Theo Epstein Resigns as Red Sox GM
Theo Epstein, the boy wonder who ended the Boston Red Sox’ long drought with a World Series win last year, has resigned.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein resigned Monday, surprising Boston and the baseball world just one year after he helped build the franchise’s first World Series championship team since 1918. The team said in a statement that Epstein will continue working for several days to assist in the transition and prepare for the offseason.
The Boston Herald, which first reported the news on its web site, said the Yale graduate has told associates that he may leave baseball, or at least take a year off. The Dodgers, Phillies and Devil Rays have GM openings, but none has a $120 million payroll to match the one Epstein was given in Boston.
The 31-year-old Epstein was reportedly offered about $4.5 million for a three-year extension Ã¢€” quadruple his previous salary. But it was still short of the $2.5 million a year the Red Sox offered Oakland’s Billy Beane in 2002 before making Epstein the youngest GM in baseball history. Although Epstein and team president Larry Lucchino haggled over the usual issues of salary and authority, the Herald said Epstein went through “agonizing soul-searching” about his relationship with his mentor. The Herald said a Sunday newspaper column contained inside information about their relationship, “slanted too much in Lucchino’s favor,” and convinced Epstein there had been a breach of trust.
Epstein grew up blocks away from Fenway Park and worked for Lucchino with the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres. A lifelong Red Sox fan, Epstein was brought to Boston to be the assistant GM and promoted to his dream job in 2002, about five weeks before his 29th birthday.
Theo walks away from Sox (Boston Herald)
Theo Epstein stunned the Red Sox and the baseball world this afternoon by walking away from his job as general manager. Just hours before his deal was set to expire at midnight, Epstein told his bosses and associates at the Red SoxÃ¢€™ Yawkey Way offices that he had decided not to accept a three-year deal worth $1.5 million a year, an extension for the contract he signed on Nov. 25, 2002.
Epstein had done some agonizing soul-searching the past few days, torn between staying at the job he had always coveted since his childhood days in Brookline and leaving because of intra-organizational politics and power struggles that he ultimately decided he could not live with any longer.
Quite bizarre. Who else would have given a 28-year-old kid the reins of a Major League franchise, let alone one of the most storied in all of baseball. Only the Yankees have a payroll even comparable to that of the BoSox, and that comes with the baggage of George Steinbrennar’s insane meddling.
Oddly, the MLB website reported the opposite earlier today:
It appears the Red Sox have taken care of a major piece of offseason business, reportedly reaching a new contract agreement with general manager Theo Epstein. The Boston Globe reported on Monday that the two sides have agreed to a three-year pact that will keep Epstein running the Red Sox’s baseball operations department through the 2008 season.
If a deal is indeed in place, it is not yet known if an announcement will be made before midnight, when Epstein’s current contract expires. Red Sox executive vice president/public affairs Charles Steinberg, who would be the lead man in orchestrating a press conference to announce the deal, said Monday morning that he hadn’t heard anything yet and the club had not — as of 9:45 a.m. ET — begun the process of arranging an official announcement.
So it goes. I suspect the Sox will have little trouble finding someone willing to take over for Epstein.