Epstein and Cubs were a match in the making for longer than you thought

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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  • Epstein says he believes the Cubs should be a playoff team in 2013...or the season will be a Bust.

    The horses will be driven hard by Dale this season.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Here's the full quote:

    “Otherwise, there’s no reason to show up or build a team,” Epstein said. “It’s postseason or bust every year. That’s what our goal is. That said, we’re obviously building for something greater, which is a time when we can expect to get into the postseason every year."

    I think you're misinterpreting him a bit.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    “It’s postseason or bust every year. That’s what our goal is."........

    not much different from what i wrote.

    It will be a Bust if the Cubs do not make it in the playoffs in 2013....that is what every teams drive for each season.......If I am Dale, I am telling the guys on the first day of full squad "F*** playing for 500 this year...we are going to the World Series this year...give me everything you got"........no one wants to sit back and watch the other team celebrating a clinching division game on your home field......who says we cannot win this year?....forget about 2012...it is a new season...new players.....new attitude.......you come into camp with that last year losing attitude, you will get your a** kicked in the locker room..........some of these so called "baseball experts" who write for national baseball articles, know little about baseball than they know about fornication.......they are a bunch of NYC / Boston team supporters who believe their teams are better than everyone else..........they hate every time when they see a Chicago team beat their team in any sport......so F*** those sports writers who are anti Chicago.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Please find anywhere that he even implies he thinks this: "the Cubs *should* be a playoff team."

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Do you think managers actually say, "ok guys...we're not going to contend this year so don't give me all you've got."??? Come on, Man.

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    In reply to Ben20:

    Pete Rose did. But he also had had half a mil bet on the opponents.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:


  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Its two different things. It appears that you're interpreting it as him saying, "I expect this team to make the playoffs in 2013. If they don't, I'll be extremely unhappy."

    Whereas the full quote implies something more like this, "We should always strive to make the playoffs every year. When we don't make the playoffs, the season has been a disappointment. So we'll definitely be playing hard in 2013, hoping to win. But at the same time, our focus is on building a strong core, not to doing something for 2013 just to win in 2013, but only doing something if it helps us win in other seasons as well."

    The "That said" is a big indicator, basically of a contrasting idea or a semi-contrasting clarification.

    The rest tells us what that contrast or clarification is:

    "we’re obviously building for something greater, which is a time when we can expect to get into the postseason every year."

    They're more concerned with building the foundation for a consistent winner than throwing in wrong chips just to make the playoffs this year.

    I don't think the two ideas are even close to the same thing.

  • Ive heard and read some less-than-flattering things about Larry Lucchino, and John Henry has seen more interested in Nascars Fenway/Roush racing team than the Bosox. Im also wondering, is Tom Werner the same guy who used to own the Padres before Moorad and really messed up the team?

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    Lucchino is a piece of work.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    John. piece of "work" isn't exactly the 4 letter word I was looking for...

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Larry Lucchino has the same initials, and management style, as Lex Luthor.

  • In reply to mutant beast:

    You're right, Werner had purchased a piece of the Pads in the past.

  • No one will accuse Theo of trying to add sizzle this off season.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    We already have Szczur...

  • John and Tom, I think that the Theo Group is the best thing to happen to the Cubs since Dallas Green, I really liked what he tried to do. The way they go about rebuilding the team along with great sites like this, I really mean it, give fans a place to see the rebuild step by step. I know we want a quick fix but as you guys prove to us over and over, the cubs were really messed up from the top down. Thanks to the Ricketts for recognizing what was needed.

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    The other thing about this that jumps out at me, is the fight over "sexy" players. it's hard to read too much into one quote (but I'm going to do it anyway). But, it seems like Theo doesn't want to go out and grab the guys with the hottest stats, but build up his guys who are role players and do lots of little things right. Pedroia and Ellsbury are probably decent examples of this. Seems like it could describe Almora, too.

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    Morse to the Mariners. Another solution for Philly off the table. Although, Upton to the Rangers is now a stop closer. And Upton a Ranger probably means Olt is not a Cub.

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    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Maybe not. If they do get Upton and Olt isn't a part of the deal they might be even more inclined to include him in a deal for pitching.

  • Lots of Cubs modeling the Nats stuff. Check out the offensive production of the Oakland A's starters prior to last year. Other than Cespedes, they had a lot of suspect hitters. Put me down as picking the Cub's as the 2013 dark horse. Sometimes stats don't paint the whole picture.

  • In reply to Break The Curse:

    I am looking at past stats, cycles, new blood, other divisional teams plus & minuses, Dale's first year of getting the feel of players, etc....and I have the Cubs winning 89 games in 2013.......I know it is crazy, but 2013 maybe a lucky year for the Cubs.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    We heard you the first, second, and third times too.
    Hope you're right -- but not betting on it.

  • I love the Cubs and see them consistenly pushing for a playoff spot in 2015 and beyond, but the only thing they'll be fighting for this year is a top 5 draft position. Too many guys who can't hit above .230 and whos OBP is less than .320.

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    Going back to what Theo's saying about making it to the playoffs every year or its a bust.. I love that. That competitive edge.. I'm very competitive myself.. And if I was Theo I would be doing the same thing Idc if we lost 101 games last year.. You might not as well have a season if your not thinking thy way..

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    In reply to Colman Conneely:


  • I really like our owner. He gets the Cubs. He gets Wrigley and Wrigleyville. He is measured. He is one of us and I believe success will follow.

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