ESPN Boston just published an abridged transcript of Boston GM Theo Epstein’s radio interview with WEEI-850AM and, among the usual generalities that come with GM-speak, I saw this little nugget:
On getting outbid by the Yankees for Kerry Wood at the trade deadline:
“There were four major league relievers who were traded during the year who ended up helping their club, five if you count August, when [Brian] Fuentes was moved. Two of those guys we had given opportunities before…One…we couldn’t have gotten unless we gave up [Daniel] Bard, and Fuentes was behind us in the waiver order, and the last one was Kerry Wood.
“That was an important decision. We scouted [Wood] on rehab, we liked what we saw. He was available last minute at the deadline … and we put in what I thought was a pretty aggressive financial bid for him and we were outbid by the Yankees when they were willing to take on just a little bit more of his salary. It ended up being a great move for them and cost us.
I’ve added the emphasis to point out that the Yankees took on $1.5M of the remaining $3.67M on Wood’s contract at the time of the trade. I find it somewhat hard to believe that Boston couldn’t pony up that kind of money if they felt that Kerry Wood would give them a greater chance to be competitive. Either Epstein is blowing smoke and trying to deflect criticism by once again evoking the fictional “little Red engine that could” or he never intended to trade for Wood at all.
What was it that George Steinbrenner once said about Red Sox executive Larry Luccino when the Red Sox famously let Alex Rodriguez end up in New York instead of Boston? “Unlike the Yankees, he chose not to go the extra mile for his fans in Boston.”
I never thought Kerry Wood and $1.5M would be another case of the same, sad story in Boston. They live for self-deception up there in the so-called Hub.