Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Theo Epstein leaves the Red Sox

In case you missed it, Theo announced yesterday that he was leaving the Red Sox. He has no immediate plans for the future, but he ''... will embrace this change in my life and look forward with excitement to the future."

Theo signed up in 2002 as the youngest GM in baseball history. It took him only 23 months to win a world series. He rebuilt the farm system, kept the Sox in the playoffs every year, signed Ortiz to a ridiculously low (for a baseball player with his power) paying contract, and went to the Schillings for Thanksgiving in order to get him to come to Boston. He signed Keith Foulke (who was, arguably, the MVP of the World Series, made the highly courageous move to trade the extremely popular Nomar, and waived Manny over the past summer.

But in the end, according to reports on the radio (WEEI), the boston globe and the herald, Theo decided despite the 4.5 million dollar 3 year deal on the table, that he couldn't live with Larry's interference in the everyday affairs. With negotiations details being leaked to the press, Theo reportedly had had enough. The other theory being floated was that Theo is feeling uncomfortable with his fame. Either way, it was hugely courageous of him to leave 4.5 million on the table. Maybe he feels he can make more somewhere else. Maybe he was insulted with the Sox's first offer. Maybe he was just too sensitive about the news stories.

The only two people who know the real story are Theo and Larry. And they probably won't talk about it. I feel that Theo, if he did talk, would try to be as honest as he always has been. But at the same time, I expect he won't lob any big bombs as he leaves. I'm not so sure about Larry and considering he's the one guy left standing in the front office, that's not a good sign for the Sox in a PR sense.

Lajoie, one of Epstein's top advisers, resigned within minutes of Epstein doing so. It's possible that other baseball operations employees will also exit, especially given that assistant GM Josh Byrnes left to become the GM in Arizona last week and will be assembling a staff.

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