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Theo Epstein Newsbeat

Thursday, January 28, 2016

THE CASE FOR NOT EXTENDING THEO EPSTEIN

That was only a bit over four years ago, and Epstein has done a borderline miraculous job of running the Cubs over that span. So I understand why it caused waves, two weeks ago or so, when I suggested on Twitter that the Cubs might be wisest to shelve the much-discussed idea of extending Epstein’s contract beyond 2016, and to move on. As insane and radical as it sounds, though, I still think that. My goal today is to show you why.

—-

The Cubs are going to be very, very good over the next five years. Almost any credible executive can safely guide this team through the next phase of its growth, because the cornerstones (and for that matter, most of the capstones) are in place already. That doesn’t mean that Epstein has outlived his usefulness in Chicago, and the moves he makes between now and the end of the season (a big trade to supplement a World Series hopeful? The most challenging Draft of his tenure? One or two high-profile, or several medium-sized, Cuban amateur additions? Maybe all of the above) will be important. There might be no one better-suited to make them.

Epstein remains an excellent baseball executive, and if he’s here for five more years, the Cubs will profit from his presence. A section of the article on the DARPA model discussed “A special breed of leader,” and many of the attributes listed could be a specific description of Epstein. “They need to have deep technical or scientific knowledge,” the authors write, “be natural risk takers, and be thought leaders who can create a vision that inspires an entire community.” That’s Epstein in a nutshell. The Cubs are the league’s most aggressive, flexible, opportunistic and systematic organization right now, and they owe much of that to Epstein’s leadership.

—-

Epstein is a tremendous front-office talent, but he’d be a very expensive one to retain, and the groundwork he has laid ought to allow even slightly less talented replacements to thrive. It’s not that Epstein doesn’t deserve to enjoy his success, revel in it, or be praised for it long after he leaves. It’s just that the Cubs have a chance to be more than a great team. They have a chance to change baseball for the better, in many ways. Opening up the organization to an entirely new perspective, perhaps even from someone in another field of endeavor altogether, could foment that possibility. In my opinion, before they commit to the second five years with Epstein, the Cubs should seriously consider their alternatives, and be willing to take the risk of changing direction in search of the next mountaintop.


Friday, December 11, 2015

IT’S THE CUBS’ WORLD NOW

Not to spoil the ending, but:

But the Cardinals aren’t doomed. They still have a solid lineup, a solid rotation and a solid bullpen, and you’d have to think they’ll add somebody. But for years, some fans have claimed, wrongly, that Cardinals-Cubs isn’t a real rivalry because the Cards have always been so much better than the Cubs. This, not coincidentally, is the same thing Yankees fans used to say about the Red Sox, before Epstein took over there as well. Now, some have said, in the wake of the Cubs’ signing of Heyward, that this ratchets up the rivalry.

But if anything, I believe it dampens it. Even before Friday, the Cubs were a better team than the Cardinals in just about every way. Now that the Cubs took the Cardinals’ best player, the gap between these teams have widened. If anyone needs to prove this is a rivalry, it’s the fading Cardinals.

Moses Taylor, Optimist Posted: December 11, 2015 at 04:22 PM | 99 comment(s)
  Beats: best fans in baseball, cardinals, cubs, free agents, theo epstein

Monday, November 16, 2015

Ranking baseball’s top 10 GMs — yes, Cashman makes the list

Ruben Amaro is not eligible for this list, since he was fired.

5. Brian Cashman

Ah, yes. Mr. Cashman. The mere refusal to advocate for his immediate firing draws venom from many fan corners. The Yankees haven’t won a playoff game since 2012, for crying out loud!
Look at the other names on this list. Only Mozeliak can relate to Cashman on one very important career track: In 18 years on the job, not once has Cashman made a “sell” trade, nor has he picked in the top half of the draft. Every other man ranked here has benefited greatly from playing the long game. Never has Cashman enjoyed an opportunity to do that. The decision to go crazy two winters ago, bringing aboard Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka — as opposed to ramping it down upon the retirement of the Core Four — was driven by ownership, and it also reinforces the considerable financial room for error that Cashman possesses.

What Cashman re-established last winter, though, is he has a pretty good feel for what he’s doing as he tries to balance the Yankees’ short-term and long-term ambitions. The acquisitions of Nathan Eovaldi and Didi Gregorius both look strong, as does the call to let David Robertson go to the White Sox, get the compensation draft pick and sign Andrew Miller for less money; the Yankees now have 15 postseason appearances in Cashman’s reign. And the farm system is producing again after its notable drought. The Yankees probably will never replicate their 1996-2000 postseason success; the Core Four will go down as the best quartet to debut in the same season in the history of professional sports, and the other teams have gotten smarter and richer. Yet Cashman has the Yankees on a track to be back in the mix every season.


Sunday, November 08, 2015

Lessons learned, Chicago Cubs ready to move forward

Guiding the future by the past, Hoyer said he took away a couple of things from the Cubs’ season and postseason.

“To me, it underscores two things: the value of winning your division,” he said. “We won the one-game (wild-card) playoff. The nature of that game, it makes you want to win your division and get right to your five-game series.

“The second take-away is you have to get there every year or almost every year because what you really want is to be that team, the hottest team. The Royals got really hot after they were almost eliminated by the Astros, and they rolled through people.

“You make it every year, and you have much better odds of being that hot team that can sustain three series.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 08, 2015 at 10:34 AM | 19 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jed hoyer, theo epstein

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Theo Epstein: Free Agent Soothsayer | FanGraphs Baseball

If winning were easy, everybody would be doing it.

If you don’t really have a truly unique viewpoint, of course you follow the success of others. Don’t get me wrong. We all should strive to learn new things. The difference, though, between people who truly understand the lessons of Moneyball and those who don’t is, the enlightened ones get that it’s easier to chart your course in a different direction from everybody else. If they zig, you zag. If everybody is ignoring OBP, you get OBP guys. If everybody starts signing OBP guys, you look for defense, toolsy players, and/or contact hitters. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. The people who misunderstand this lesson are fixed onto the course of the 2000ish Athletics or worse. The Royals were clearly targeting toolsy, contact players while many teams were looking for *Moneyball* players.

Another aspect of the Royals Plan™ will be very difficult to replicate, however. The Royals set out on a course with a verrrry long-term perspective. I don’t know too many people who don’t agree that thinking long-term is smart. The problem is, not every ownership group has the patience and the fanbase to support such a plan. Even the *enlightened* Red Sox lost patience with Ben Cherington, and that was with a World Series Championship under his belt.

To what degree, though, will the complexion of that Kansas City club, and the means by which it was built, actually influence Dombrowski’s choices this offseason when considering how to construct his own major-league roster? And to what degree will it influence other front offices? If the Royals win the World Series and become the chosen franchise to emulate, can we expect relievers to command top dollar, maybe more than otherwise? To find teams clamoring for contact-oriented athletes? A secret trustworthy source thinks so. Okay, fine, it’s Theo Epstein. Here’s what Epstein said to reporters this past Monday.

The only thing I know for sure is whatever team wins the World Series their particular style of play will be completely in vogue and trumpeted from the rooftops by the media all offseason — and in front offices — as the way to win. If we win the World Series it’s going to be a necessity for every team to develop their own core of young, homegrown position players. If the Mets win it will be required that you have four ridiculous young starting pitchers on the same staff. If the Royals win you need to have speed and athleticism and contact up and down your lineup. If the Blue Jays win you need to fill your lineup with righthanded, epic mashers and make a huge trade at the deadline.

It’s tempting to say Epstein is overstating the case. After all, are MLB teams, ridiculously rich enterprises increasingly run by the cream of the Ivy League, really so susceptible to something as frivolous as who wins a single four-game series? Hell if I know, but even if I did know I’d take Theo Epstein’s opinion over mine. And faced with a choice between conducting a tedious study to verify the truth of his claim or just blindly accepting it blindly, well, in Theo we trust, eh?

Jim Furtado Posted: October 25, 2015 at 10:26 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: general managers, team building, theo epstein

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Expect arms race for Cubs in the hunt for more Octobers | Chicago Sun-Times

It’s already next year at Wrigley.

Specifically, it’s on the front office to – as Theo Epstein has repeatedly said – “not screw it up.”

And mostly that’s about building enough starting pitching depth to keep climbing the NL Central ladder and to better withstand a team like the Mets next time they see October.

It’s the obvious, highest priority of the offseason for a front office that already was far down the road in planning and targets even before Jason Hammel was shelled in the first inning and booed off the field in Wednesday’s elimination game at Wrigley Field.

“It’s something we can attack with a vengeance this off-season,” said team president Epstein during a media session Thursday in which he outlined needs and goals looking ahead at 2016.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2015 at 09:30 AM | 49 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, theo epstein

Thursday, October 08, 2015


Theo Epstein rewards baseball department for job well done - Chicago Tribune

“I love numbers,” manager Joe Maddon said. “God, I love numbers, though I was horrible in math. Algebra III. Second semester of Algebra II was my Waterloo, to be honest with you. Algebra III and Trig could have been Latin or Greek, it wouldn’t matter to me. But I do love numbers.

“Beyond that I really like people and humans and what makes this guy tick? And I don’t think that because you can’t necessarily quantify it, it’s not as popular of a way to acquire a player, but it really matters. It really matters right now in our clubhouse. But I guess my point is it’s a combination of skillful young players that everybody saw coming along. But I don’t believe we would be here without the appropriate seasoning among the veterans.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2015 at 08:00 AM | 43 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, playoffs, theo epstein

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cubs poised to return to the postseason, thanks to Theo Epstein | NBC SportsWorld

In the GM portion of our links today…Theo Epstein.

Jim Furtado Posted: September 17, 2015 at 02:32 PM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, general managers, theo epstein

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Levine: Theo Epstein, Cubs Are A Long-Term Match « CBS Chicago

Why can’t the Red Sox get great GMs like Theo Epstein?

Jim Furtado Posted: August 23, 2015 at 09:53 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, general managers, theo epstein

 

 

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