Blog Entry

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

Posted on: October 14, 2011 11:13 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 11:48 am
 
By Evan Brunell

With the departure of Theo Epstein, the Red Sox are faced with the most glaring void their organization has seen since the beginning of the franchise's recent upswing. And worse, it appears the only return they may get would be a paltry sum of cash or a couple of low-end players. And, even if those guys do contribute at the major-league level, they would be far from making up for the loss of a top-tier GM like Epstein.

Part of this reason, beyond the Cubs understandably balking at an exorbitant price -- they are trying to do their job, after all -- is that MLB is watching these discussions with a close eye, realizing that what occurs could set a precedent down the line for other similar GM defections. It appears as if baseball is trying to prevent GMs from being "traded" for anything close to free market value. Even managers have a difficult time of it, but at least there is precedent there, what with Ozzie Guillen shipped to the Marlins for three minor-league players and Lou Piniella going from Seattle to Tampa Bay for Randy Winn.

What is the problem here?

Why is baseball trying to prevent adequate compensation for Epstein? Moreover, why is it so bad for managers and GMs to be traded for equal value in return?

General managers have an incredible amount of responsibility on their shoulders and are forced to wear many hats. Not only do they have to juggle putting together a major-league team worthy of satisfying the fans and owners, they have to keep the farm system healthy, draft a new crop of players each season, negotiate contracts with players, coaches and scouts, maintain a budget and retain enough flexibility for future moves, and on and on. There's no question that a GM, these days, essentially shapes a franchise's present and future like no other person can, with lasting ramifications that can span years, if not decades.

And you're telling me that a GM can't be traded for an exorbitant price? Baseball may want to hold down GM compensation because it would add yet another layer of complexity to the proceedings, but is there any reason the Red Sox shouldn't be getting someone of commensurate value? Epstein not only completely and wholly changed the culture of the history of the Red Sox, he changed their status, market and player development. The boy wonder's accomplishments in Boston will bear fruit years after he's gone, and years after his successor, Ben Cherington, will be gone.

And somehow, accepting a reported $3.5 million or a couple tepid minor-league prospects is adequate compensation?

Cubs/Red Sox drama
Imagine, for a moment, if you transformed Epstein into a player on the Red Sox Who would he be? Would he be backup outfielder Darnell McDonald? Or would he be first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who will pull down an average annual salary north of $20 million?

Epstein's value is certainly far closer to Gonzalez than that of McDonald, and Sox president Larry Lucchino appears to understand that. He's submitted a list of players to the Cubs that he feels would be adequate compensation for Epstein's departure, and the latest reports have the Cubs blanching at the price.

But that's as it should be, and MLB shouldn't interfere and meddle with the affairs. By baseball trying to restrict compensation from Epstein, it's restricting a free trade market and is severely hampering Boston's ability to contend. And this is an issue that should be of concern not just in Boston, but in all 30 MLB cities. Paul DePodesta had the right idea back in 2003 when he asked for Red Sox prospect Kevin Youkilis in exchange for allowing GM Billy Beane to defect to the Red Sox before Beane changed his mind at the 11th hour.

Whether baseball likes it or not, the culture is slowly but surely marching toward a day where a GM's departure to another club will result in fair compensation, not a depressed price. Unfortunately for Boston, that day may not arrive in time to compensate for the man who changed baseball in Boston.

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Comments

Since: Aug 24, 2006
Posted on: October 16, 2011 3:43 pm
 

Mr. Henry, I am available for the GM job :)

So Theo is on his way out...I appreciate the job he has done but I am not super sad to see him go.  There are times that a change is exactly what is needed.  After all, when you start to make some big mistakes they seem to continue.  The only job I know where you can be wrong 50% of the time and still keep you job is a weather man.  Theo has been wrong at least 50% of the time the last few years.

The J.D. Drew signing for the price was a huge mistake.  The guy was a monster in college but his first few in the Majors showed he was injury prone.  That money was not worth the bit of production and the legs propped up DL stints.  But we got over that with some pretty decent pick ups and replacements.

The DiceK signing was pure lunacy.  The Sox had to pay $50mm just for a chance to bid for his services?  Really??  This is like paying $10k just to go on the car lot to look at the cars.  Dice had a good year or two but the mistake was the length of the contract.  Anyone could see that his arm had a ton of innings on it already and it was only a matter of time before it started to wear.

The king ding aling of bad signings had to be Lackey.  He was pretty much signed because he torched the Sox when he pitched against us. He has always had a bad attitude, he looks like he is chewing wasps when he is on the mound.  Mr. Negative has no place in a locker room, especially in a big market.  Theo started the keep up with the Yanks mentality to get the big free agent and in this case it was a bad year and he grabbed what was there.  There were smaller names with much better stuff out there, Theo's ego didn't allow that.

I do not think signing Crawford was a bad move, I think he will be productive for the Sox...especially after some house cleaning.  I do think that the money that was paid was crazy.  He could have been gotten for much less and most likely one less year.  But Theo lost the poker game against the Yanks and their bluff.  In the end I do think the Sox will get some good years and production out of CC, but most likely not enough for that cashola...but then again not many players are worth that amount.  (Pujols??)

I love the Adrian Gonzalez signing and think the Sox came out on top of that one.  AGon had a very good first year for the Sox and you can bet his second year will be even better.  He will become a team leader, will continue to get healthy and more comfortable.  I think it was a fair trade for what we gave up and the money will be in line with his production.  He will be a team leader as well.

Now for the moves I would have made over the last few years as predicted at that time, not now.  Some may have worked and some may have not but I think overall the Sox would be in a better position than right now.  First, I would have liked to grab Dunn a few years ago before he even went to the Nationals.  A salary dump of JD Drew at that time and then platoon Dunn in RF and sub at DH.  Dunn went on to have a record year in Washington hitting the cover off of the ball.  If you remember Papi fell apart that year.  Dunn could have easily taken up the slack during that drought.  Perhaps Papi would have been released and Dunn may have stayed productive not having the disastrous year in Chi.  Who knows now.

Easy call...no way I signed Lackey...no way...EVER.  Didn't like his production and didn't like him!

I would not have resigned Victor Martinez at C either...I would have made a big run for Montero.  If that did not work out then it was Russell Martin, who just had a pretty good year for the Yanks.  I think it worked out ok though as Salty was a good pickup and has came into his own.  With Lavernway about ready they make a pretty good one two behind the plate.  I would now put Varitek on the coaching staff.  He has a strong clubhouse presence and is a game calling master behind the plate.  He can work with the young guys as well as the pitchers.

My big move last year would have been resign Adrian Beltre to play third.  Look at what he has done with the Rangers this year, the guys is a gamer and brings the bat and glove every day.  Bad move letting him go.  With the AGon signing at 1st and resigning Beltre for 3rd that would have allowed a move of Youk to LF.  That may have kept Youk healthy and he would be the utility IF at 1 and 3.  More importantly it would have saved the Sox from making that huge contract move for CC. 

The savings of money from that contract would have allowed the Sox to go after pitching and SS....still both big holes.  Reyes would have been an option in this off season.  Big trades would then be doable as we have some great carrots in the minors.

As for this offseason....Youk is on the market.  I love the guy but we need a new clubhouse mentality.  He made a comment about wanting to play for the Reds so ring em up.  They have some good pitching over there so lets talk.  Papi is 50-50 to come back.  It would have to be at the Sox price, not his.  The age will affect the bat speed and we need more flexibility from the position.  If Youk did come back I move him to the DH.  Wake, I love you and what you have done but it is time.  Same for Varitek, as previously stated, come on in to coach.  Kalish is marketable and Lowrey too.

Lackey is shipped out to San Diego and Sox would have to eat 75% of his salary.  In return we get Headly to play 3rd along with Aviles, which is what makes Youk avail for either trade or DH. 

It is easy to do this from the outside looking in.  But hell, there is about $200mm to play with every year so it should be easy.  It is time to go back to the basics and that is pay for production and team mentality, not a big name and puffed up one year stats.  Ship out the egos and ship in the grinders and grit.  With players like Gonzalez, Pedroia, Ellsbury and Crawford the core is there.  Scutaro is a good attitude guy, Aviles is a player and Salty is bringing it.  Get the pitching staff in order (stats and attitude) and get the fried chicken off of the menu and this team is World Series ready....just a year late!

So Mr. Henry, give me a call.  I will work for Green Monster seats against the Yanks, a game worn Pedroia jersey, free ball park dogs and beer and a meet and greet with Heidi Watney!! 






Since: May 2, 2010
Posted on: October 16, 2011 2:42 pm
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

<blockquote class="QuoteMessage">Who cares?  The Sox can just buy whoever they want in free agency anyway.  When there isn't a hard cap and there is so much free movement of players, teams like Boston just buy a small market team's best player whenever they have a hole to fill.</blockquote>

And does anyone even care about this anymore??<br />It obviously isn't helping teams (Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies) win championships. <br />And still, without the hard cap, MLB is producing plenty of variety in World Series representation. *If* the Brewers beat the Cardinals, it would be yet another new team reaching the World Series--though at this point it looks like they're done. <br />But the parity in MLB is just as good as in the NFL over the last 15 years, so scooping up all the free agents isn't necessarily a winning formula. <br />




Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: October 16, 2011 11:15 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

Epstein has a chance to change to fortunes of the Cubs for the next 20 years.  If I think he is THAT guy then I would have no problem parting with a top prospect  who, in all likelihood, will not have nearly that type of impact.  I think it would be beyond shortsighted of the Cubs to do otherwise (Although they should also try to pry him away for as low a price as possible....it's a negotiation after all).

 

Could you imagine if the Pats or the Jets refused to give up first round picks for Little and Big Bill?  The top GM's in baseball have that level of impact on their franchises from the lowest level of the minors up to the pro team.  





Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: October 16, 2011 10:31 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

If Epstein is as valuable as Gonzales then why is he not paid accordingly?  He's getting a raise to go to the Cubs, so he's not even making $3.5m now.  What did Boston except when they gave the Cubs permission to talk with Theo?  I would agree that compensation is due, but should be the amount it would cost to buy out the final year of his contarct and that value is already established.  Add a 100% penalty and then be done with it.  Have read the Cubs have offered $3.5m in cash and think that is still more than the last year of the contract plus 100%.



Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: October 16, 2011 9:21 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

I hope the deal goes through.  Theo is an above average GM.  Did he bring two titles to Boston?  I doubt it.  Manny Ramirez was phenomonal and without steriods for a couple of players, Red Sox probably wouldn't have even made it to the world series let alone it.  Other players on teams are guility as well; however, Manny was dominant and pivotal during their run.  Questions on Big Papi as well, but nothing proven on that note.



Since: Jul 31, 2008
Posted on: October 16, 2011 9:20 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

I hope the deal goes through.  Theo is an above average GM.  Did he bring two titles to Boston?  I doubt it.  Manny Ramirez was phenomonal and without steriods for a couple of players, Red Sox probably wouldn't have even made it to the world series let alone it.  Other players on teams are guility as well; however, Manny was dominant and pivotal during their run.  Questions on Big Papi as well, but nothing proven on that note.



Since: Sep 9, 2009
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:50 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

Theo Epstein is a big reason why Boston is able to buy "the small market teams best player". Like it or not Boston fan but Theo brought the Red Sox out of the black hole they were in for decades. The media and marketing the team has received since 2004 woke up fair weather fans across the country in turn driving additional revenue (outside of the Boston market). The team deserves full compensation for Epstein. If I were a Boston fan, I would be concerned that my team is heading back to the black hole. 


Cardinal Fan     &n
bsp;




Since: Jun 26, 2007
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:33 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

This isn't a news story - it's a one-sided fan blog.



Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: October 15, 2011 8:32 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

Who cares?  The Sox can just buy whoever they want in free agency anyway.  When there isn't a hard cap and there is so much free movement of players, teams like Boston just buy a small market team's best player whenever they have a hole to fill.  I don't feel the least bit sorry for Boston.  Let everybody play on an even playing field for once.



Since: Oct 13, 2006
Posted on: October 15, 2011 8:17 am
 

Red Sox must fetch strong price for Theo Epstein

The rule of thumb has ALWAYS been if a front office person is in line for a PROMOTION from another team, he is let out of his contract and is free to sign with another team as long as his new title is higher than his previous title.  That's why Billy Beane was going to cost the Red Sox a prospect, because he was going from a GM position to another teams GM position.  In the case of Theo, he is technically getting promoted to President and CEO of baseball operations, which is equivalent to Larry Luchino's position in Boston.  I think if the cubs offer 1 mid level prospect and 3-5 million that is more than fair compensation.  The alternative would be kill the deal, let Theo go back to boston for the last year and sign him next year for free.  If Boston wants to screw around, the Cubs could always turn their focus to Ben Cherrington and then Boston has NO claim to compensation.


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