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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Farrell trade shows Ben Cherington is back in charge. | SportsonEarth : Jorge Arangure Article

Boston ownership has shown so much empirical authority recently that it seems like a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, that Larry Lucchino labeled the Yankees as the Evil Empire for having the same qualities the Red Sox now exhibit. It’s as if Boston’s earlier success empowered the Fenway group to believe it could do whatever it wanted, and it would work. John Henry, Lucchino and Tom Werner are smart and successful men, but sometimes smart and successful men must also know when to back away. Such an attitude sunk the Baltimore Orioles for years when Peter Angelos—an intelligent, successful, caring (ask anyone who really knows him) man—would constantly inject himself too closely into his team’s on-field affairs. Orioles fans endured 14 years of ineptitude.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2012 at 08:08 AM | 81 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox

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   1. Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4281422)
Is back in charge or might finally be in charge?
   2. Bob Tufts Posted: October 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM (#4281501)
I wish this entire retrospective on Valentine's tenure would end.

It was simple. Players were abusing the priviliges granted by Francona. Then they topped it off by playing poorly and blowing a playoff spot in September 2011. (You can do what you want as long as you win - Mets 1986!). Action had to be taken to keep the fans happy.

The traditional response by senior management to this situation is to change from a laid back to the anal compulsive law and order control person to crack down on the players. The Red Sox veteran player's response - they didn't buy into it and openly revolted. Solution - get rid of players and manager and start over. (Firing another manager and not unloading some of the players would have been impossible.)

And after the earlier Epstein/Lucchino kerfuffle when Epstein wanted more business control and Lucchino wanted more player involvement (and John Henry clearly delinated their responsibilities and limits), no decison or input by one senior manegement person (Lucchino) would result in a hiring or trade.

Epstein got what he wanted after the 2011 debacle - he left, got a significant pay raise and got powers denied him by Boston's ownership - and no one is talking about the disastrous free agent deals he orhcestrated in Boston.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4281574)
Epstein got what he wanted after the 2011 debacle - he left, got a significant pay raise and got powers denied him by Boston's ownership - and no one is talking about the disastrous free agent deals he orhcestrated in Boston.


People have been talking about those deals for all of 2011 and 2012.
   4. Bob Tufts Posted: October 24, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4281591)
People have been talking about those deals for all of 2011 and 2012.


Not in Chicago. They could care less and blindly believe that slightly older boy wonder will break a second "curse".
   5. The District Attorney Posted: October 24, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4281600)
Bob, what exactly are you getting at here? Are you arguing that Theo left the Red Sox in such a bad state that Valentine was bound to fail? I really think that Valentine's faults went well beyond that. I think it's unlikely that Valentine would have been fired just for posting a generic bad record. He was fired for losing control of the clubhouse to an extent rarely seen.
   6. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4281601)
Not in Chicago. They could care less and blindly believe that slightly older boy wonder will break a second "curse".

Yes this, many times over. Theo Epstein inherited a great organization (100 pythag wins) and left it far worse off than he found it.(*) There's no reason to believe he can take a bad organization and make it great, and his first year in Chicago was an abject disaster -- notwithstanding the fact that the saddled-with-Stockholm-Syndrome fans are giving him something of a pass.

He got out while the getting was good in Boston. 2012 was when the dysfunction and deficiencies in the organization he built came home to roost.

(*) And the guy he replaced showed significant chops with his work resurrecting the Orioles this year. By any serious measurement, Dan Duquette has done Grade A work with three organizations, each with different resources and structures. Extremely well-played.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:00 PM (#4281606)
Yes this, many times over. Theo Epstein inherited a great organization (100 pythag wins) and left it far worse off than he found it.


I would dispute this, but I guess it depends on how much of the dysfunction you lay at his feet. I think the fact that the dysfunction continued to get worse in 2012 alleviates some of his blame for the dysfunction.

And also, if they team he inherited was so great, why could they never achieve 95 wins or any postseason success? By the time they won the world series, 5 of the 9 lineup spots and a huge chunk of the pitching staff were filled by Theo acquisitions.
   8. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:04 PM (#4281608)
And also, if they team he inherited was so great, why could they never achieve 95 wins or any postseason success?

They did have postseason success, and the postseason is a crapshoot anyway.

He left the team far worse off than he found it, even if you don't lay all the 2012 dysfunction at his feet. I'm not sure how he'd define the "sustained success" he's purportedly building the Cubs to achieve, but the Red Sox as he built them were not built for it.
   9. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:05 PM (#4281609)
Tony Clark - Adrian Gonzalez - Edge: Theo
Rey Sanchez - Dustin Pedroia - Edge: Theo
Nomar - Marco Scutaro - Edge: Pre-Theo
Shea Hillenbrand - Kevin Youkilis - Edge: Theo
Manny Ramirez - Carl Crawford - Edge: Pre-Theo
Johnny Damon - Jacoby Ellsbury - Edge: Wash
Trot Nixon - Josh Reddick - Edge: Wash
Jason Varitek - Jarrod Saltalamacchia - Edge: Pre-Theo
Brian Daubach - David Ortiz - Edge: Theo
Pedro, Lowe, Wake, Burkett, Castillo - Lester, Beckett, Buchholz, Lackey, Doubront - Edge: Pre-Theo

Very quick and dirty that's 4-4-2. At the very least that sure as hell isn't "far worse." Theo made his mistakes and he deserves criticism for them but the Sox were not some kind of doomed entity twelve months ago. Had they not run around like the Three Stooges after a twelve pack of Red Bull after the collapse of 2011 they'd have been fine.

EDIT: If you want to quibble with some of the "Edge" that I gave that's fine. I don't think it changes the underlying story though. "Far worse" is an overreach.
   10. McCoy Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4281613)
Not in Chicago. They could care less and blindly believe that slightly older boy wonder will break a second "curse".

Come again?
   11. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4281615)
Very quick and dirty that's 4-4-2. At the very least that sure as hell isn't "far worse."

I'm pretty much in the camp of "you are what your record says you are," and the Red Sox record was worse this year than in any year since the mid-60s. Moreover, three of his signature acquisitions were jettisoned for nothing.

Theo also established the "cult of the GM" organizational philosophy, which ran roughshod over the organization this year, with the consistent player ########, the failure of the front office to support Valentine, the failure of the front office to let Valentine pick his own coaches, and everything else. That philosophy also likely led to the rash dismissal of Francona, as it was indicative of siding with the pampered, prima donna players over the manager -- another decision that proved disastrous.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:13 PM (#4281622)
They did have postseason success, and the postseason is a crapshoot anyway.


??? What? They didn't go to the postseason in 2000, or in 2001, or in 2002. Theo didn't inherit 1999 Pedro and 1999 Nomar.
   13. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4281623)
The Red Sox record was worse this year than in any year since the mid-60s


Moreover, three of his signature acquisitions were jettisoned for nothing.


These two things aren't independent. The Red Sox record was so bad, in part, because they dumped Beckett, Gonzalez and Youkilis. Plus, the team was already vastly changed +Ross, Bailey and Melancon and -Reddick and Lowrie.
   14. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4281625)
These two things aren't independent. The Red Sox record was so bad, in part, because they dumped Beckett, Gonzalez and Youkilis. Plus, the team was already vastly changed +Ross, Bailey and Melancon and -Reddick and Lowrie.

I meant Crawford.
   15. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4281627)
I meant Crawford.


I know you did, but they also dumped Youkilis.
   16. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:16 PM (#4281628)
"you are what your record says you are," and the Red Sox record was worse this year than in any year since the mid-60s.


Yes they were. That they jettisoned a whole host of players from Theo's last team while hiring an absolutely horrible fit as manager seems relevant. They punted Reddick, they punted Lowrie, they punted Scutaro, they let Papelbon walk, they converted Bard to a starter then suffered through a rash of injuries to boot.
   17. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:18 PM (#4281631)
That they jettisoned a whole host of players from Theo's last team while hiring an absolutely horrible fit as manager seems relevant.

Valentine was an absolutely horrible fit because the organization was operating under the cult of the GM philosophy. Firing Francona was itself player-empowering, and that happened when Theo was there.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4281632)
I'm pretty much in the camp of "you are what your record says you are,"


...except when considering the 2002 Red Sox.

Valentine was an absolutely horrible fit because the organization was operating under the cult of the GM philosophy.


Valentine being forced on his GM (if that's what happened) seems the opposite of Cult of GM philosophy.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:19 PM (#4281634)
I'm pretty much in the camp of "you are what your record says you are,


Except for the part of the record that includes the franchise's only two WS titles in 90-plus years. I presume they don't count as part of Theo's record.

Things certainly got squirrely under Theo at the end, and he made some really serious errors that absolutely warrant criticism. Likewise, objective Red Sox fans know that Duke (and to a lesser extent Mike Port, the guy Theo actually replaced) contributed to the club's success.

But Theo's tenure in Boston surely featured more good than bad, a fact only a nutjob or a personal friend of someone with an ax to grind would dispute.

the failure of the front office to let Valentine pick his own coaches,


Good lord, I'm sick of this idiocy. If hiring his own coaches was so paramount to any success in Boston, then Bobby V should have made it a condition of his employment. If he thought it wasn't a roadblock to success at the time of his hiring, then I don't want to hear about it now.

   20. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4281637)
Firing Francona was itself player-empowering, and that happened when Theo was there.


I kind of doubt Theo was deciding on the 2012 manager a week before he left the team.
   21. Bob Tufts Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:28 PM (#4281641)
Bo Are you arguing that Theo left the Red Sox in such a bad state that Valentine was bound to fail? I really think that Valentine's faults went well beyond that. I think it's unlikely that Valentine would have been fired just for posting a generic bad record. He was fired for losing control of the clubhouse to an extent rarely seen.


Re: Theo - I am not arguning malicious intent, merely that victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.

Re: Valentine - Bringing in a "tough guy" manager as a reaction to preceived looseness (remember that Francona had supposedly "lost the clubhouse") is the traditional measure used. In this case, with so many veteran players I believe that the decision was truly doomed to fail. I would have hired a neutral external party - say, Tim Wallach - rather than Valentine - supported them in public on a daily basis and not given a damn about press buzz or how they handled the Boston media.

Re: Cubs fans. Do they really care that Gonzalez, Lackey and Crawford didn't pan out as expensive free agents? No, they only care about advancement of their franchise and are under the impression that Epsatein can reconstruct the organization. We will see in 3-5 years.
   22. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4281642)
Except for the part of the record that includes the franchise's only two WS titles in 90-plus years. I presume they don't count as part of Theo's record.

They count. But (a) the postseason is a crapshoot; (b) you'd have expected the Red Sox to win postseason series given the personnel and organization and resources he inherited; and (c) the organization wasn't built for "sustained success," as it fell off the face of the Earth this year.

But Theo's tenure in Boston surely featured more good than bad, a fact only a nutjob or a personal friend of someone with an ax to grind would dispute.


Of course. But, of course, he's held out as much more than that.

I kind of doubt Theo was deciding on the 2012 manager a week before he left the team.

He was part of the decision to fire Francona, if not the sole driver. That was a stupid decision, both on the merits, and because of the fact that it further empowered a bunch of brittle whiners -- the absolute last thing the 2012 Red Sox needed.
   23. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4281645)
No, they only care about advancement of their franchise and are under the impression that Epsatein can reconstruct the organization. We will see in 3-5 years.

There's little reason for optimism other than GM fanboyism, and the kind of things pointed to as "successes" in Epstein's first year at the helm are downright laughable.
   24. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:33 PM (#4281648)

There's little reason for optimism other than GM fanboyism, and the kind of things pointed to as "successes" in Epstein's first year at the helm are downright laughable.


The records and accomplishments of the Red Sox with Epstein as GM are clear and readily available for anyone to judge on their own merits. I would say they are easily enough to provide Cubs fans with some optimism.
   25. McCoy Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4281652)
Re: Cubs fans. Do they really care that Gonzalez, Lackey and Crawford didn't pan out as expensive free agents? No, they only care about advancement of their franchise and are under the impression that Epsatein can reconstruct the organization. We will see in 3-5 years.

I think it is fair to assume that an experienced GM can reconstruct the organization so I don't think that is a huge leap for fans to assume that.
   26. Bob Tufts Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:35 PM (#4281653)
The person that I feel "bad" for is Ben Cherington. He was temporary co-GM when Epstein went AWOL, was demoted back to his previous job then becomes GM and it is "suggested" that he hire Valentine as his first decision. Then the organization decides to destroy what hadn't fallen apart in mid-season of his first year as GM. I have no idea what his next 3-5 years will hold.
   27. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4281656)
They count. But (a) the postseason is a crapshoot; (b) you'd have expected the Red Sox to win postseason series given the personnel and organization and resources he inherited;


But this goes back to my earlier question: If what he inherited was so grand, why did those teams not even reach the playoffs - never mind have postseason success?
   28. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4281657)
The records and accomplishments of the Red Sox with Epstein as GM are clear and readily available for anyone to judge on their own merits. I would say they are easily enough to provide Cubs fans with some optimism.


He's being asked to do something fundamentally different with the Cubs than he did with the Red Sox. He didn't inherit a 100 pythag win team in Chicago, or anything close.
   29. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4281660)
But this goes back to my earlier question: If what he inherited was so grand, why did those teams not even reach the playoffs - never mind have postseason success?

Duquette's teams did make the playoffs, and won a postseason series. Not sure what you're asking.

The '02 team didn't make the playoffs, one would think, because 93 wins wasn't good enough.
   30. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4281665)
The person that I feel "bad" for is Ben Cherington. He was temporary co-GM when Epstein went AWOL, was demoted back to his previous job then becomes GM and it is "suggested" that he hire Valentine as his first decision. Then the organization decides to destroy what hadn't fallen apart in mid-season of his first year as GM. I have no idea what his next 3-5 years will hold.


I'm torn on Cherington. I think a lot of what went wrong this year was beyond his control (injuries and Bobby primarily) but at the same time I think he was quite poor with his personnel decisions. By all accounts the 2005 trade to acquire Lowell and Beckett was Lucchino's baby so the jury is still heavily out on Cherington. So far his big win is Cody Ross and his 1.6 WAR and that is offset by an awful lot of meaningful losses (which I'll admit in many cases were moves I thought were good at the time).
   31. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:41 PM (#4281667)
He's being asked to do something fundamentally different with the Cubs than he did with the Red Sox. He didn't inherit a 100 pythag win team in Chicago, or anything close.


Whatever else he did wrong in Boston and whatever was handed to him, he did draft and develop extremely well for his first 5 or 6 years. Papelbon, Pedroia, Buchholz, Ellsbury, Bard, Masterson and Middlebrooks (plus other useful parts like David Murphy and Lowrie) were drafted between 2003 and 2007.
   32. SoSH U at work Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:48 PM (#4281675)
Duquette's teams did make the playoffs, and won a postseason series. Not sure what you're asking.


They made the playoffs 3 of 7 seasons, failing in the last two years he was on board (Port's team failed to make the playoffs despite a very good season).

Under Duke, they won one playoff series, then got dispatched rapidly in the ALCS. Altogether, they went 5-12 in the playoffs.

Theo's teams went to the playoffs 6 of 9 years, winning two WS, losing twice in 7 in the championship series and getting swept twice in the ALDS. His teams went 34-22.

   33. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:51 PM (#4281679)
But this goes back to my earlier question: If what he inherited was so grand, why did those teams not even reach the playoffs - never mind have postseason success?


Duquette's teams did make the playoffs, and won a postseason series. Not sure what you're asking.


Just because the 1998-1999 teams were Duquette's does not mean that Theo inherited them. You keep talking about the 93-win 2002 team (not 100-win; I thought you hated 'winlets'..?) and if you want to go back in the past, they won 82 and 85 in 2001 and 2000.
   34. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4281682)
You keep talking about the 93-win 2002 team (not 100-win; I thought you hated 'winlets'..) and if you want to go back in the past, they won 82 and 85 in 2001 and 2000.

Winlets are useful in judging the true talent of an organization, but not much else.

Nor is there really a material difference between 100 and 93 wins for the purposes of this discussion. Theo inherited an organization with excellent talent and a wealth of resources. Who could possibly be shocked that they won a couple World Series over the next few years?

Hopefully, no one here is taking "curses" and other such nonsense seriously.
   35. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:57 PM (#4281690)
They made the playoffs 3 of 7 seasons, failing in the last two years he was on board (Port's team failed to make the playoffs despite a very good season).

Under Duke, they won one playoff series, then got dispatched rapidly in the ALCS. Altogether, they went 5-12 in the playoffs.

Theo's teams went to the playoffs 6 of 9 years, winning two WS, losing twice in 7 in the championship series and getting swept twice in the ALDS. His teams went 34-22.


Is the postseason a crapshoot, or isn't it? It's hard to tell around here.

Or is it that it's only a crapshoot for certain GMs -- Billy Beane (for one reason) and Brian Sabean (for another) -- but not for others (like Theo Epstein). Crapshoot if a saber-darling GM does poorly, not crapshoot if a saber-darling GM does well, crapshoot if non-saber-darling does well?
   36. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:59 PM (#4281695)
Winlets are useful in judging the true talent of an organization, but not much else.


Okay then, if Theo inherited the 2002 team, he left behind to be inherited the 94-winlet 2011 team. How is that far worse, especially considering the minor league talent in the system?
   37. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:01 PM (#4281698)
Okay then, if Theo inherited the 2002 team, he left behind to be inherited the 94-winlet 2011 team. How is that far worse, especially considering the minor league talent in the system?

Because he left behind the disastrous 2012 team. He was smart -- he got out while the getting was good.

And in Chicago, he inherited a 71-win team and drove it into the ground. Duke inherited a 69-win team, and GMd it into a team that won 93 and made the playoffs. Duke is able to function with an alpha guy like Buck Showalter; Theo prefers hapless patsies like Dale Sveum.
   38. SoSH U at work Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:11 PM (#4281715)
Is the postseason a crapshoot, or isn't it? It's hard to tell around here.


Well, you certainly give yourself a better chance to shoot crap if you get there more often. Theo's teams got there 67 percent of the time during his tenure. Duke's less than 50 percent.

It also helps to have a better team when you get there. Theo's teams averaged 93.2 wins per season. Duke's 87.5.

   39. villageidiom Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4281717)
the kind of things pointed to as "successes" in Epstein's first year at the helm are downright laughable.
So they were not what their record says they were?
   40. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:24 PM (#4281737)
It also helps to have a better team when you get there. Theo's teams averaged 93.2 wins per season. Duke's 87.5.

Adjusted for quality of team inherited, I'd call that about a wash, maybe even advantage Duke. Throw 2012 into the mix and I'd take Duke.

Duquette doesn't exactly light up a room, but the idea that Theo Epstein is some kind of genius GM on leave from his destiny of curing cancer, while Dan Duquette is some kind of marginal hack is absurd -- a testament to the power of image and cultism and the utterly superficial.
   41. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4281747)
Duquette doesn't exactly light up a room, but the idea that Theo Epstein is some kind of genius GM on leave from his destiny of curing cancer, while Dan Duquette is some kind of marginal hack is absurd -- a testament to the power of image and cultism and the utterly superficial.


I think most people here respect Duquette. Certainly no one portrays him as a hack.
   42. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4281756)
Duquette doesn't exactly light up a room, but the idea that Theo Epstein is some kind of genius GM on leave from his destiny of curing cancer, while Dan Duquette is some kind of marginal hack is absurd -- a testament to the power of image and cultism and the utterly superficial.


As long as we are making up things to argue against, i would say the idea that Theo inherited a team that was the most talented in the league and had won numerable championships but left behind a team with no talent whatsoever and a $400m payroll is equally absurd.
   43. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:39 PM (#4281766)
As long as we are making up things to argue against, i would say the idea that Theo inherited a team that was the most talented in the league and had won numerable championships but left behind a team with no talent whatsoever and a $400m payroll is equally absurd.

He inherited a 100 pythag win team that ran very high payrolls, as well as (at least) Jon Lester, Hanley Ramirez, and Anibal Sanchez in the minor leagues. A decent case can be made that he inherited the most favorable position of any GM in the last 40 years.(*)

I don't know that Theo even exceeded reasonable expectations based on what he inherited.

(*) Which doesn't even account for the fact that he started in the prime of the Steroid Era, when money and other assets could be leveraged more effectively into very productive veterans.

   44. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4281780)
And in Chicago, he inherited a 71-win team and drove it into the ground. Duke inherited a 69-win team, and GMd it into a team that won 93 and made the playoffs.


1 effing year, Theo took a 71 win team and went 61-101

Duquette took a .494 team and went .470
   45. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 03:49 PM (#4281785)
Duquette took a .494 team and went .470

And .594 the next year -- Duquette was actually building something, not pretending to. Arnold Ziffel's great-grandson has a better chance of flying to Mars than the Cubs have of playing .594 baseball next year.
   46. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:03 PM (#4281804)
So in year two Duquette had a .594 team, very similar to Theo's .605 team in year two. Seems like a good apples to apples starting point, let's compare from there shall we?

Year three - .525 vs. .586
Year four - .481 vs. .531
Year five - .568 vs. .593
Year six - .580 vs. .586
Year seven - .525 vs. .586
Year eight - .509 vs. .549
exit Duke

Note: In every single season Theo's teams were better than Duquette's teams...from earlier in the thread;

11. SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4281615)...

I'm pretty much in the camp of "you are what your record says you are,"
   47. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4281818)
exit Duke

Duke's exit prior to 2002 was silly, given the team he'd built.

And, of course, Epstein inherited something far greater than Duke inherited, which naturally impacted the records they put up. In fact, it's hard to imagine a GM inheriting anything better. Ben Cherington inherited nothing close.
   48. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:19 PM (#4281830)
In fact, it's hard to imagine a GM inheriting anything better.


It's not that hard to imagine. A Jen Hoyerington inherited a better organization for a few months in 2005.
   49. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4281836)
It's not that hard to imagine. A Jen Hoyerington inherited a better organization for a few months in 2005.

They inherited a 90 pythag win team. Theo inherited a 100 pythag win team. I'll let others work out the minor leaguers inherited component; there's no way they're going to make up 10 wins on Lester/Hanley/Sanchez/others.

Not to mention the fact that they didn't really "inherit" them, since Theo came back in a couple months, deferring curing cancer and bringing peace to the Middle East for down the road.
   50. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4281839)
In fact, it's hard to imagine a GM inheriting anything better.


Is it that hard to imagine inheriting a team that actually went to the playoffs?
   51. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4281840)
They still had Lester/Hanley/Sanchez + had added Papelbon/Pedroia/Buchholz/Ellsbury
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:36 PM (#4281847)
They inherited a 90 pythag win team. Theo inherited a 100 pythag win team. I'll let others work out the minor leaguers inherited component; there's no way they're going to make up 10 wins on Lester/Hanley/Sanchez/others.


You know who got hosed? Mike Port. Whatever jackoff* was ahead of him left Port with an 83 pythag win team.

* FTR, I've got nothing against Duke. He did some nice stuff in Boston, and left his successors with some talent to work with. He deserved another chance, and it's nice to see him enjoy success in Baltimore.

I don't think there's a Sox fan at this site who believes that nonsense that SBB was spouting above about Theo being a genius and Duke a dunce. But we're also balanced enough to realize that Theo and co. didn't exactly stumble over their dicks to 2 WS titles.

Oh, and Cashman in 1998 clearly inherited the best situation.
   53. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:43 PM (#4281852)
Epstein also inherited Freddie Sanchez and Kevin Youkilis. So a 100-pythag talent base, money to burn, and Lester/Hanley/A. Sanchez/Youk/F. Sanchez.

Has any GM actually inherited (for more than a couple months) a better situation in the last 40 years? I doubt it.
   54. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:48 PM (#4281859)
Cashman was the assistant GM of the Yankees, and so had a hand in building the team he inherited.

Has any GM in the last 40 years walked into a better situation than Theo Epstein?
   55. JJ1986 Posted: October 24, 2012 at 04:56 PM (#4281873)
I think good teams almost always promote from within, so that's not a fair disqualifier. Even Epstein was promoted from AGM.
   56. What Zupcic? Posted: October 24, 2012 at 05:02 PM (#4281883)
This whole argument that Theo is 'meh' seems to be predicated on the idea that if a GM does nothing, his team will have the exact same pythag record the next year. Sure, in a theoretical sense inheriting a 100 win team makes it easier to put a good team on the field but Duke's 100 win team (if we're calling 2002 Duke's team and not Port's) was built on the pitching of peak-Pedro and Derek Lowe's career year and a solid 859 run offense*. Theo was able to rebuild the bullpen, make up for Lowe/Pedro regression by ripping the D-Backs off for Schilling AND adding 100 runs to the offense with Mueller, Walker/Bellhorn, Millar, and David Ortiz. I'm not saying they would have regressed to 81 wins or anything but Theo deserves a lot of credit for partially rebuilding and elevating an already good team without missing a beat.

*obviously this is a credit to Duquette. Is there any non-strawmann who doesn't give credit to Duquette for putting together a good team?
   57. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 24, 2012 at 05:06 PM (#4281890)
Has any GM in the last 40 years walked into a better situation than Theo Epstein?


I don't know when every other GM was hired. Theo certainly walked into a good situation. He then went out and strung together a stretch of nine seasons in which his teams won an average of 93 games per year and notched two World Series titles.

Please keep asking the question though. You're the one who wants the answer, spend some time on BBRef and find out. I'm comfortable saying "Theo Epstein inherited a good situation and did a great job with it."
   58. What Zupcic? Posted: October 24, 2012 at 05:13 PM (#4281906)
Ralph Houk inherited the 104 win (100 pythag) 1963 Yankees and in just two years later they finished 10th place with 70 wins... Theo is a better GM than Ralph Houk!
   59. Nasty Nate Posted: October 24, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4281910)
Ruben Amaro inherited the defending champion Phillies.
   60. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: October 24, 2012 at 05:40 PM (#4281931)
Has any GM in the last 40 years walked into a better situation than Theo Epstein?


Ned Colletti took over in 11/05,
The Dodgers had in their system (under 30):
Edwin Jackson
Cody Ross
Jayson Werth
Brad Penny
Chad Billingsley
Jon Broxton
James Loney
Russell Martin
Matt Kemp
Carlos Santana

JD Drew (not really fair to include)

and older guys like Kent and Lowe...
and money to spend, a lot of roster filler that it was painless to discard
   61. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: October 24, 2012 at 05:43 PM (#4281934)
Pat Gillick seemed pretty skilled at stepping into a GM job at the right time, and even better at getting out when the getting was good.
   62. Walt Davis Posted: October 24, 2012 at 05:59 PM (#4281952)
For crying out loud:

SBB, please stop moving goal posts. You can't crow about what a good team Epstein inherited (100-pythag wins) while claiming that he left the team in a disaster. Using the same evidence:

The 2011 Red Sox had 94 pythag wins
The 2011 Red Sox had a +138 run differential -- that's a higher run differential than any team in 2012 (and #3 in the AL in 2011)
The 2011 Red Sox led the AL in runs scored, OPS, OPS+ (114)
Big ticket Adrian Gonzalez had a 153 OPS+. Epstein acquisitions/draftees: Ortiz 152, Ellsbury 144, Pedroia 129, Scutaro 108 (Crawford not so much)
The pitching staff had a 104 ERA+ led by Theo acquisition Josh Beckett's 150 ERA+ and a strong bullpen put together by Epstein

The 2002 Red Sox had 100 pythag wins and a +194 run differential.
They were 2nd in runs, 3rd in OPS, 4th in OPS+
They had Nomar who was already in decline but the still awesome Manny
The youngest position player was Hillenbrand at 26 ... this was not an offense built for the future
The pitching staff was #1 in ERA+ but that was due to Pedro's next-to-last great season and the greatest season of Lowe's career. That awesome rotation also featured 37-year-old John Burkett and 33-year-old Frank Castillo and 35-year-old Tim Wakefield -- who wouldn't want to inherit that staff!

The 2002 Red Sox were a team on their last legs. The average age was over 30, the only significant player aged 25 or younger was Casey Fossum ... who Theo managed to trade for Curt Schilling ... how did that work out?

You have no case. Epstein took over a good team that needed rebuilding and he rebuilt it. As that team aged further, he continued to rebuild it without losing a beat -- Gonzalez, Beckett, his draft picks -- and made a couple of major mistakes as every GM does. That it fell completely apart and the new folks decided to trade away some of the good players (and one of the mistakes) has nothing to do with Theo anymore than Pedro's and Nomar's declines are the fault of Duquette.

As to Theo and the Cubs and can Theo rebuild a team ... we'll find out, but I doubt there's a GM* who has a better draft record given the position the Sox were drafting in.

2003: Papelbon & Murphy
2004: Pedroia
2005: Ellsbury, Buchholz, Lowrie
2006: Masterson, Reddick, Bard (and Belt unsigned)
2007: Rizzo, Middlebrooks (and Grandal unsigned)

Maybe that was all just luck. The drawback in all of that is I'm not sure the Sox made any important international signings in his tenure.

I would not have taken the 2012 Cubs down the Royals route but so be it. Now that we're here, the Cubs are a team where what goes on at the ML level for the next 2-3 years is almost meaningless. All that matters is the development system (and that Rizzo, Castro and a couple of others in MLB continue to develop). This is a huge (and I think unnecessary) risk for Epstein to have taken but it took some guts.

*Friedman in Tampa has a case given that most of their up and coming young players are late draft picks; Beane has done well but not as well as Theo.
   63. Dale Sams Posted: October 24, 2012 at 06:06 PM (#4281960)
This is stupid. Theo is overrated, Duquette is underrated and Theo's reponsibility for the 2012 shitteam is ridiculously overstated.
   64. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4281963)
The 2002 Red Sox were a team on their last legs.

The 2011 Red Sox were a team on their last legs. He left behind a team in a free fall that, not surprisingly, continued into 2012.

Nobody's moving goal posts. The Red Sox were in worse shape the day Theo left than the day he got there. It's impossible to argue otherwise. September 2011 was quite real, quite meaningful, and quite indicative of the state of the organization. The issues raised by September 2011 were compounded by firing Francona.
   65. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 06:18 PM (#4281970)
2003: Papelbon & Murphy
2004: Pedroia
2005: Ellsbury, Buchholz, Lowrie
2006: Masterson, Reddick, Bard (and Belt unsigned)
2007: Rizzo, Middlebrooks (and Grandal unsigned)


Most of these players are vastly overrated and/or possess reputations based on anticipated, but hardly certain, production. How did guys like Jed Lowrie and Daniel Bard become indicative of massive drafting skill? Jed Lowrie's 28 and he has 5.9 career WAR. Daniel Bard's 27. He has 3.9 career WAR and was a disaster in 2012.
   66. Arva Posted: October 24, 2012 at 06:43 PM (#4281984)
When did karlmagnus get SBB's login.
   67. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 24, 2012 at 07:46 PM (#4282022)
It's impossible to argue otherwise.


You can say that as many times as you want, but it still won't be true.

How did guys like Jed Lowrie and Daniel Bard become indicative of massive drafting skill? Jed Lowrie's 28 and he has 5.9 career WAR. Daniel Bard's 27. He has 3.9 career WAR and was a disaster in 2012.


Jed Lowrie was the 45th overall pick in his year's June draft. If you look at all the 45th overall picks in the history of the June draft, Lowrie's 4.6 B-R WAR ranks him third, behind only Gerald Laird (5.4) and Tom Gorzelanny (5.0).

Daniel Bard was the 28th overall pick in his year's June draft. Bard doesn't rank quite as highly as Lowrie does, since Bard hasn't accomplished as much and he's in a more competitive peer group, but his 3.9 B-R WAR is still good for tenth place among 28th overall picks. The leader board has two big-time successes (Lee Smith with 27.6 and Charles Johnson with 21.0), and then a bunch of guys who could be caught without much trouble if Bard has any significant additional success in his career: Darrin Jackson (10.4), Daric Barton (7.7), Norm Charlton (7.1), Colby Rasmus (6.6), Jamey Wright (6.5), Gabe White (5.5), and Alan Foster (4.0).

Once you get outside of the top ten or fifteen picks in the draft, you're lucky if you get any kind of substantial contributor at all with any given pick. Even a situational reliever or a good bench bat represents a significant success.
   68. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 24, 2012 at 08:31 PM (#4282103)
Yeah, but no one cares about the history of the 45th pick; they care about what happens around certain picks. The Padres got two guys in the next 20 picks as good as, or way better than, Jed Lowrie. The Braves got Yunel Escobar 30 picks later.

Joba Chamberlain, Chris Perez, and Brett Anderson went in the next 25 or so picks after Bard in 2006.

Lowrie and Bard were decent picks. Nothing spectacular.
   69. philly Posted: October 24, 2012 at 10:22 PM (#4282412)
As to Theo and the Cubs and can Theo rebuild a team ... we'll find out, but I doubt there's a GM* who has a better draft record given the position the Sox were drafting in.

2003: Papelbon & Murphy
2004: Pedroia
2005: Ellsbury, Buchholz, Lowrie
2006: Masterson, Reddick, Bard (and Belt unsigned)
2007: Rizzo, Middlebrooks (and Grandal unsigned)


One thing to note about this is that Epstein inerited David Chadd as his scouting director. Chadd came from the Marlins and came with a bunch of Marins scouts when John Henry became the owner. He ran the drafts from 2002-2004 and dafted Lester, Papelbon, Murphy and Pedroia with probably a league average signing bonus pool - maybe less. Epstein fired him so that he could hire a SD crony named Jason McLeod. He ran the drafts from 2005-2009. The Sox were probably in the top 3 in signing bonus money over that period. Relative to resources, McLeod was very likely less successful than Chadd.

Epstein's decision to replace Chadd was then and still is an historical oddity. That he brought McLeod with him to Chicago and has been quoted numerous times raving about him as a talent evaluator will be an interesting part of the Cubs rebuild to follow.

I guess I should also add that Chadd hooked back up with Dombowski in Det and has contributed to a pretty successful run there.
   70.     Hey Gurl Posted: October 24, 2012 at 11:10 PM (#4282587)
Isn't Theo the president of the Cubs?

That must be the most awesome job in all of sports. What do you actually do? Hire a smart guy to be GM and then show up at press conferences. What else?
   71. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM (#4282597)
The Red Sox were in worse shape the day Theo left than the day he got there.

Which I'm sure is all that the team's fans care about; the results of the intervening seasons are totally irrelevant.
   72. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 24, 2012 at 11:30 PM (#4282654)
On the topic of "Theo inherited a 100-Pythag win team, of course they were going to be good for the foreseeable future"...

Here are the 100 Pythag win teams in the Wild Card era, and the changes in their Pythag records from year N to year N+2, sorted from smallest decline to largest:

2002 Red Sox -4
1997 Yankees -4
1997 Braves -4
1999 D'Backs -7
2007 Red Sox -8
2002 Angels -10
2001 A's -10
2001 Mariners -12
1998 Braves -16
2004 Cardinals -18
1998 Yankees -23
1998 Astros -25

A 100-Pythag-win team is not exactly a guarantee of future awesomeness, and Theo and company did as well as any team of the last 20 years at preserving that level of success, despite the aforementioned fact that the 100-Pythag-win team in question was quite old.
   73. McCoy Posted: October 25, 2012 at 12:29 AM (#4282717)
I guess I should also add that Chadd hooked back up with Dombowski in Det and has contributed to a pretty successful run there.

By doing what? The big draftees for the Tigers since Chadd has got there:

Cameron Maybin
Alex Avila
Matthew Joyce
Casper Wells

All 4 got drafted in 2005 with Alex Avila not signing and getting redrafted a couple of years later. Chadd's resume in Detroit looks pretty bad if we base it on who got drafted.
   74. tshipman Posted: October 25, 2012 at 01:02 AM (#4282722)
I wonder if karlmangus is reading this thread and nodding to himself. "That's a great point, SBB."

SBB, if nothing else, makes a great barometer. If you think something is true, and SBB agrees with you, it's time to carefully consider your position.
   75. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 25, 2012 at 01:43 AM (#4282733)
Nor is there really a material difference between 100 and 93 wins for the purposes of this discussion. Theo inherited an organization with excellent talent and a wealth of resources. Who could possibly be shocked that they won a couple World Series over the next few years?

How many teams do you think win the World Series every year?
   76. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 25, 2012 at 05:45 AM (#4282753)
None some years. Some years a team only loses.
   77. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 25, 2012 at 06:39 AM (#4282761)
SBB, if nothing else, makes a great barometer.

Somebody needs to cut through fanboy drivel, particularly the auteur theory of baseball it promotes which, though seemingly impossible, is even more pretentious than its film counterpart.
   78. Nasty Nate Posted: October 25, 2012 at 09:25 AM (#4282818)
If you want to puncture the auteur theory of baseball, stop using it to back up your claims about Theo's effect on the organization which caused their 2012. You are trying to have it both ways - much like your sudden convenient embracing of what you normally derisevely call winlets.
   79. Bug Selig Posted: October 27, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4284940)
SBB, please stop moving goal posts.


Why do people think that he's remotely serious? He's used both "fanboy" and "darling" in the thread. He's sitting back, laughing uncontrollably at how he's pulling everybody's strings.

The answer he's waiting for is probably, "Any GM that inherited Jack Morris was in a better spot. He knew how to give up runs like an Ace."
   80. Mayor Blomberg Posted: October 27, 2012 at 02:11 PM (#4284971)
the ignore button is you friend
   81. Petunia inquires about ponies Posted: October 27, 2012 at 03:25 PM (#4285027)
Trot Nixon - Josh Reddick - Edge: Wash

You bite your tongue!

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