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Friday, January 26, 2007

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So basically you're telling us that since the previous administration was so god-awful, anything is better?

That's not really helping your case. Theo hasn't exactly been a brilliant trade-meister, and as anyone can tell you, dismantling your world championship team that relied so heavily (not really, their pitching was amazing, it's a miracle the Yanks won the first three games) on 'chemistry' the year after (resulting in a postseason sweep) is not a very smart thing to do.

Theo gained some serious kudos when he inherited an up-and-coming world championship team and led them to the playoffs, but he's no longer the 'boy wonder' of yesteryear. With baseball's second-highest payroll (and quickly closing the gap with baseball's highest), Theo has to prove that 2004 was not simply a matter of everything going right at the same time, which, to be fair, is what it's seemed like for each winner since 2001.

Pathetic might be a good word for the Sox management. Remember the Contreras hotel incident?
And now that the Yankess have opened a venture in China, how long before the Red Sox do the same? Baaaaaaaaaaa

Nice post, Paul. Though things changed with Duquette on some fronts, the current ownership group understands the value of keeping the franchise's momentum. I am glad to be a little cynical; surely many of their decisions are mostly about money, but that's been a good thing for us fans.

I always felt that John Harrington didn't really understand his fiduciary duty to the Yawkey Trust, and that this was one of the reasons the Sox floundered so much in the mid-90s. Though in the end he did get them good value and sold to the right people, it would seem.

Paul, Everything you point out seems to show that Duquette was an awful GM at points. I don't think many Yankees fans would disagree. But just because Theo was there when the Sox turned it around does not make him a good GM. Alot of that team was built by Duquette and a lot of it was lucked in to.

Imagine what would ahve happened if Theo had got the guys he wanted like A-Rod, Contreras, Loaiza and Vasquez. He only went after Schilling because he couldn't get Vasquez. And he only had the opportunity to trade for Cabrera because he lucke dout of not getting Arod.

This cuppled with the serious oversight of allowing players like Pedro, Lowe and Damon to leave the team and trading players and prospects like Bronson Arroyo, Cle Meridith, Hanley Ramirez, and Anibal Sanchez seems to indicatte a sustemic problem within the organization. That plus him leaving for a couple months and allowing the organization to go direction less for a period.

I think 2007 will be a goode test of whether Theo made the right moves becuase for better or worse the 07 Red Sox are his team. If they preform well I guess I'll have to eat my words. But looking at the situation right now, it seems to me more and more likely that Theo lucked into a good situation in 2004.

paul, excellent post as usual...a bit gushing perhaps, but i'll give you a pass on that...there are only 2 not so small details that i have to contest:

1. nomar couldn't have been one of the "seeds of 2004", because he wasn't even there after mid-year, and was labled as a bad teammate...a distraction

2. you guys hate this one, and i know one of you will clobber me, but here goes...more than anything you mentioned, a rule change, the wild card, allowed you to go to those playoffs and win that ws...i'm not saying you didn't deserve it, you had a great team and you did what you had to do...in some ways the wild card and an extra layer of playoffs makes it tougher, but the fact remains, without it, we're not having this conversation...

ted also has a good point...it's a little too early to be crowning theo just yet...

Certainly luck is a factor in Epstein's success, as it is in the success of every GM for every team in every sport. What if MLB had done their proper due diligence and discovered the illegal agreement the Jays had with Clemens? Would Clemens have ended up in Texas in the late 90s instead after a voided deal, and would he have ever ended up on the Yankees in that case? What if El Duque had gotten caught defecting? It's obvious that luck and chance are factors, but that's true for everyone.

The thing about the A-Rod deal is that I still think it would have been a spectacular trade for the Red Sox (not that I would go back and change anything!). A-Rod was/is just a great player, and there were corollary deals in place as well that would have changed the face of the team quite a bit. The bottom line is that once the deal didn't go through, Epstein was able to move on, and make tough decisions at the deadline with Nomar. Remember that the A-Rod shenanigans happened in the middle of the offseason, the cold of December and January, and the Sox won in October, with a very different team, in a league with different teams as well. That showed agility, and wasn't just a direct byproduct of the luck of not getting A-Rod.

As for the Wild Card, it's been in existence for a long while now. I think we can, at this point, accept is as a permanent condition. To cop out with an "if it weren't for the Wild Card" dismissal rings hollow to me. Thank God for it, but it's no evidence of anything with regards to the Sox' GM and his success.

Duquette also signed one of the greatest right handed hitters in baseball history, and brought Wakefield in as well. Actually, Duquette had a very good eye for talent during his tenure.

The greatest criticism I've seen levied at him was his inability to handle the media and protect his players from criticism, and his failure to keep an eye on the Sox's farm system development. Theo and company have done very well with the media and have done an excellent job building the system. I think their popularity among Red Sox fans (at least the blogging type) has to do a bit with the time, the fact that we live in a post-"Money Ball" era and the GM role has been elevated to one of utmost importance. It's like the auteur movement in Hollywood during the 70's. Every blogging fan wants their general manager to be called a genius. And Theo, who is young and has a publicly-announced respect for statistical analysis and Bill James, seems to conform perfectly to ones conception of the new GM. I think Theo's popularity also is that he signed David Ortiz and brought in Curt Schilling and the team won the world series. That could be a big one.

Epstein is a good GM. He is not perfect (hey, he wanted Pavano too, didn't he?), but he's no fool. At least that's my impression of him for the few short years he's had the job. Looking back on things 10 years from now it might be easier to really evaluate his work.

Duquette definitely helped build the Sox into a championship-caliber franchise, but unfortunately for him he's got the people skills of Dick Cheney. Apparently he's now over in Isreal building a league there, btw. They interviewed him a while back on ESPN radio. Al Gore has more charisma.

dc,
How far back do you want to take the "rule change" argument? In 2000 the White Sox, Indians, A's and Mariners all had better regular season records, so according to pre-1969 rules the Yankees wouldn't have been in the WS either (as just one example).

sf, there's "luck", then there's "dumb luck", i think the latter is what ted was accusing theo of having...he lost the big fish, had to settle for a smaller fish, but still had a good meal...i'm not knocking it, he proved he was nimble...
...it's easy to say now that you wouldn't want arod...fact is, you guys would be loving a lineup that includes him...i like mike lowell, but he's no arod...
...i'm sick of the wild card argument myself sf, but the fact remains, that it changed the game [and history] significantly for a lot of teams...the regular season used to be the be all and end all...win a division or you don't play...the nl purists still haven't gotten over the dh and how it help makes the al a better run producer...do you accuse them of copping out?...do ortiz and giambi have the same careers in the nl?...you can't be so dismissive of the impact of these rule changes...and, you'll have to pardon us yf's for whining about getting booted from the playoffs by teams that under the rules from a few years earlier wouldn't have been considered worthy...don't get me wrong i'm not against it, but it has helped change the way teams need to approach the post season...i'm glad it's there because we may need to get in that way sometime...maybe this year...

"dumb luck" would be Aaron Small.

"luck" would be not getting A-Rod.

"Not entirely luck, but luck combined with skill and smarts" would be not getting A-Rod and then moving on and making moves that win a World Series.

good point pastorsteve...we can go back as far as you want...i remember the days when the world series was the only postseason...the best team from the american league played the best team from the national league...the yankees won a few of those too...expansion, division alignment, and a layered postseason have done what they expected to do, get more teams involved, create pennant races [as in wild card] in divisions where there might be a runaway winner otherwise, and generate fan interest...i think i said it was a good thing, but it does alter the history a bit...having the wild card helped the sox get in, it's not the only reason, but it's indisputable...

having the wild card helped the sox get in, it's not the only reason, but it's indisputable

It IS indisputable, and thank god for the Wild Card, but what's the real point of focusing on this other than to belittle the teams that have won via the WC, dc? That's how it comes off, to me at least. The subtext of your comment is that only division winners who go on to win the World Series (and by extension, the Yankees) are true and unqualified winners. I don't see the point, honestly.

i'm not trying to belittle anyone sf, in fact i've been more than complimentary of your management and your team...you did get in via the wild card, i'm sorry but that's a fact...don't be so sensitive about it...i think pastorsteve showed me an example where the yanks won in a year that they weren't the "best" team...i'll get over it...

I agree that the rule changes alter the history. I can't say whether that's good or bad -- I guess it just is what it is. For those of us born around the time of the change to two divisions, it's easy to forget that wasn't the way it always was.

I think the wildcard has ultimately turned out to fairer in a three division system, since a team in a weak division could make it into the postseason with a mediocre record (say, .500), while a team in a stronger division wouldn't get in, despite winning more games during the regular season.

That said, it also changes the nature of the game, since a team (like St. Louis this year) can get hot at the right time and win the WS without playing exceptionally well in the regular season. Like the DH it's what we've got, and probably not going to change.

dc:

I'm not being sensitive, I just am not sure why it's worth pointing out. It's a very simple fact, like "the sky is often blue" or "Paris Hilton is a publicity hound". We all know it, so why draw focus on it other than to needle?

Anyway...

I think the matter of Nomar, or of Varitek and Lowe, points out how difficult it is to say whether luck or genius (or another team's lack of genius) plays a role in a team's success. Is Nomar one of the keys to the championship? Maybe, if you consider his trade value a positive -- did bringing in Minky and Cabrera make the difference? Maybe, maybe not. If the difference was chemistry, was it smart to let so many people go from the '04 team? Further back, was the trade of Slocumb for Tek and Lowe more genius by one GM or stupidity by another?

Personally, I think that Theo is sometimes too quick to make moves, although on the positive side he's willing to admit his mistakes and move on. His willingness to let go of Nomar, despite the potential for fan backlash (especially if it backfired), turned out to be genius. Signing Renteria, instead of keeping Cabrera, didn't. All in all, I think he's a very good GM.

Sme of the comments here are just dumb, not even bothering to take into account the point of my post, which was to say not that Theo is a genius or can do no wrong or hasn't made mistakes -- but that he and the ownership group have done a far better job than the previous ones, and that as recently as 10 years ago, an offseason was looked upon with horror, not with excitement. Duquette did a lot for this team in the long run. He signed Manny, traded for Tek, Lowe and Pedro, signed Damon, etc. He was an excellent talent evaluator -- a lot of the time. But he was a bad GM, and as a result, my childhood was filled with offseason disasters like the one I chronicled. To use that as a way to rbing up Contreras, Pavano, A-Rod, Clement, Renteria, Meredith, et al. is unnecessarily antagonistic and, frankly, not flattering to those wishing to go down that road. It simply intentionally ignores the point of my post.

Andrew in particular shows no understanding of what I meant or the recent history of the Sox by criticizing the "dismantling" of the World Series team, which in 2005 had bad chemistry, was old, injured and slumping. The Sox went out and got Schilling in 2004 specifically because they knew it likely was the last chance that the aging group of stars and free agents would be able to play together intact. Interesting, Andrew, that since the Yankees stopped winning World Series, ALL the winners since have really just been lucky. There's that good old fashioned YF arrogance. Very nice.

We can talk about how much luck played into Theoo's decisions, but as SF said luck is a major factor in all of baseball, including both teams. The Yankees lucked into acquiring Alex Rodriguez. How's that going? If it's to Theo's detriment that he WANTED Contreras and Pavano, how much more to Cashman's detriment is it that he overspent to acquire both those duds?

Nick's exactly right though. Duquette had his strengths, and he certainly played a big role in the ultimate championship, but 1997 was a rebuilding year, and he and Harrington just would not admit that to their fans. Instead, they trashed Clemens on his way out, signed a bunch of crap and argued that it with Mo Vaughn made them a contender. That was stupid, and I don't think I've ever really forgiven them for that.

Because needling sensitive Soxfans is fun. =)

Incidentally, since the prevailing myth is that the Sox should have kept Cabrera, his line in 2005:

.257/.309/.365, 8 HR, 57 RBI. Not exactly top material there. He did rebound pretty well in 2006.

"I just am not sure why it's worth pointing out."

It is a relevant fact that points directly to the reality that repeatedly, over the long haul of an entire season, the Sox did not compile the best record in the division. Pre-Wild Card, the penalty would have been missing the post-season and all the recognition and opportunities that come with it.

No doubt that the bar for regular season success has been lowered since the Wild Card came into play. And many franchises, including the Sox, have benefited from it – which was the whole idea to begin with.

sf, i'm guilty...a little of it was to needle, just like you guys needle about arod's chokes, yankees spending, jeter sucks, blah, blah, blah...i only call you sensitive when you overreact...sorry, i keep forgetting that the needling is only ok when it's one-sided...

"He did rebound pretty well in 2006."

Which means that maybe the change of address impacted his play. Could it be that the chemistry in Anaheim/LA wasn't as good? Or did he, like others on the '04 Sox, get warn down? Also, like some of the discussions around Nixon, the question is one of what value to place on personality or chemistry versus stats. The same question often comes up in relation to Manny -- is he more of a distraction than his numbers are worth? I'd say no.

Overall, however, it's really a subjective, instinctive sort of analysis. Sometimes I feel like Theo is relies too heavily on the numbers. Then again, he isn't weighed down by sentiment, is willing to let go.

Thanks, lp, for clarifying. I am glad you have developed a system by which you can bring yourself comfort through several years of team World Series failures.

This is like the Republicans making rules for a congress dominated by Republicans. They never think about what happens when the majority changes, and the rules get applied to them. If the Yankees win a title via a Wild Card, I wonder what you'll think. Will that championship be tinged with a subtext of failure for you? Or will you celebrate it unconditionally? I bet I know the answer.

That should say "worn down." (The first time I didn't preview...)

"No doubt that the bar for regular season success has been lowered since the Wild Card came into play." ...and that was my point lp...it's changed the way teams need to approach the entire season...i wasn't trying to belittle any of the wild card winners as i was accused...

paul, sorry if i've contributed to taking the discussion off course, but i already said my peace about your post...if my comments are "dumb" so be it...i happen to think they're brilliant, but i appreciate the difference of opinion...

I do want to know if any of our YFs think a Yankees team that wins the World Series via the Wild Card is inherently inferior to a team that wins it via a Division Title.

I personally don't think there's any difference at this point. All teams have one goal, winning a World Series. That's the measure of ultimate success in MLB; the path to that championship is not, and should not be, a qualifier.

Some of the comments here are just dumb, not even bothering to take into account the point of my post…that he and the ownership group have done a far better job than the previous ones, and that as recently as 10 years ago, an offseason was looked upon with horror, not with excitement.

First of all, ‘dumb’ is a pretty arrogant and obnoxious characterization. If someone doesn’t get your point, maybe it’s because it’s not all that significant to begin with. You are essentially comparing Theo to a long history of complete franchise ineptitude. Many GMs in the game would compare favorably to the Yawkey ownership era. You can’t screw things up much more than that.

Theo is solid. By no means is he a genius, as the media has crowned him to be. He’s certainly had some ‘dumb luck’. The A-Rod non-trade is definitely an example of that. Theo publicly courted him and didn’t get him when he fumbled the deal at the end.

Theo’s ability to deal for quality pitchers is suspect as well. Right now, I’m wondering about the wisdom of the Dice-K move when the pitching staff isn’t even complete. I guarantee that the lack of a closer will bite him in the ass, no matter how great a guy who’s never pitched in MLB nor pitched every 5 days is going to turn out.

...i already answered that one sf, scroll up...9:55am

Wow, so now Theo's totally responsible for the combination of John Henry not spending that last bit of money on A-Rod and for Gene Orza and the PA rejecting terms that A-Rod and Scott Boras agreed to. Amazing. What's next, Theo responsible for the Big Dig's failures?

(and thanks, dc, for re-pointing out your sentiment re: the Wild Card)

Is there a perfect GM? Given the luck and vaguaries and market constraints that define baseball—that make it interesting—expectations on what any GM can do have to be understood within reasonable parameters. No GM is going to win the series every season. Is Theo consistently putting an excellent product on the field, a team capable of challenging for the series? Yes. Is he making smart, reasoned decisions when decisions need to be made? Generally, yes. Have there been decisions that we can look back on and say, hmm, should have done that differently. Of course. But decisions are no made with 20-20 hindsight. The most important thing about the new Sox administration is that they have brought the cold-eye of reason and scientific objectivity to the business of player evaluation and team construction. That's a huge step forward, and it should be applauded, even if the results are not always perfect. They never can be.

I guarantee that the lack of a closer will bite him in the ass, no matter how great a guy who’s never pitched in MLB nor pitched every 5 days is going to turn out.

You guarantte with your own opinion? This is a ill-thought out statement. It's on the level of me saying that I guarantee Pettites elbow is blown by July. I can't see the future, and neither can you. Who says Boston doesn't end up with a closer who, while not Mo, does a serviceable job all year?
Why is Theo's ability to put a staff together in question? I point to Schilling, Papelbon, Dice-K, getting rid of Pedro when the world was against it, and drafting a whole host of young talent. Of course the Beckett issue is still up in the air, but not quite as much as, well, do I need to point out Cash's rotation buiding mistakes over the past four years? If anything, I applaud Theo for most of his pitching moves, less Lowe.
What would you offer as option for closer? Gagne? Ruin Papelbon? What were his choices here?

So now Papelbon and DiceK isn't "up in the air"? We'll see..

“This is like the Republicans making rules for a congress dominated by Republicans. They never think about what happens when the majority changes, and the rules get applied to them. If the Yankees win a title via a Wild Card, I wonder what you'll think. Will that championship be tinged with a subtext of failure for you? Or will you celebrate it unconditionally? I bet I know the answer.”

What’s ridiculous about this above is that you’ve taken what I’ve said and made several assumptions and run over a cliff with all of them.

I approve of the Wild Card and what it has done for baseball. This has been a long held belief of mine and will continue. So the GOP comparison is out in left field. But my support for the WC doesn’t change the fact that it as lowered the bar for perceived success. Sorry if that ruffles your sensitive Red Sox fan feathers.

It’s amazing that you can’t understand that someone can say it’s lowered the bar, but at the same time, think it’s a good idea and be in favor of it. It’s not a hypocritical stance.

And so I’m perfectly clear. A Yankee team that wins the WS via the WC is not an inferior team relative to other championship teams. BUT they are a direct beneficiary of the Wild Card system, one that allowed less superior teams over the course of an entire season the opportunity to compete in a tournament situation.

YF: right on the money.

dc, I wasn't talking about you. I was talking mostly about the one-timers who throw their venom out then leave and never return to defend it when they're called out.

" The A-Rod non-trade is definitely an example of that. Theo publicly courted him and didn’t get him when he fumbled the deal at the end."

Again, educate yourself about what happened before throwing out dumb (i.e. unintelligent, ignorant, uninformed) statements. If anyone bungled it, it was Larry Lucchino for trashing the union before they had made a final decision.

"You are essentially comparing Theo to a long history of complete franchise ineptitude."

Which is EXACTLY my point! That's why Sox fans like him so much -- because it's finally a bit of competence after so many decades of ineptitude! How you can manage to turn that around to some sort of criticism of my poiint is beyond me, LP, but you seem to have turned such verbal acrobatics into an artform here.

Fair enough, lp. But I don't think these statements would be coming out had the Sox won their World Series via the Division, and the Yankees had won some of theirs via a Wild Card. But that's probably the biased SF in me. I suppose we won't know, unless the Yankees win a World Series via the Wild Card, and I am all for that never transpiring.

Brad,

Papelbon and Dice-K are big question marks, given that neither has proven that they can succeed over the course of a season in one particular role. And both have shoulder issues.

In terms of the closer situation, that’s not really an opinion. It’s conventional wisdom. You will not win the division nor win a playoff series without one. To deny this would just mean you are in denial – and you wouldn’t be the only Red Sox fan to occupy that piece of real estate.

"Which is EXACTLY my point! That's why Sox fans like him so much -- because it's finally a bit of competence after so many decades of ineptitude! How you can manage to turn that around to some sort of criticism of my poiint is beyond me, LP, but you seem to have turned such verbal acrobatics into an artform here."

I guess it's just because I view your original point to be "dumb".

Nice, lp. Next time turn that gun away from your foot.

Sheesh, I only mentioned the 'everything working out for teams since 2001' because the next year they failed. And in the Red Sox's case, sometimes they failed completely. And never really came back. Arizona won in 2001, what happened to them? Angels won in 2002, only they, really, have been moderately successful since then. Florida won in '03, everyone knows the story since then. Red Sox in '04...third in the division in '06. White Sox in '05, didn't even make it to the postseason in '06.

So, has it been lucky to win the World Series since the dynasty? Looking at the results, it probably has something to do with it. It's not really arrogance to say that, 1996 to 2000(or 2001) was one of the greatest baseball dynasties of all time, everyone agrees on that. What it is, to compare WS results to that time, is unfair. Teams that won the world series since 2001 just simply had everything work out for them during that year (or looking at '06, during the postseason), and then it didn't happen the following years. I'm just saying that in 2004, everything kind of worked out for the Sox. Impressive? Yes, but not as impressive as every Sox fans wants it to be. Since then, they've pretty much failed, and Theo has NOT been able to compensate for the injuries or ineffectiveness. You know someone who has been able to cope with injuries to major players on their roster? Well, I won't say it here because this post is about Theo, but his name rhymes with trash man.

Theo is a pretty good GM, and for his age he's done some pretty spectacular things. But your post merely shows that you only love Theo because he's better than the disaster which came before him. And really, I think that says a lot about Theo and Co.'s tenure so far.

"Nice, lp. Next time turn that gun away from your foot."

Gee, I guess calling commenters "dumb" is okay by your standards. Nice SF, now I know where your character lies. Just don't cry if it comes your way - but I know you will.

And both have shoulder issues.


as do Pettitte, Mussina, Wang, and Pavano to some extent, right? I don't get what your point is, here? Every team has some kind of pitching issues, especially yours. To say Theo hasn't put together one hell of a staff here flies in the face of what every other person thinks. Papelbon is much less a question if he stays healthy than you'd like to paint of him. He's a dominant pitcher, and refuting that fact is not only crazy, but wrong.

Also, had you ever heard of Adam Wainright six months ago? Saying that you guarantee what the outcome will be long before you know what circumstances will take place is crazy. How do we know Hansen doesn't have forty saves? We don't, the same way we didn't know that Papelbon was going to easily be the most dominant bullpen guy for 80% of the season. Also, teams have won WS, divisons, and even playoff games with guys not named Mo. It is possible to get it done, it's just not as comforting a thought.

Yes, but not as impressive as every Sox fans wants it to be. Since then, they've pretty much failed, and Theo has NOT been able to compensate for the injuries or ineffectiveness. You know someone who has been able to cope with injuries to major players on their roster? Well, I won't say it here because this post is about Theo, but his name rhymes with trash man.
_______________________________


Really? How many postseasons has the "trash man" (I love it)overcome adversity to win it all?

You're funny sometimes, A.

Paul's use of the word "dumb" is stylistically arguable, lp and doesn't necessarily serve him well. But he explained the context for his frustration and also wrote the long post in the first place, which was at the very least thoughtful and considered and certainly not "dumb". Your use of it was for effect. You had made your point, but that last line you threw out was ill-advised, and didn't serve your case well. It turned something reasonably well-explained (if disagreeable) point into a silly insult. Paul wrote a lengthy post, and you dismissed it, yet stuck around for a fight. Why engage if you think it "dumb"? Why comment on the stupidity of it in the first place if you are interested in a reasonable and thoughtful debate?

That "dumb" comment on it's own, was a one-liner and a distraction and not useful. Hence the "shooting yourself in the foot" theme.

Oh, I dunno, I mean his team only won the WS three times. And was an out away from winning another one in 2001. That season had a ton of adversity, if you remember the two 3-1 comebacks in the ninth inning. And then we all know what happened in 2003. And then he 'coped' pretty well with his two corner outfielders missing most of the season this year. You know, by having the best record in baseball.

Now, let's not get into a pissing contest here, Brad, but when was the last time Theo's Sox even WON a postseason game? Remember that this post is about Theo being a great GM, and apparently, according to Paul, not just because he's better than the previous one.

his team

or Stick Michael's team, depending on your perspective.

Remember that this post is about Theo being a great GM

No, it's not. Seriously, read it again. It's about why Theo is held in such high esteem by the fan base and why offseasons now are different than they were 5-10 years ago. It is simply not a judgment about whether Theo is actually a great GM.

I did read it. And the first sentence is wrong. If people are thinking Theo is a great GM just because he's better than the previous one, well, that's the definition of 'drinking the Kool-Aid'. And, by extension, a big reason as to why everyone else thinks he's overrated.

Seriously, Andrew, not only did I make the point in the post, I further made the point in my rebuttal to the comments responding to the post. Then you go and distort the point again. At this point, I have to assume you are wilfully warping my point to make yours -- and yours isn't that good to begin with.

Oh, I dunno, I mean his team only won the WS three times. And was an out away from winning another one in 2001. That season had a ton of adversity, if you remember the two 3-1 comebacks in the ninth inning


Or, Stick's team won three WS, right? I mean, that's not even a debateable issue, Andrew. A quick browse through Yankee boards will let you know that's how the entire planet feels about it. Also, I'm up for a pissing contest anytime you feel like it.

GM just because he's better than the previous one, well, that's the definition of 'drinking the Kool-Aid'

Well, what kind of kool-aid is being dealt into the Yanks minds when they say that Trash-Man (I still love it) is great? He's done nothing but get worse every year since Stick built this team for him, right? They went from winning them, to losing them, to losing the ALCS, to losing the ALDS, right? I mean, I love the next logical step in the process here.

Brad - it's my honest opinion that it's still "up in the air" about Papelbon. Pitching the first year out of the bullpen like he did shows that he's got the "stuff", but he pitched too few innings to be seen by players to make adjustments, etc. And closers can get by with less, obviously. It's like saying Mo can start for the Yanks - as great as he is as a closer, I'm not sure if he'll do so well.

But of course, it's a risk I would love to take, so on that point you're right.

"Many Yankee fans don't seem to understand -- perhaps they pretend not to understand -- why Sox fans hold Theo Epstein and the current Sox ownership group in such high esteem. They accuse us of "drinking the Kool-Aid" or blindly holding to the "In Theo We Trust" credo.

The obvious answer, of course, is that within three years of the ownership group buying the team -- and within two years of hiring Epstein as general manager -- the Sox broke their 86-year-old championship drought."

It's confusing to me why you take such offense to a Yankees fan who does understand why you hold Theo in such high regard. And it's exactly the reasons you said we accuse you of.

All you are saying in your post about Theo is that Red Sox fans defend him and overhype him simply because he's better than the guy who came before him.

Notice how any discussion of how the offseason changed is completely separate from discussion of Theo - because they don't really have anything to do with each other. By framing your writing with those beginning and ending statements, you make that the ultimate topic, the flawed topic, of the post. At least, that's how it seems to me. You probably think I'm trying to hijack the meaning of the post into a bash-Theo party. I'm not. I'm simply replying to what the post seems to be about, and what I viewed to be a flawed premise. That's probably where the confusion comes from.

"Or, Stick's team won three WS, right?"

Exactly. Whose team was it, really, during 1996-2000? Whose team was it, really, when the Sox won in 2004?

That's why I think that Theo gets a little too much credit for winning the World Series - because he hasn't really done much of anything since then.

Of course, I could be singing a different tune if Beckett turns out to be a certifiable ace and Hanley and Anibal flame out. And if Wily Mo turns into the next David Ortiz at the plate, even I will probably be lauding Theo for his ultimate foresight and genius. But I kind of doubt that will be the case, and it's foolhardy and premature to rate Theo among the best GMs in the game right now.

The parallel with Cashman is interesting, too. But if you'd look deeper into the contract extension he signed last year, which basically gave him near-complete control, and then look at the moves since then, it's easy to see why he actually is one of the best GMs in the game. We'll see if he can continue pulling coups like Bobby Abreu, and signing good pitchers to short-term deals. But if you compare Cashman's moves to Theo's recently, as it stands, I'm going to say that Theo doesn't look too great.

But if you compare Cashman's moves to Theo's recently, as it stands, I'm going to say that Theo doesn't look too great.


hahahahahahah. That's hilarious, guy.

...if we're really being honest here, we could say that both gm's have made good moves, and bad moves, and some questionable non-moves...and, they both inherited teams that won championships, and have accomplished little, in our impatient minds, since those championship year[s]...the real winner will be the next one to win a ws, since we [some of us anyway] seem to be agreeing that winning divisions and regular season performance don't mean what they once did...but i'm not sure that winning will make a difference either, since there'll be something to bitch about or make excuses over...

"All you are saying in your post about Theo is that Red Sox fans defend him and overhype him simply because he's better than the guy who came before him."

That's an oversimplification of the point, but basically true. It's also much closer to the actual premise than your initial characterization of, "Remember that this post is about Theo being a great GM."

It's not just that he was better. It's that he was good compared to decades of outright incompetence, mitigated only by Duquette's flashes of brilliance -- followed by months of ineptitude -- during his tenure. (And that might be more on Harrington's head because of his insistence the Sox were a small-market club).

I don't see how that's flawed. It's absolutely true. We can debate the merits and nonmerits of Epstein's more recent moves, and it seems like we'd disagree. But the overall point is that we love Theo not just because he put the final pieces together to push the Sox over the hump, but because he has made things interesting again, worked well with media, and avoided for the most part the catstrophes we saw in the 1996-97 offseason.

Frankly, I didn't expect it to be that controversial of a point. The Sox front office was horrible on many levels. The current one is very good on many levels. This is why we like them. End of story.

folks, the sox won a ws on theo's watch...debating his level of responsibility for it is as silly as trying to make the case that it was grady's team...because he didn't screw it up, and in fact enabled it, he'll forever be remembered fondly in soxlore...and that's the way it should be....

...even though it was a wild card-tainted victory...sorry, had to get that in for my buddy sf...

One man's taint is another man's glory. or something like that.

why do Red Sox fans always have to compare everything to the Yankees?

Great read, Paul. If you are a Yankee fan and if names such as Woodward - Quinn - Piniella - Peterson ring bells, it's not difficult to relate to the tenor of this post, though obviously the comparison has different dynamics.

This blog transforms into such an intellectual pissing contest sometimes it becomes lame. I spend all day in class or at my clerkship at the DA's office, and when I check into this site I expect some nice reprieve in the form of some good baseball news and decent debate but this is stupid. It sound's like some of you guys are replicating the YF/SF version of that douchebag from Harvard in Goodwill Hunting debating with Matt Damon in the bar. Some of you guys shouldn't take your vastly superior intellect so seriously. (I can't wait for the "if you want to dumb it down BY78 just go to NYYFANS, or Dirt Dogs) LOL.

by78 - the problem with smart people is they can rationalize anything! =) I don't remember who said that, but it's too true..

"...intellectual..."
"...vastly superior intellect..."

...damn by78...that is by far the funniest post i've ever read on this site...

Goodwill Hunting.
One of my absolute all time favorites.
Bashers, be damned!

Guys I wasn't trying to be a prick with my post, it was half in jest. There are some extremely bright people that comment on this site and my point is that sometimes their debates escalate to something that... eh you get my point. But hey that's just my opinion. And Brad, GW Hunting is fantastic, good taste my friend.

BY:

It's the height of the offseason. There's no baseball. All NY and Boston football teams are out of the running. College basketball hasn't hit March Madness. Hockey is mostly irrelevant. The NBA is a bore. So there's no better sport right now than intellectual pissing contests, I am sad to say.

by78, i got the joke...it's still funny this morning, and sadly, it's true...but like sf says, everybody's bored, and that's what usually happens when some of these guys run out of arguments...they start to pontificate or go on and on about nuthin...

pontiffawhat?

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