The intersection of what the market will bear and what sports talk radio will understand isn't always a pretty place. Just ask J.D. Drew.
When looking back at Theo Epstein’s history—a history that now includes a complete overhaul and turnaround of a moribund Chicago Cubs franchise—unless you’re nitpicking, there’s little to criticize. However, if there is one aspect during Epstein’s run as a general manager in Boston one could pounce on, it’s a somewhat spotty track record with free agents.
With questionable moves from their past likely lingering in the back of their minds—Julio Lugo and Carl Crawford stand out in particular—both Epstein and Jed Hoyer have spent plenty of time in Chicago lamenting the fact that free agency is often looked upon as a ‘necessary evil’ of sorts. Their first big signing on the North Side, Edwin Jackson, stands out as one of their more prominent failings since joining the Cubs organization four years ago. But for the most part, by design, this group has avoided big free-agent signings. That changed last offseason when they made one of the bigger splashes of the winter by snagging Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal. The spending has continued this December with the additions of John Lackey, Ben Zobrist, and most recently Jason Heyward.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
How Theo Epstein's job security has given him enough time to build a contender.
Every day until Opening Day, Baseball Prospectus authors will preview two teams—one from the AL, one from the NL—identifying strategies those teams employ to gain an advantage. Today: the final two teams! Sunday's Opening Night teams, the player development appliance of the Cardinals, and the job security of Cubs' executives.
After being written off as a useful asset in 2011, Alfonso Soriano unexpectedly assumed an important role for the Cubs in 2012. How did it happen?
Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.
Sahadev Sharmais a contributor to ESPN Chicago and ChicagoSide, where he regularly covers the Cubs and White Sox. Sahadev spent four years as a radio producer at ESPN 1000 in Chicago and often dabbled in the blogosphere. In the fall of 2010, Sahadev focused his attention on the writing side of the business and quickly realized that was where he belonged. If not spending his free time with his wife, one-year-old son, and two Italian Greyhounds, you’ll likely find Sahadev appreciating Starlin Castro’s ability to hit, defending Adam Dunn, or watching YouTube clips of the Illini’s 2005 NCAA tourney comeback against Arizona. Follow him on Twitter @sahadevsharma.
According to a transcript unearthed by Adam, Theo Epstein almost derailed the Dodgers-Red Sox mega-trade with a call to his old friend Ben.
Days ago, the Red Sox and Dodgers pulled off the most expensive trade in history, but a just-released recording of an August 20 telephone conversation between Boston GM Ben Cherington and his predecessor, Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, reveals that it very nearly never came about.
The A's make a Moneyball move with Manny Ramirez, the Yankees round out their bench with Raul Ibanez and Eric Chavez, and the Red Sox finally get what was coming to them for Theo Epstein in Cubs reliever Chris Carpenter
The Cubs finished fifth last season, and the White Sox finished third, but the moods of their respective fan bases don't mirror their showings in the standings
You don’t really meet a serious baseball fan, native to Chicago, who roots for both the White Sox and the Cubs.
This is the only two-team town in which I’ve resided, so I don’t know if there is a similar divergence in New York, Los Angeles, or the Bay Area. I have a Chicago friend who is a transplanted New Yorker—he loves the Mets but absolutely despises the Yankees and everything Derek Jeter stands for. (Winning?) My own mother lives in central Missouri and roots for both the Cardinals and Royals, which might not be quite the same thing but shows a certain generosity of spirit. Undoubtedly there are many in Chicago who root for both teams, who grew up in some neutral suburb or West side neighborhood and just like their baseball however they can get it. Those people, assuming they exist, are a decidedly silent minority.
The important thing is to have the right people making these decisions.
John Henry took over as owner of the Boston Red Sox after the 2001 season, replacing outgoing chairman John Harrington. He made news this off-season by hiring Bill James to the front office and naming 28-year-old Theo Epstein as general manager. The former commodities trader made his fortune by following market trends and leveraging his interest in math. He recently chatted with BP about his goals for the Sox, his views on ownership and his thoughts on Red Sox Nation.