Tag:Theo Epstein
Posted on: December 4, 2010 2:31 am
Edited on: December 4, 2010 2:46 am

Red Sox in serious talks for SD's Adrian Gonzalez

The on-again, off-again talks between the Red Sox and the Padres involving Adrian Gonzalez, an oldie-but-goodie first discussed at the July trade deadline in 2009, are back on in a big way.

Sources with knowledge of the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com late Friday night that the two clubs are discussing a blockbuster that would send a package of prospects to the Padres in exchange for Gonzalez, the three-time All-Star who is entering the final year of his contract in 2011 before he becomes eligible for free agency.

The Red Sox, under general manager Theo Epstein, have taken multiple runs at acquiring Gonzalez going all the way back to '09. At this moment, they appear closer to landing the slugger than they ever have before. There were indications late Friday night that a deal possibly could even be reached before the clubs get too deep into next week's winter meetings that begin in Orlando on Monday.

Traveling parallel paths in looking for a big hitter, the Red Sox this week have spoken with free agents Jayson Werth, Carl Crawford and Adrian Beltre. With Kevin Youkilis reportedly working out at third base this winter, the Sox would have the flexibility, if they do not re-sign Beltre, to move Youkilis across the diamond and plug in Gonzalez at first base.

Of course, in negotiations, things are not always what they seem, and the Red Sox currently are juggling enough possibilities that a well-timed run at Gonzalez also could be designed to break the will of Beltre and cause him to lower his asking price and re-sign with them sooner rather than later. Theoretically, with Beltre in the fold, Youkilis would stay at first base and the Red Sox could turn away from the San Diego talks.

However, late Friday night, that's not the way Boston appeared to be moving. Conversations with the Padres were said to have gained momentum throughout the day on Friday.

While neither San Diego general manager Jed Hoyer nor Gonzalez could be reached for comment, a couple of things are in play here:

One, Gonzalez, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder after the season ended, has not given any indication that he's amenable to signing a long-term deal with San Diego for a discounted price.

And two, the Padres, surprise winners of 90 games in 2010, likely realize that their optimal time to move him is now, when they surely would receive a bigger package of players in return than they would in July, when Gonzalez might be a three-month rental for a contending team.

While trading Gonzalez would be a public relations disaster for a San Diego club whose attendance already was disappointing in 2010, the Padres have been taking on water this winter, anyway.

Already, they've lost three key pieces from a team that managed to stay in contention all the way to the last day of last season: Pitcher Jon Garland has signed with the division-rival Dodgers, infielder Miguel Tejada has signed with the division-rival Giants and catcher Yorvit Torrealba has fled to Texas.

As things stand now, the Padres have serious holes in their rotation and in their middle infield. And the 2011 payroll is not projected to rise much beyond the low $40 millions. In 2010, only the Pirates had a lower payroll than San Diego.

Consequently, despite their surprise season in 2010, the Padres appear to be veering more toward rebuilding with young pieces -- witness their acquisition of outfielder Cameron Maybin from Florida earlier this winter -- than toward contending again.

Much as it would be unpalatable to the local fans to see Gonzalez, a San Diego native, dealt, he currently appears on a dead-end course with the Padres, and trading him clearly is their best shot at quickly accumulating three or four players who would either be major-league ready, or help fertilize the upper-levels of a weak farm system.

Among the Red Sox's prospects who would be the most attractive to San Diego are pitcher Casey Kelly, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Jose Iglesias and outfielder Ryan Kalish.

Hoyer, who just completed his first season as Padres' GM, and his assistant Jason McLeod, each worked under Epstein in Boston through the end of the 2009 season. As scouting director for the Red Sox, McLeod knows their system exceedingly well. The Epstein-Hoyer relationship is another reason why many in the industry have predicted Gonzalez would wind up in Fenway Park since Hoyer replaced Kevin Towers in the GM's chair.

Though the Padres picked up Gonzalez's $5.5 million contract for 2011, there remain no indications that he will be a San Diego lifer. Gonzalez is looking for Ryan Howard-Mark Teixeira-Albert Pujols money, a six- or seven-year deal worth somewhere north of $20 million a year.

The Padres sent strong signals that they intended to trade Gonzalez last year until their unexpectedly good season caused them to keep that team together. Though Gonzalez is a local hero and a highly popular Hispanic player for a team that draws from Mexico, there were zero promotions for Gonzalez during the 2010 season. No cover of the media guide, no bobble-head nights, no posters, nothing. It was a strong signal that he was not in their long-term plans.

Gonzalez last year batted .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBI despite being bothered by a damaged right shoulder beginning in May. With two good shoulders in '09, Gonzalez crushed 40 home runs with 99 RBI.

With numbers like that in the cavernous Petco Park, you can't blame the Red Sox for dreaming about the damage the lefty swinging Gonzalez could do in Fenway Park -- especially with David Ortiz moving into the, ahem, twilight of his career.

Some 16 months after the Red Sox first started talking with the Padres about Gonzalez, they appear closer than ever to making that happen. And they still would have money left for either Werth or Crawford.


Posted on: October 23, 2009 5:52 pm

Padres to name Jed Hoyer GM early next week

Jed Hoyer will be named as the next general manager of the San Diego Padres, according to CBSSports.com sources, with the official announcement expected to come early next week, probably Monday.

Hoyer, 35, currently Boston's senior vice-president and assistant GM, will replace Kevin Towers, who was the longest tenured GM in the game until he was fired at season's end.

The hire will be the second time that Jeff Moorad, San Diego's chief executive officer, has gone to Boston to hire a GM. Current Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes, like Hoyer, was an assistant under Red Sox GM Theo Epstein in Boston when Moorad hired him in Arizona in 2005.

The Padres' job will be Hoyer's first as the man in charge (though he did serve a 44-day stint as Boston's "co-GM" in '05 when Epstein briefly left the organization.

Hoyer was hired by the Red Sox in 2003, when he was just 28, and has since become one of Epstein's most trusted assistants. A native of Plymouth, N.H., and a 1996 graduate of Wesleyan University, Hoyer has aided Epstein in all aspects of Boston's baseball operations department including player acquisitions and evaluations and contract negotiations.

Hoyer also is a student of blending scouting and quantitative analysis, which is part of what Moorad clearly  meant when, in dismissing Towers after 14 seasons with the organization, he said he wanted a GM with more of a "strategic approach." At the time, he referred to Towers as a "gunslinger."

The Red Sox are noted for blending sabermatrics -- statistical analysis -- and scouting as well as any franchise in the game.

The Padres last season finished strong, compiling a winning record in August and September to go 75-87 and finish fourth in the NL West. Hoyer is said to have been impressed with the job manager Bud Black did as several other losing clubs, such as Pittsburgh, Washington and Kansas City, slogged through miserable Septembers.

He is, however, expected to make some changes in the baseball operations department. Among those who could be on their way out are Grady Fuston, vice-president of scouting and player development, and Bill "Chief" Gayton, the club's director of scouting. The Padres have had a string of several disappointing drafts over the past decade.

The status of executive vice-president Paul DePodesta, former Dodgers GM, is unclear. Before he left, former club president Sandy Alderson set DePodesta up with a three-year contract believed to be worth $800,000 annually that does not expire until after the 2011 season.

Kim Ng, the Dodgers' vice-president and assistant GM, also interviewed for the Padres job.

Hoyer played baseball while at Wesleyan, pitching and playing shortstop for a team that reached the NCAA Division III championship game.

The Red Sox celebrated Hoyer earlier Friday, ESPN's Peter Gammons tweeted, by holding a going away lunch for him.



Posted on: September 16, 2008 8:01 pm

Epstein, King Kong of a GM, ready for extension

It's a long way from fleeing Fenway Park in a gorilla suit all those years ago to becoming King of the Red Sox, but Boston general manager Theo Epstein, on the verge of signing a contract extension, is just about there.

Boy Wonder, Boy Genius, The Man ... call him what you want. He's been the architect of two World Series championship rosters in the past four seasons, with the strong possibility this year of making it three titles in five years.

Based on Boston's woeful October history before that, you'd think owner John Henry and Co. would be signing Epstein, who has made a series of brilliant moves again this year, to a lifetime contract any day now.

The contract part is about to come through, though maybe not quite a lifetime deal.


"I got a little ahead of where we are today in comments over what have been refreshingly private negotiations," Henry e-mailed in response to inquiries after he had e-mailed Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy earlier in the day that a deal essentially was done. "We are not done, but we expect to have an announcement in the near future.

"I have asked all involved not to comment until this is finalized."

So an impending extension for Epstein has turned from a poorly kept secret to a very poorly kept secret.

"I can't imagine being here without Theo," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "It should get done. I'm excited it's getting to that point.

"I'd love to say it's a done deal. I'd love to talk about it for awhile."

Francona said it "seems like" Epstein has met just about every goal he spoke of since he became the Red Sox GM in November, 2002 (pre-dating the manager's arrival by more than a year. Francona was hired before the 2004 season, during the fallout from the ill-fated Grady Little decision with Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the '03 ALCS).

The working relationship between Epstein and Francona has been one of many key pieces that has allowed the Red Sox to thrive more often than not over the past five seasons.

"When things get going real tough, it's nice to know he's there," Francona said. "When we're up against it, I know one guy I can go to and talk to, and I appreciate that."

Likes: Boston at Tampa Bay, a real, honest-to-goodness meaningful series in September. ... Boston's farm system. Dustin Pedroia and Jed Lowrie up the middle are outstanding. ... Direct TV on airlines. I had connected in Atlanta on Monday and was headed toward Florida when I clicked on the television on the seatback in front of me and read the crawl on the screen that said Milwaukee had fired Ned Yost. Nothing like being plugged in all the time, even at 30,000 feet. ... San Francisco when Tim Lincecum is pitching. ... Evan Longoria, back in the Tampa Bay lineup. ... Satellite radio in the rental car. ... Another fine story featuring Detective Dave Robicheaux in Swan Peak, the latest by James Lee Burke. The guy writes descriptively as well as anyone you'll read today. ... Read great things on the new disc by The Hold Steady. Can't wait to pick it up and hear it.

Dislikes: The Mets, Brewers, Diamondbacks, White Sox and Twins losing more often than not these days. Stretch runs are a whole lot more fun when everybody is winning, rather than working on backing into playoff spots. ... The middle seat on airplanes, especially on coast-to-coast flights. ... My iPod landing on the disabled list over the weekend. Not only was I crushed in a middle seat, I didn't even have tunes to get me through!

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"There oughta be a law with no bail
"Smash a guitar and you go to jail
"With no chance for early parole
"You don't get out until you get some soul"

-- John Hiatt, Perfectly Good Guitar

Posted on: February 24, 2008 4:27 pm

It's a game of timing ... and contracts

FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Among the politics of a manager's new contract -- and the specific example, of course, if that of Boston's Terry Francona -- is timing.

Managers hate going into a season with just one year left on a contract because if things start poorly, then the contract quickly becomes the story and they lose authority in the clubhouse. In a place like Boston, you can see where that could be a huge potential problem.

Francona certainly deserved the extension, having helped deliver two World Series titles in the past four seasons, and that he was going to get one really was never in question. He did, though, admit to a couple of nights of worry recently, before his three-year deal was finished.

And amid the relief of finally knocking it off, the first thing Francona spoke of Sunday was the relief he feels that the issue won't be dragging into the season -- or, even, any further this spring.

"None of us wanted this to go into what we're doing down here," Francona said. "There was a lot of hard work and we were able to get it done to where everyone was comfortable and we can concern ourselves with baseball -- which is what we should do."

General manager Theo Epstein said that the club wouldn't have let the talks drag into the season.

He also offered an interesting insight into how he's seen Francona grow into the job since 2004, Francona's first season in Boston.

"Where he's grown, I think, is in dealing with confrontation," Epstein said. "That's one area that doesn't come naturally to him. I've seen him through the years become more and more comfortable saying what needs to be said, especially in the clubhouse to players."

Francona is a nice guy who was genuinely embarrassed -- to a degree -- by the negotiations.

"I'm not very comfortable doing this," he said. "The minute (the negotiations) started, I wanted it to be over, and that's just not practical."

Likes: The Marlins looking for "plus-size" guys (read: fat guys) to form an all-male cheerleading cast (to be called the Manatees) on Friday and Saturday nights. How great is that? ... The Brewers setting a single-day ticket record by selling 98,000 of them for the 2008 season. Nice to see people care about baseball in Milwaukee again -- and nice to see the Brewers give them something to care about. ... Nearly 2,000 folks at Boston's practice facility watching the Red Sox's first day of full-squad workouts the other day. And the 1,500 or so folks who came to watch the pitchers and catchers work out for a few days running. ... No, I don't think the Mitchell Report or steroids has dampened enthusiasm for the game. ... Seeing a Toyota Prius hybrid and a Hummer H2 parked next to each other at Boston's facility the other day. ... Memphis-Tennesee on Saturday night. Great ending. ... The Drift Inn near Bradenton Beach. Met a friend there the other night, and what a wild place that is.

Dislikes: Hey Florida, how about you join many other states and pass a law prohibiting smoking in public buildings (restaurants and bars, especially)?

Sunblock day? Absolutely beautiful here Sunday. Warm sun and 80-some odd degrees.

Rock-n-Roll lyric of the day:

"I started as an altar boy
"Working at the church
"Learning all my holy moves
"Doing some research
"Which led me to a cash box
"Labeled 'Children's Fund'
"I'd leave the change
"And tuck the bills inside my cummerbund"

-- Warren Zevon, Mr. Bad Example

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