January 21, 2006

The Pundits On Theo's Return

Dan Shaughnessy is writing crap about the return of Theo Epstein. The CHB ominously states, regarding the "embarrassing" turn of events, that "no one knows how the new arrangement is going to work" and "No one knows how this is going to work". You mean you can't predict the future? No kidding, Dan.

Shaughnessy then refers to Cherington and Hoyer as "the not-ready-for-prime-time co-GMs" and "shotgun wedding co-GMs". It's cute (in a lame sort of way), but not very accurate. From trading for Beckett to getting Marte for Edgar to stealing Loretta for The Stud Who Hits Bombs, I'd say they've done very well this winter.

Tony Massarotti on the ongoing "soap opera" and possible "ticking time bomb" in the front office:
On the surface, it would be easy to celebrate Epstein’s return as a glorious reconciliation, but it would be foolish to do so. ... Epstein is returning, and we cannot help but wonder: Why? ... [I]t certainly seems now — for Epstein, in particular — the chances of failure are much greater than chances of success. If this all blows up again, after all, Epstein will have nobody to blame but himself.
Mazz also claims the franchise has been operating "in a state of flux" since Theo departed.

As usual, Art Martone has a much more balanced view.

In reading about Epstein's return and what the various machinations and supposed power struggles might mean for the front office, I find I don't really care. Not yet, anyway. I don't see a real problem in what has happened this winter. The club has stuck to its philosophy, ignoring those people who would have loved to have kept the 2004 team intact forever. They seem fine with beginning the season with Cora at shortstop and I'm confident a center fielder will arrive in a trade.

Meanwhile, Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer are thrilled to be working with Epstein again. ... Hoyer: "The entire department is very excited. Not only is Theo a great friend, he is a great talent. Having him back only makes us stronger, and our goal is to have the strongest department possible."

From yesterday's online chat with the Providence Journal's Sean McAdam:
Q: Were the Sox really in trouble without Theo Epstein?

A: I'm not sure they were doomed without Theo, but there's little doubt they're better off with him. I think there's a fallacy about how things would have been different had Theo remained on the job last fall. I don't believe that. I think Johnny Damon would still be a Yankee, Edgar Renteria would still be a Brave and Josh Beckett would be in the rotation. I think Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington had a similar philosophy. What they lack, however, is Theo's experience and aggressiveness. ...

Q: What do you think that the two or three strongest possibilities are right now to fill the holes at center field and shortstop, and how realistic are those possibilities?

A: I think Alex Cora will open the season at shortstop. He won't hit much, but neither will free agent Alex Gonzalez, and at least Cora is signed for reasonable money. Pedroia could make things interesting with a good spring training, but I think it's more likely that he gets into the mix in midseason. As for center field, I think they'll try to make a deal for either Crisp or Jeremy Reed. Theo loves Reed, but he won't give Arroyo and Jon Lester for him. So unless the Mariners' asking price comes down, they will focus primarily on Crisp. ...

Q: Do you think Jonathan Papelbon, Manny Delcarmen, Craig Hansen and Lester will start the year in Boston or Pawtucket? Do you see all of them making it to Fenway by the end of the season?

A: I believe Papelbon will be part of the rotation to start the year. ... It's hard to see Delcarmen or Hansen making the team out of spring training ... I see Hansen as the closer of the future, but they would prefer him to get some Triple A work before putting him in the Boston bullpen. As for Lester, he could do what Papelbon did last year -- spot start in midseason, and be part of the staff in the final two months if he shows he's ready.
That all sounds about right. And couple that with Beckett and a much-improved bullpen and I'm ready to get this 2006 model out of the showroom and onto the street.


Jack Marshall said...

Sorry, Redsock, I love ya, but you couldn't be more off base. This is embarrassing to both Theo and the organization. If any reputable business entity has been involved in anything similar in the last 5 years, I've missed it. Hey, if it works and the Sox win, I don't care either. But it's lousy management, and Theo's conduct through all this leads me to believe he's unstable. And when your man on the white horse is unstable, you have problems.

Two time tested business axioms are that 1) no one is indispensible, and 2) when someone quits on you, let him go. The Sox have violated both, and my guess is that they'll regret it.
[And no, Dan, what Lucky did or didn't do has nothing to do with whether Theo should have been brought back.]

redsock said...

It's not the smoothest way to do business, but there hasn't been anything to regret yet. If something happens, then I'll reconsider.

I think most fans will say, "Excellent! Theo's back! (and except for the loss of Josh Byrnes, it's basically the same minds as we had before)" and go about their merry way.

I admit I'm basing this on absolutely nothing, though. No idea what the talk shows are saying.

Donald said...

Dennis and Callahan, the morning guys on WEEI 850, were trashing this move. They claim that everyone loses- Theo, Larry Lucchino, John Henry, the Sox, and especially Ben and Jed.

I can't say that I agree with them, though. How can you argue with getting the World Series front office back together? Ben and Jed are tight with Theo, and won't mind having him back. Larry is a professional, and he will find a way to work with the same guys he's been working with for the last few years. And as for John Henry, what does he know anyway? Is this on? My take is that once the season starts, no one will care about this debacle anymore.

Sean O said...

What I don't understand is that people think Theo was making the decisions all along by himself. I thought the whole point of the 2004 FO was Theo leading a group of unbelievably brilliant wunderkinds? I get the feeling that The Philosophy dictates matters far, far more than any single person.

Thus, having Theo back means we have a person highly skilled at schmoozing with the players, rather than a person who is going to revolutionize matters. I agree entirely that Damon would still be a Yankee, and that the Loretta and Marte deals would still have happened.

Everyone is making far too big a deal about this.

L-girl said...

If any reputable business entity has been involved in anything similar in the last 5 years, I've missed it.

Tons of profitable businesses operate with a high degree of soap-opera craziness. It's not rare in either the corporate or the non-profit world. Those businesses just do it without constant scrutiny from media and fans.

Sean O said...

I can't believe we're doing this crisp deal. I feel sick, literally sick.

Welcome Boston's new .280-hitting CF without power who can't play center!

Jack Marshall said...

I-girl: I follow this stuff pretty closely. A top exec quitting amajor company, being involved in key decisions while out of the job and then coming back? Literally never happens, because it's INSANE. But Redsock is right about the fact that fans don't care how badly the Sox are run as long as they win. The point is that incompetently run organizations DON'T win, at least not for long. That's why this episode is unsettling.
Sean O: have you watched Crisp? He's a rising star, has more power than Damon, and will be fine in center...and he has an arm. I've coveted him for quite a while. Relax.

Jack Marshall said...

Where ARRRRE You?? Theo comes back as GM, Larry and Boy Wonder kiss and make up, Henry kisses and WAKES up, Coco's in Limbo, we find out that Beckett and Mota never had physicals, Schilling gives the longest, most boring interview in recorded history, and you go fishing?? We need you, man...it's cold and dark and a lot of triples are going to go up the middle with no shortstop or centerfielder!