthy again.

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at November 1, 2005 2:21 PM

I'm so happy his buddy DePodesta is gone too. Now they can return a little character to that great Dodger Blue tradition, which dwarfs that of the puny Sox.

Posted by: Scof at November 1, 2005 3:42 PM