Tag:Theo Epstein
Posted on: October 25, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: October 25, 2011 4:21 pm

Ben Cherington takes over as Red Sox GM


By Evan Brunell

Ben Cherington has been announced as the new general manager of the Red Sox, replacing Theo Epstein. In his news conference, Cherington said he "developed a passion for baseball and the Red Sox" during his time in baseball.

"I feel like I've been preparing for this job since my first job in baseball," he added.

Epstein was announced as president of baseball operations for the Cubs earlier Tuesday, allowing Cherington to take the reins as GM officially after being de-facto GM for the last two weeks. Cherington was joined in a news conference by president Larry Lucchino, but not ownership. This speaks to the fact that Lucchino will probably gain more influence now that Epstein has left, as the president lost much of his influence when Epstein resigned as GM in 2005 over a dispute with Lucchino. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it will be interesting to see how the dynamics play out. For his part, Lucchino said there was "no one more prepared" to take over as GM in a statement prior to the news conference and that "he will hit the ground running, in full stride, and no one will outwork him.”

Cherington began by wishing his former boss "great fortune in his next venture" and noted that he is not similar to Epstein in that he can't play the guitar, nor does he own a gorilla suit, hearkening back to how Epstein sneaked out of Fenway and avoided reporters when he resigned in 2005.

Cherington, who is considered a patient, as opposed to Epstein who has a reputation for being impatient, may have taken a shot at Epstein by saying that you "have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, on our due diligence in the decision-making process." Cherington said that the free-agent signings in recent years haven't been good enough. He also wants to be active in acquiring international talent, wanting the best players from around the world.

Earlier on Tuesday, Epstein spoke bout Cherington's readiness to take over the role, mentioning in an op-ed piece for the Boston Globe that Cherington had been discussed as his successor this summer, with an initial plan of Epstein departing after 2012. "If not for the complete confidence I have in Ben... I could not in good conscience leave the organization at this time. But there is no one in baseball more qualified to be the next general manager of the Red Sox.

"Ben is infinitely more prepared than I was when I took over nine years ago. He’s been an area scout, an international scout, an advance scout, a farm director, and he’s supervised drafts. Ben is honest and insightful, fearless and friendly - and he is ready to lead this organization forward."

Cherington, a New Hampshire native, has been with the Red Sox for 13 seasons and had served as assistant GM since January 2009, ascending to the role when Jed Hoyer became GM of the Padres. Cherington and Hoyer also served briefly as interim GM when Epstein resigned in 2005. Prior to his role, he oversaw the farm system including developing such players as Daniel Bard, Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie.

Speaking of the farm system, Cherington believes the Red Sox system is "stronger and deeper than ever," although he did admit much of the talent is low. Boston's high minors have entered a bit of a fallow period as part of a cycle, but the low minors is highly regarded, even after dealing away several top prospects for Adrian Gonzalez prior to the season.

The 37-year-old also addressed the 2011 team, saying the team is eager to move on. "I believe there's a great motivation [on the part of the players] to clean up whatever does need to be cleaned up. ... We are going to have a very good team in 2012."

However, Cherington did caution that things might change moving forward. Not necessarily because what was done previously was incorrect, or even a difference of opinion, but because  "what's going to work moving forward is not necessarily what's worked in the past."

Cherington did mention that Boston's pitching depth has to improve, and "most likely we’ll do that through some good, creative buy-low acquisitions." With Daisuke Matsuzaka recovering from Tommy John surgery and unlikely to return until midway through 2012 at the earliest and now John Lackey needing his own Tommy John surgery which will knock him out for all of 2012, the Red Sox will have their work cut out for them in addressing the rotation. Cherington also said the team needs a right-handed outfielder, and spoke about Carl Crawford, saying time would need to be spent with the outfielder this offseason. Crawford, who signed a seven-year, $142 million deal prior to 2011, had an awful season and then heard his owner, John Henry, saying he didn't support the move.

"I was one of the strongest proponents of signing Carl Crawford, Cherington said. "I believe in him."

Regarding the search for a new manager, Cherington said the team will move "swiftly" but pointed out that Francona was not hired until Thanksgiving in 2004, so we could be in for a bit of a process. "I want a manager who has a strong voice," he said. "We need the right person."
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Posted on: October 25, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 5:32 pm

Theo Epstein announced as new Cubs president

By Evan Brunell

Theo Epstein was introduced as the new leader of the Cubs during a news conference at 12 p.m. ET on Tuesday as Cubs' president of baseball operations.

"It feels truly great to be a Cub today," Epstein said in his opening remarks. "I'd like to thank Cubs fans for being so incredibly welcoming to me and my family already. ... I was ready for the next big challenge, and this is the ultimate challenge."

Prior to the conference, owner Tom Ricketts said the club sought commitment to player development, a strong analytical background and someone from a winning culture with a strong record, Alex Speier of WEEI relays. Epstein himself concurred, saying he wouldn't be in town without Rickett's "commitment to the fans and long-term vision for the organization."

In Ricketts' opening remarks, he said, "The major goal is to win a World Series. Today we take a major step towards acheiving that goal with the hiring of Theo Epstein."

"We look forward to going to work, because we have the best fans and the bast ballpark in baseball," Ricketts added, also noting that Cubs president Crane Kenney was "critical" toward bringing Epstein to the team. Kenney is expected to transition to overseeing the business aspect of the team with Epstein's arrival. "We look forward to saying that we have the best team in baseball," Ricketts said.

When Epstein began his remarks, he gave a shout-out to his former employers on top of his brilliant his op-ed piece published in the Boston Globe Tuesday morning.

"[A] quick thank you to [ex-Red Sox manager] Terry Francona and all the players and fans [in Boston]," Epstein said. "I'm really proud of what we accomplished, and I wish you all the best. ... I wouldn't trade my time with the Red Sox, but it was time to move on, and they're in great hands."

At the end of the press conference, Epstein admitted he would probably still be with the club if Francona hadn't left. That's interesting, given reports that he recommended to ownership in the late summer that Francona had lost the team and it was time for a new voice.

But this press conference was about his new role with the Cubs, and much of the conference was based on what is to come in Chicago.

"Baseball is better with tradition, baseball is better with fans that care, baseball is better during the day. Finally, baseball is best of all when you win," Epstein started off saying. He also promised the Cubs would be playing in October "regularly" and will win a World Series, a lofty goal that Epstein will be judged by his entire tenure in town. He promised "sustained success".

"When we win a World Series, It won't be because of any one person. It'll be because of all of us," Epstein said. "It'll happen because a scout drove the extra six miles to see a prospect. It'll happen because a minor league pitching coach took the extra time to work on a young pitcher's change-up... it will happen because of all of us."

Epstein spoke about "The Cubs Way," which should certainly mirror "The Red Sox Way" he instituted in Boston that led to two World Series rings. That way should be expected to include strong defense, a discerning eye for hitters and a strong bullpen along with a rotation that minimizes walks.

When asked "What makes you think you can do what nobody has done in 103 years?" Epstein didn't blanch. (Naturally -- it's not as if he had any opportunity to win with Chicago in 1940.) "It'll be all of us doing it," Epstein responded. "When I got to Boston, they hadn't won in 86 years, and we didn't run from that. We embraced it. And part of that is bringing in players that care more about each other, and more about winning, than any of those external voices."

When asked about incumbent manager Mike Quade, Epstein said that the manager, coming off his first full season as skipper, "seems like a great guy," and the two will speak in the coming week.

As for the question of compensation, Epstein seemed to skirt the issue and admitted a third party would probably be needed to finalize compensation.

Ricketts jumped back into the fray to note that he "talked to about 20 people in baseball who I trust -- people who could tell me who I should be looking for. And at the end of the process, it was apparent that Theo was the right man for the job." The owner also made it clear that Epstein is reporting directly to him.

In further remarks, Epstein referenced his op-ed piece and brought up Bill Walsh again.

"I mentioned in the article, and I cited Bill Walsh, on the theory that he and others have had that says that most coaches or executives gets about 10 years to make an impact. After that... it's time for a new challenge," Epstein said. "And that happens accross the board. You'll see that university presidents see their peak effectiveness in the first 10 years before they move on."

The discussion then shifted to how Epstein will approach putting together a team.

"My personal approach is that it's best to use non-traditional scouting and objective analysis," he said. "When you can use these at their best, you can view the player in an accurate lens... but when you put both together, that's when you get a really accurate picture." He did refuse to speak specifically about payroll and a couple of onerous contracts, such as Alfonso Soriano's. "I have a personal policy never to comment on player payroll issues," he said.

But Epstein did speak as to the best age to have a player in the fold.

"I think that there's a prime age for players. Maybe from 26 or 27 to 32, when you get the best production and bang for your buck," Epstein said. "If we do our job in the right way, we should have the most players in their prime, hopefully home-grown players moving in to their prime. And there's certainly a role for veterans, but we'll pay for future performance, not for past performance."

One could argue Epstein didn't do this in Boston, when he handed out large contracts to John Lackey and Carl Crawford. Crawford will only get two of his prime years in town and one of them was a disaster. However, Epstein didn't say he was going to follow that line of thinking completely -- only have an overall emphasis on it. That remained true in Boston, even with the signings of Lackey and Crawford, among others.

You can expect Wrigley Field to eventually undergo changes much like Fenway Park. Epstein hinted that upgrading the stadium would lend itself to more revenue.

Near the end of the press conference, Epstein references the movie Office Space as to what his last two weeks were like in Boston. "I felt like the guy in the movie Office Space, who kept showing up and nobody told him he didn't work there anymore," Epstein said. "So, I did end up in the basement with my cubicle and stapler, and I knew it was time to go to Chicago."

Stay tuned to Eye on Baseball as Boston will have its own conference at 3 p.m. ET to announce the ascension of Ben Cherington to Epstein's vacated GM spot.

Read up on the Theo Epstein madness here.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 25, 2011 10:53 am
Edited on: October 25, 2011 12:35 pm

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein speaks on departure


By Evan Brunell

On the day that Theo Epstein will be named president of the Chicago Cubs, leaving the Red Sox after 10 seasons, he wrote an op-ed that appeared in the Boston Globe, in which he addressed questions as to why he left -- and in the process, may have shaped his upcoming press conference at 12 p.m. ET announcing the move to Chicago to be more about the Cubs, not the Red Sox, with many answers provided in the piece.

"The reason I am leaving has nothing to do with power, pressure, money, or relationships. It has nothing to do with September, either," Epstein wrote, noting that he felt Boston should have an explanation for why he was leaving -- and felt his own 12-year-old self would appreciate such an explanation too, relaying a story of how crushed he was when the Red Sox lost the 1986 World Series.

Among Epstein's notes are that he was planning on leaving Boston after 2012 and grooming Ben Cherington for the role, but found the challenge of the Cubs too enticing, thereby leaving a year earlier than intended. Epstein says he never would have made the move if he didn't believe Cherington was qualified to step in, saying "If not for the complete confidence I have in Ben to address these issues, I could not in good conscience leave the organization at this time. But there is no one in baseball more qualified to be the next general manager of the Red Sox." Epstein also said Cherington was "infinitely" more prepared to be GM than Epstein was in 2003, noting the many varied roles Cherington has held with the Red Sox since 1999.

Epstein also drew parallels between his own search for a new manager after Grady Little was let go following the 2003 season and the current search, saying that his bonding experience with eventual hire Terry Francona, who left the organization as well after 2011, was huge and Epstein did not want to deprive Cherington of that same connection with the eventual manager. Given that the plan was already in place to have Cherington succeed Epstein after 2012 -- a discussion that began in earnest in the summer when the Red Sox were in the midst of a 81-42 surge that left them with the best record in baseball for an extended period of time.

A major reason why Epstein felt comfortable leaving the Red Sox -- both after the season and after 2012 -- is due to Bill Walsh, one-time head coach of the San Francisco 49ers who passed away in 2007 as one of the greatest football coaches in the history of the sport.

"Football legend Bill Walsh used to say that coaches and executives should seek change after 10 years with the same team," Epstein wrote. "The theory is that both the individual and the organization benefit from a change after so much time together. The executive gets rebirth and the energy that comes with a new challenge; the organization gets a fresh perspective, and the chance for true change that comes with new leadership."

Epstein had incredibly glowing words for the organization on the way out, saying that the 7-20 September that destroyed the season for the Red Sox will serve "as an anomaly in the midst of a decades-long run of success for the franchise. Some good may even come from it." Some of that good is already on display, Epstein saying that the players he spoke to after the season are "predicating" themselves this winter while management plans to raise several standards. "September happened despite [the owners], not because of them," Epstein said of principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner and president Larry Lucchino. Some have speculated as to whether Lucchino's relationship with Epstein was part of the reason the GM left. Lucchino mentored Epstein in Baltimore and San Diego before bringing him to Boston, but the two had a public fallout in 2005 when Epstein briefly resigned as GM at the end of October before returning a month later with more power. Epstein says he has "close" relationships with Henry and Werner, but put Lucchino in another category, saying his relationship with Lucchino was "complicated but ultimately productive and rewarding."

These words doesn't sound like a man desperate to leave Boston, but as Epstein explains, the reason he left one year earlier than intended was simply because the opportunity was too good to pass up.

"The Cubs -- with their passionate fans, dedicated ownership, tradition, and World Series drought -- represented the ultimate new challenge and the one team I could imagine working for after such a fulfilling Red Sox experience," Epstein wrote.

"I won’t be there, but the 12-year-old in me will be rooting for the Red Sox (except, of course, when they play the Cubs in June)."

Read up on the Theo Epstein madness here.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 9:49 pm
Edited on: October 24, 2011 1:31 pm

Red Sox, Cubs must complete Theo deal by Nov. 1

By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox and Cubs must decide on compensation for GM Theo Epstein soon to avoid Bud Selig stepping in, as Scott Miller of CBSSports.com reported Saturday.

Selig told Comcast New England that he has set a November 1 deadline for the teams to agree.  

"They have until Nov. 1 -- Theo and [incoming Red Sox GM Ben Cherington] and all the other parties involved," Selig said.

Now that Epstein has officially moved to the Cubs, he will be negotiating with his former colleague Cherington. 

"Hopefully they can get things done," Selig added. "I always encourage clubs to try to get things done between themselves. Somehow, the commissioner has enough things of controversy [to deal with]. They'll either get it done or they won't. If they don't, then I will."

And so we're all on the same page, Selig stepping in isn't revealing a particular agenda. Well, it is, but only that he wants this transaction to be over wiith. 

Click here to stay on top of all the Theo Epstein news.

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Posted on: October 23, 2011 2:37 pm
Edited on: October 23, 2011 2:38 pm

Ex-Red Sox GM Epstein thanks team, fans in ad

By Evan Brunell

Theo Epstein, the outgoing Red Sox GM, took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe to thank the Red Sox and its fans for his 10 years in town.

After nine seasons as GM, Epstein is moving on to take over the Cubs job, becoming president and luring former assistant Jed Hoyer from his GM job in San Diego to fill the same position in Chicago. You can read more about the Theo-to-Cubs madness here. Despite leaving, Epstein's reputation hasn't suffered in Boston as many have come out with favorable reviews for his time in Boston. He doesn't appear to be getting much flak for leaving, especially after Boston's 7-20 September dropped them out of the playoffs and sparked a firestorm largely centered around pitchers drinking beer during games.

Below is Epstein's advertisement, as seen on the Boston Globe:

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Posted on: October 21, 2011 11:31 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 11:50 pm

Epstein leaving? Don't worry, Red Sox


By Evan Brunell

The Red Sox empire was torn asunder Friday night as Boston, in a joint press release with the Chicagop Cubs, officially announced that GM Theo Epstein was resigning in Boston and signing on in Chicago.

No one could have imagined this when the year began: the Red Sox's disgraced team stumbling to the end, capping in a sullen Jonathan Papelbon departure from the mound, claiming the lives of Terry Francona, who aged 50 years in eight seasons, and boy wonder Epstein, who is hightailing it to Chicago, desperate for a challenge. The Red Sox, who had once won two rings in a four-year span and looked like a superfranchise for a while there, couldn't hold together under explosive circumstances and, and have detonated spectacularly. Beer drinking. Clubhouse problems. Conditioning issues. Then, Francona, a manager who may or may not have had ownership backing walked away, followed by the greatest architect in BoSox history. Epstein, departs for a challenge that could land him in the baseball annals for life ... if he makes good.

And yet, funny thing is, the Red Sox will be just fine.

There is rightful doom and gloom in Boston these days. This Red Sox team will be rememberd for a long time, and not in a complimentary way. But despite the beating the Red Sox have sustained this offseason, there is still plenty of light, too. For one, the ownership is still here -- the people who have poured bag of money after bag of money into the club and let the baseball people do what they do best. Their brain trust is so strong, they resisted any overtures to allow baseball operations folks to follow Epstein to Chicago. And that could have saved a serious amount of talent -- just look at who Epstein swiped instead... current Padres GM Jed Hoyer and assistant GM Josh Bynes. No, really.

That's because there's a lot to like about the new front office, which will have Ben Cherington heading the department. Mike Hazen, Craig Shipley and Amiel Sawdaye are all rising stars. When's the last time that happened in Boston? When Epstein's regime began. And these men have studied at the feet of Epstein from the ground up, and assistant GM Allard Baird has developed into a valuable confidant. They are part of a front office that has a player-development machine humming along quite nicely, and despite Epstein's rather copious free-agency missteps as of late, are still learned from one of the best in player acquisition. That's not to say that there won't be changes. Cherington is known to be more patient than Epstein, and we don't know how that might impact the team.

Whatever patience Cherington has, Boston's farm system is starting to show signs of fruit once more, after the high minors slumped the last two seasons. The prospect tree is led by third baseman Will Middlebrooks, and incumbent third baseman Kevin Youkilis can already hear Middlebrooks' stampede coming.

So, while Epstein's departure creates a huge void, the right processes are already in place to continue winning.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 21, 2011 10:08 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2011 10:55 pm

Epstein resigns from Red Sox, takes over Cubs

Theo Epstein

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cubs and Red Sox have released a joint statement to announce Theo Epstein has resigned from his position as the general manager of the Red Sox to become the President of Baseball Operations for the Cubs, effective immediately. An official press conferences will be held on Tuesday, both in Chicago and in Boston. Epstein will be introduced in Chicago, while the Boston news conference will be to name Epstein's successor, expected to be current assistant GM Ben Cherrington.

While the teams have not agreed upon compensation, they have "reached an agreement regarding a process by which appropriate compensation will be determined for the Red Sox and that issue will be resolved in the near term."

Epstein drama

While it's been expected for about a week that Epstein would take over the Cubs, but the issue of compensation has held up the deal. Although the deal may be done, it won't be announced until Tuesday because Major League Baseball will not allow teams to make major announcements during the World Series, or at least on the same day as games. Tuesday will be the next travel day, if the series isn't wrapped up in five games -- and if it is, Tuesday would be the first day after the World Series.

Epstein is expected to be joined in Chicago by Padres general manager Jed Hoyer, who will hold the same title with the Cubs. Former Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes is expected to take over in San Diego. There's still the question of whether the Padres will require compensation for Hoyer's departure, something CBSSports.com senior writer Scott Miller reported earlier was expected. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday that the Padres have granted the Cubs permission to speak to Hoyer and assistant GM Jason McLeod. Dan Hayes of the North County Times tweets that the Padres and Cubs have already agreed to a list of Cubs prospects for the Padres to choose from for compensation and that besides Hoyer and McLeod, no other Padres officials will be headed to Chicago.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 21, 2011 1:11 am
Edited on: October 21, 2011 1:12 am

Selig says extra wild cards could happen in 2012

Bud SeligBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Bud Selig said Thursday playoff expansion could still happen as soon as 2012, and also that he is worried about the attendance in Tampa Bay, as MLB's commissioner spoke to Christopher Russo on SiriusXM's Mad Dog Radio.

"I have, if we can work all the details out, as it's part of the labor negotiations, I have hope that the wild card thing -- if we can work it out -- is ready for next year," Selig said.

When asked if he was optimistic that it could be agreed upon in time to be implemented for 2012, Selig said he was "optimistic" and that the deal would have to be done by Thanksgiving.

As for the Rays, Selig was less optimistic. He was asked about owner Stu Sterberg's postseason letter to season ticket holders saying he was worried about the team's attendance.

"I like (owner) Stu Sternberg a lot, as you know. I have a great deal of respect for him. He's a very thoughtful, very interesting guy, done a great job there, done a brilliant job there," Selig said (via the St. Petersburg Times). "I, too, am concerned about their attendance. I track attendance every day. He knows it. I've talked to him a lot. They are a wonderful organization, produced a terrific team this year and finished last in the American League in attendance. I'll let you draw your own conclusion. That's bad."

Selig was asked if the stadium situation in Tampa Bay was a "lost cause."

"I can't answer that yet, but I'm usually an optimist and I don't have any reason to be too optimistic," Selig said. 

Orlando's mayor spoke to the city's ABC affiliate, WFTV, and was asked if he would be receptive to the Rays relocating to Orlando.

"I'd certainly answer, and I'd want to explore that opportunity," Buddy Dyer said (via the Tampa Tribune).

He also said, "I think Major League Baseball could do better in Orlando." But Dyer said he'd really like an NFL team (good luck). 

However, Dyer said he wouldn't negotiate with the Rays unless negotiations in the Tampa Bay area failed and a spokesperson told the Tribune that Orlando has made no effort to lure the Rays.

Selig also said instant replay could be expanded to include fair and foul balls, but not other plays. He also said he may have to decide what kind of compensation the Red Sox get from the Cubs for Theo Epstein.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com