Just when you thought you couldn’t love Theo Epstein any more than you already do.
Terry Francona has a book coming out that has some choice quotes from his former GM in regards to the Boston ownership. It was apparent that Epstein and his bosses clashed during his final years as GM.
There had been some speculation for some time that Epstein wasn’t really the driving force behind the Carl Crawford signing. There may be some new evidence here to support that. Now he still may not be absolved of any wrong moves (John Lackey, Julio Lugo) but no GM is perfect anyway.
However, many wondered aloud why the dramatic change in direction was happening when the Bosox spent big in the 2010 offseason-spending spree.
We may finally have some answers.
One part of the excerpt from "Francona: The Red Sox Years," co-written with Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe, describes a meeting that featured Epstein, the Cubs' baseball president who at the time was Red Sox general manager, along with Francona and the ownership group of Larry Lucchino, Tom Werner and John Henry.
“Werner talked about slumping television ratings and whined, ‘We need to start winning in more exciting fashion,'” Francona recalls in the excerpt.
Later, he quotes Epstein as saying, "They told us we didn't have any marketable players, that we needed some sizzle. We need some sexy guys. Talk about the tail wagging the dog. This is like an absurdist comedy. We'd become too big. It was the farthest thing from what we set out to be. ...
(That) was evidence to me of the inherent tension between building a baseball operation the way I thought was best and the realities of being in a big market ... which had gotten bigger than any of us could handle."
Gordon Wittenmyer also confirms what many suspected. The Cubs wooed Epstein through back channels before the 2011 season even ended.
Epstein wanted out which I suspected back when not many thought he could end up here.
Theo could have all the power he wants here. It has been long rumored that Tom Ricketts has a man crush on the boy wonder. There were reports yesterday that say Theo would “embrace the challenge” of taking over the Cubs.
This would be the home run that Ricketts is looking for. He could offer Theo the official title of team President while reassigning or vanquishing Crane Kenney like a source told me was likely.
Epstein would end up agreeing on one condition. He would have total say in all baseball operations.
Needless to say this could end some speculation that the Cubs ownership would pressure this regime to make an unwanted splash. That could open the door for another departure for a guy who wants to see through his vision.
I have a strong feeling he will get his way.
Also check Tom out at Chicagonow.com/loxas-factor
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