• In Theo They Fuss

    Posted by on September 21st, 2007 · Comments (6)

    From Jim Donaldson

    Hope Theo Epstein still has that gorilla suit in his closet.

    Because if the Red Sox somehow manage to lose the A.L. East to the Yankees — again, for the 10th consecutive year, after having led them by 14 1/2 games — or, even worse, are quickly eliminated from the playoffs, he’s going to need it to slink out of Fenway Park next month.

    Let’s check out the Boy Genius’ off-base percentage this season.

    As all devoted Sox fans know, Theo and his stat-geek, baseball-fraternity-boy buddies put great stock in players’ on-base percentage. Off-base percentage, in the case of general managers — especially those with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend — measures how often they make a move that is way off-base.

    So, what’s your favorite Epstein deal this season?

    How’s that Eric Gagne trade working out?

    Do you think J.D. Drew is worth $14 million a year?

    Julio Lugo, Boston’s fifth shortstop in four years, was signed to a four-year, $36-million contract, but couldn’t be bothered running hard to first base with the game — and, arguably, the division title — on the line Wednesday night in Toronto.

    And, while we’re talking money, it should be pointed out that Daisuke Matsuzaka, who cost the Sox $103 million, is 7-10 since May 30 going into his start Saturday night in Tampa Bay against the last-place Devil Rays, against whom he is 1-3 this season.

    Is it any wonder, then, that it seems the Red Sox have been winning in spite of the moves Epstein has made this season — not because of them?

    We don’t even want to talk about last year, when Theo let Johnny Damon go to the Yankees and replaced him with Coco Crisp; traded Bronson Arroyo to Cincinnati for Wily Mo Pena, and gave up Cla Meredith in order to get Doug Mirabelli back.

    The Sox may yet regroup and win the A.L. East, then go on to play well in the postseason.

    But if they don’t, Theo might want to keep that gorilla suit handy.

    I wonder if Brian Cashman will do for Theo now what Epstein did for Brian back at the end of May?

    Comments on In Theo They Fuss

    1. Evan3457
      September 21st, 2007 | 1:18 pm

      If asked, I bet Brian will be very supportive of Epstein’s predicament.

    2. Sky
      September 21st, 2007 | 2:55 pm

      Wow, Theo’s definitely made some mistakes, but talk about ignoring all the positives! I especially enjoy the nitpicking about the Damon/Coco decision from last year’s point of view. How about this season and going forward?

      Oh, and how about the Daisuke paragraph where Jim uses stats (albeit poorly) to make a point about Epstein’s dumb infatuation with stats. Nice.

    3. Pete
      September 21st, 2007 | 3:16 pm

      I went back and re-read the Daily News article, and the jist of it was that Theo feels bad for Cashman.

      So that’s supposed to garner some sort of return endorsement from the Yankees GM?


    4. baileywalk
      September 21st, 2007 | 3:41 pm

      What has Theo really done since 2004? Schilling landed in his lap, and you can say his in-season moves helped win them the World Series, but it was really Schilling and Foulke who did that.

      He’s made bad trades and ill-advised free-agent signings. So has every other GM, of course. But J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo were obvious mistakes. Everyone saw that coming.

      Theo, in a sense, is a lot like Cashman: he can develop players well, but he’s not necessarily a good evaluator of other people’s goods.

      Using the word “genius” in connection to Theo is obviously misguided.

    5. mehmattski
      September 21st, 2007 | 4:40 pm

      Is it really fair to judge a multi-year free agent acquisition (Drew, Dice) based solely on the first year? It’s the opposite of the Johnny Damon effect: everyone calls the Damon signing a success because he had a good 2006. But if he ends up producing at or below replacement level in 2009, but the Yankees are still paying him lots of money, doesn’t that take away some of the “success” of the signing?

      Similarly, if Drew and/or Dice-K goes on to have a monster 2008 and 2009, does the bad 2007 mean it was a bad signing? If all of these were one-year signings, then you could judge them based on one-year results. As stands, it’s just reactionary hogwash.

    6. dan
      September 22nd, 2007 | 11:57 am

      “Is it really fair to judge a multi-year free agent acquisition (Drew, Dice) based solely on the first year?”

      Exactly. Drew may be a bad pick up, but judging after one year is idiotic. Same for lugo. Last year yankee fans were laughing at beckett and happy they picked up damon. Baileywalk was probably one of them.

      Wow, have times changed.

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.