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   1. toratoratora Posted: October 12, 2011 at 02:18 PM (#3960281)
As of 10 minutes ago ESPN is reporting Theo gone. So I guess this is as good of a place as any to say "Thanks, Theo." A lifetime of Red Sox angst was erased in 2004-replaced with the happiest baseball memories of my life.
The end has been ugly, but most of the ride was sweet. Best of luck in Chicago
   2. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 12, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3960301)
Personally, I'm glad Epstein's out of the Yankees' hair. I liked the Red Sox much better when Tom Yawkey was in charge.
   3. Joel W Posted: October 12, 2011 at 02:49 PM (#3960310)
Losing Theo definitely means a lot more to me than losing Francona. He has made a lot of high profile mistakes over the years, namely Lackey, Dice-K, and while I still hold out hope, Crawford. He also developed a lot of great players, traded some prospects for great players, and the Red Sox won two World Series while he was the GM of the team.

Mostly though, I remember when the Red Sox lost out on Billy Beane, when he decided to stay in Oakland, and then finding out that the team had promoted this young guy, a sabermetric guy, from Yale, named Theo Epstein. Everything I read about him reinforced the idea that he seemed like us, the people on this board. In that respect, he never disappointed. This interview on WEEI about JD Drew always reinforced that point for me. For the past 8 years the GM of the Red Sox got it, he got what it took to win baseball games. He had a plan, he had values for players that were enumerated in WAR or something like it. Sometimes it failed, too often lately perhaps, but the plan was there.

I may come to trust Cherington like I have Theo, and he seems like the obvious choice to replace him. Still, when you invest a lot of time and energy into following a team you hope that there's a plan on the other end. One of my best friends is a Mets fan, and he does not have it in him to invest in them, or hasn't over the past 8 years. This year there was a glimmer of hope when they traded K-Rod at the trade deadline, that with Alderson in town the adults might be in charge, that he could trust the front office. I haven't had to worry about that with the Red Sox since 2003. The Red Sox had the guy who went to Schilling's Thanksgiving, who signed Mark Bellhorn, Bill Mueller, David Ortiz, and JD Drew, and explained to dumb radio hosts what it takes to win baseball games. I'll miss that guy.
   4. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#3960324)
This is tough. Hate seeing him go. Thanks, Theo. 2004 will always be my favorite experience as a sports fan.
   5. SoSH U at work Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:06 PM (#3960331)
Thanks. If I'd had a son born in 2004-05, he probably would have been called Theo.
   6. Avoid running at all times.-S. Paige Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:12 PM (#3960341)
If I'd had a son born in 2004-05, he probably would have been called Theo.


Do you know how many San Franciscan babies born this past year are named Sabean?
   7. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3960342)
He did an excellent job, on balance.

I really hated the Nomar trade.
   8. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#3960347)
I'm more upset about seeing Tito go than Theo but that doesn't change the fact that I really like Theo. The thing about him is that I felt that with him in the organization the Sox had someone with a clear plan about how things were going to run. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't but I always felt that there was a method behind everything that happened.

I think the Cubs are getting a guy who is very smart and very good and will be quite happy with him.
   9. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:21 PM (#3960349)
I really hated the Nomar trade.
I hated it at the time.

Nomar's TZ/150 games at short in 2004 was -21, and in 2005 it was -36. UZR/150 has him at -16 and -18. In 2005, the Cubs moved him off shortstop to third base, and after 2005, he was shifted to first base. I think Theo identified that Garciaparra's injuries had robbed him of his ability to play shortstop, and he made the move he had to make.
   10. Textbook Editor Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3960353)
Yeah, the 2002/2003 off-seasons were the big ones, but I don't think it's possible now to duplicate something like that--there are too many other GMs/teams who would be all over those same type of players if they hit the markets now like they did back then.

There's a whole lot that can be done with the Cubs' roster, but I'm doubtful he can come right in and pull a 2002/2003 thing out of his hat.

But, all that said, I am sorry to see him go. I haven't had to worry about FO stuff for 8-9 years. I'm now worried, even though I will give Cherington wide leeway. In an odd way, having a new guy may also help with the house-cleaning that is coming, since he's not beholden to anything that's gone before, etc.
   11. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3960366)
The thing about him is that I felt that with him in the organization the Sox had someone with a clear plan about how things were going to run. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't but I always felt that there was a method behind everything that happened.

This hits the nail on the head for me.
   12. karlmagnus Posted: October 12, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3960396)
As long-term readers will know, I think Theo's long term record was pretty mixed, with some inexplicable decisions (why trade Renteria after 2005?) In 2003-04, he got incredibly lucky -- Mueller played in '03 like neither before or after and Ortiz was like winning the lottery. His record since 2005 is more mixed, and more representative of his capability.

Cherington is presumably OK -- sabermetrics properly instilled and maybe less egomaniac than Theo. If he's better on the free agents than Theo, I shall stop missing Dan Duquette so much. Yes, the supporting players were inferior, but Pedro, Manny, Wake and Damon -- THERE was a GM!
   13. tfbg9 Posted: October 12, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3960408)
If he gets the Cubs their Title, he's in the HOF. Good luck Kid Theo, and thanks.
   14. chris p Posted: October 12, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#3960418)
In another minor league move, Theo replaced the disappointing Walker with Mark Bellhorn.

what's a bellhorn?
   15. Darren Posted: October 13, 2011 at 12:24 PM (#3961892)
Theo had a very good run that ended in a rather ugly way. I'm sure he'd rather go out on top, but opportunities like this one don't wait to fit into your life plan. His choice to leave is completely unsurprising, given his obvious drive and competitiveness.

The thing that strike me about Theo (and the whole gang) is that they were at their best when had less to spend than they do now. When their payroll was around $120 mil, with Manny's large contract already on there, they seemed very good at finding value and very careful about handing out large contracts. But at some point, as that payroll grew toward where it is today, they started taking the approach that they didn't need to be especially careful with their money, often wasting it on reclamation projects that didn't pan out and expensive players who didn't deliver. It makes me seriously wonder if this team would have been just as good without ever increasing their payroll.

As for Theo, I think his legacy speaks for itself. I will be interested to see how he makes out in Chicago.
   16. TomH Posted: October 13, 2011 at 01:18 PM (#3961930)
if the Cubs even GET TO the Series, Theo will make the Hall.
   17. Textbook Editor Posted: October 13, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3961941)
It is interesting to me that the general consensus is if he wins a WS title in Chicago, he's a lock for the HOF. I agree with that assessment, but you don't often see it mentioned with FO types.
   18. Darren Posted: October 13, 2011 at 02:19 PM (#3961993)
I really hated the Nomar trade.

I hated it at the time.

Nomar's TZ/150 games at short in 2004 was -21, and in 2005 it was -36. UZR/150 has him at -16 and -18. In 2005, the Cubs moved him off shortstop to third base, and after 2005, he was shifted to first base. I think Theo identified that Garciaparra's injuries had robbed him of his ability to play shortstop, and he made the move he had to make.


If you look closely, it's hard to call this trade a positive. Fangraphs says that Nomar was stinking it up as SS but then was fine after moving to Chicago and playing only 2/3 time. Did he recover as the year went on? Did the reduced schedule--which he had suggested to the Sox that he would need--allow him to play better? Whatever happened, he put up 1.2 fWAR the rest of the season to OCab's 0.8 and Minky's -0.5 (!). (FWIW, DRS sees the defensive split about the same way.)

BBRef tells a different story. His TZ was in the -20 range in both places, meaning he's credited with only 0.6 bbWAR in Chicago. It says that OCab was 1.2 and Minky was -0.6. By this calculation, it's a wash (leaving out Matt Murton).

Looking at it this closely may be putting too much stock in a 1/2 season of stats for each of these players. However, if you pull back and look at their full seasons, OCab was about replacement level, Minky was below, and Nomar was worth 1-2 wins. In on-field production, I can't see the benefit of the trade. In other matters, it meant that Nomar was not part of the Red Sox first championship, which was not a happy thing.
   19. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2011 at 02:29 PM (#3962007)
I agree with that assessment, but you don't often see it mentioned with FO types.


I think there are several things at work here:

The GM position has gained in public stature in recent years. The guys responsible for building teams are very much front in center throughout the baseball world.

It may not have been discussed in the past, but any FO exec who credited for building WS winners with two different franchises would likely be considered for the Hall of Fame. It's just that the recognition would largely come after they were done, rather than at while it was happening.

These are the Red Sox and Cubs, whose WS triumphs would be the two biggest of the last 50 years. That can't be undersold as far as stories go.
   20. Joel W Posted: October 13, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3962054)
@Darren,

I'd say given sample size issues with UZR, we should look at the data and say "well, he was a butcher before the trade, and he was a butcher after the trade" and we should be skeptical of the UZR data in 1/3rd of a season which says otherwise.

The other thing I remember with that team was that it was groundball-heavy in its pitchers--3rd in the AL. I agree that the trade was mostly a wash at best, and that it really sucked that Nomar wasn't on the team that won, but I saw the process there, and I remember us discussing defensive platoons where Reese and Minky would play when Lowe pitched. There were also clear, non-baseball reasons why the team felt Nomar had to go (cf. 2011).
   21. Darren Posted: October 13, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3962095)
I thought that the actual players (and Theo as well?) had said that Nomar was not a problem in the clubhouse.
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2011 at 04:00 PM (#3962108)
I thought that the actual players (and Theo as well?) had said that Nomar was not a problem in the clubhouse.


I recall reports of Nomar's unhappiness from national sources long before he was dumped. The impression I got was that he was a guy the club genuinely liked and respected, but they also saw him as being pretty miserable by mid-2004.
   23. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 13, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3962112)
Quick question - why are the White Sox not lumped in with the Red Sox and Cubs as franchises with an historic drought of championships? People seem to overlook the fact that the White Sox had gone as long without a ring as the Red Sox, and they won the whole thing the very next season. At least the Red Sox had been to a number of WS before 2004 (86, 75, 67, 46) and had been to the playoffs a number of other times (88, 90, 95, 98, 03, almost 78, almost 48, etc). The Williams/Guillen tandem didn't seem to get a lot of mileage from their remarkable achievement.
   24. SoSH U at work Posted: October 13, 2011 at 04:13 PM (#3962125)
Quick question - why are the White Sox not lumped in with the Red Sox and Cubs as franchises with an historic drought of championships?


Because, generally speaking, people don't care about the White Sox. They're No. 2 in their own city. They had neither the longest drought (or history of ineptitude) that their lovable loser brethren had, nor the history of close calls that their colored hose rivals enjoyed. They didn't play in Wrigley or Fenway. They didn't steadfastly stick to day baseball and enjoy a spark in national interest through a super station and its drunken play-by-play man. They don't play in the shadow of ESPN nor had every two-bit wordsmith writing paeans to their quest.

They've just been a baseball team that went a long time without winning a World Series title. And they didn't even get to break the drought first. Or last.

Though, let's face it, if there was one thing in the pasts of all of these teams that would legitimately curse a franchise into championship darkness, you'd think the intentional losing of one would be it.
   25. Joel W Posted: October 25, 2011 at 02:43 PM (#3974812)
Theo writes an oped in the Globe about his departure, and damn I'm going to miss him. http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2011/10/24/farewell-red-sox-nation/MOikzapHSAWpGKE42DJrrM/story.html?s_campaign=sm_tw
   26. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#3974875)
   27. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3974896)
Didn't notice this topic when it went up.

Arroyo and Bellhorn cost less than $1M combined and produced 6 WAR for the 2004 Sox.

They were also my two favorite Sox at the time. I loved Arroyo because he was an entertaining slop-thrower with a frisbee curve and a ludicrously high leg kick, and I love Bellhorn because of the high socks, ridiculous hair, and because other people hated him for striking out so much. Pokey Reese my ass.
   28. Dan Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:36 PM (#3974969)
If Biff isn't really an apt handle anymore, why not go back to simply "Greg Jolin"?
   29. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#3974980)
How about "Lightbulb Sun-Woo Kim"?

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