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Theo Epstein says the only possible thing he can say about those Cubs rumors

Sep 1, 2011, 11:00 AM EDT

Carl Crawford Signs with the Boston Red Sox Getty Images

If you’re Theo Epstein, there is absolutely no winning when it comes to answering questions about his job right now.

Sure, the Cubs would love to have him. Anyone would.  But Epstein is running the Red Sox right now so if he even hints that he’s interested in the job, it’s going to be a monstrous distraction.  Likewise, if he shuts the door with a slam, saying unequivocally that he does not want has never wanted and will never want to be the Cubs GM and that anyone who suggests otherwise can take a flying eff at a rolling donut, then he’s just being rude. And, of course, if he really would like the job, he’s hurting himself.

So it’s really a timing problem. Because he’s Theo Epstein and because Theo Epstein rarely if ever says anything that fans flames, any question on the subject of the Cubs’ job now is going to lead to a non-answer which strongly suggests that he’s a Red Sox for life without actually saying that and leaving the hint of a possibility open that he could bolt if need be.  And he was asked that yesterday. And he gave exactly that sort of answer:

“I try to avoid commenting on things that are so speculative. I know there are a couple of articles which have appeared but I’m completely focused on the Red Sox of 2011 first and foremost and what potentially lies ahead for this club. We’re trying to get to the postseason and win the World Series and I spend all my time working with my staff to make this the organization we want it to be for now and in the future. That’s where my exclusive focus is.”

And of course the reporters kept asking, so he said “Something like that I can’t even contemplate it long enough to comment on it. I’m all Red Sox, all the time.”

So one takeaway from that could be “THEO DOESN’T DENY INTEREST IN CUBS JOB!” which I bet gets played up on talk radio today if it hasn’t already.

Another, more reasonable take would be to say “there’s really nothing to be gained by getting quotes from Theo Epstein on this subject before the Sox’ season is over.”

  1. bigleagues - Sep 1, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    Theo Epstein was born and raised about 5 minutes from Fenway Park. As long John Henry is in charge and the Sox remain competitive annually, I can’t see any reason that Theo would even spend more than passing thought contemplating a departure from Boston. To have the situation he has there is about as ideal a job as anyone could ever want in baseball.

    I understand the “new challenge” angle and how he could be known as the guy who was GM who exorcised the ghosts of the Bambino and the Goat; but really, in Boston, every year is a new challenge to keep the Red Sox at a championship caliber level.

    He is already a modern day Red Sox legend. He has first name status throughout the sport, but especially in Boston and he is not yet 40. Short of complete falling out with ownership, why would he EVER leave?

    • FC - Sep 1, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      Not to worry, when he decides to part ways with the BoSox in about 15-20 years the Cubs will still be there for him to try to get them to the WS for the first time since 1908. I mean there’s no hurry.

      • FC - Sep 1, 2011 at 12:26 PM

        Crap that should have read: to get them a WS trophy for the first time… EDIT FUNCTION!

    • pellypell - Sep 1, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      Really good point about being known as the guy who broke both curses if in fact he was able to work his magic with the Cubs as well. Legacies mean a lot to people and moving on and doing it with another team would be huge.

  2. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 1, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    As a Yankee fan with the utmost respect for what Theo has done, I will say that I think the Cubs need him and he should go. Please…

    • bigleagues - Sep 1, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      The same goes for Cashman. If anything I pray that the Steinbrenner brothers stay in charge indefinitely and keep over-ruling Cashman’s decisions (like passing on Soriano). If Cashman is ever allowed to run the Yankees like the Red Sox allow Epstein to run things – the Yankees may never lose again.

  3. pisano - Sep 1, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    If he’s smart he’ll stay where he’s at. There isn’t too many teams that wouldn’t hold him accountable for Dice-k, Lackey,(lacking) and the latest dud Crawford, (over 320 mil. for these three) but on the other hand he has made enough right moves to get a couple world series wins.

    • bigleagues - Sep 1, 2011 at 1:22 PM

      Generally Theo has not been successful with Free Agent signings (Julio Lugo, Edgar Renteria, Lacking, Jenks, Cameron, Clement to name a few) but has excelled at drafting and developing talent (Ellsbury, Pedroia, Lester, Papelbon, Buchholz – and that doesn’t include HanRam, Anibal, Masterson) and at trades (Adrian Gonzalez, Victor Martinez, Curt Schilling, Jason Bay, subtracting Nomar) and finding value in reclamation projects or other teams rejected parts (Papi, Millar, Salty).

      Dice-K wasn’t solely on Theo’s shoulders. Ownership wanted that one just as bad because the Yankees were all in as well.

      Lacking is perhaps the most un-Theo signing of the Theo era. Never liked him. Will never understand it – even though Lackey was one of the only viable options available in the FA market.

      And its tad premature to be calling Crawford a dud, although admittedly, his margin for error is running thin. One major injury before he puts up a big season, and Crawford will fall squarely into the mistake category. But, hey, at least the Yankees didn’t get him (where he’d probably be mashing 30+ HR’s out of nowhere like Grandyman can).

      • pisano - Sep 1, 2011 at 5:34 PM

        I will admit Theo did draft real well, it’s hard to dispute Ellsbury, Pedroia , Lester,Papelbon and Buchholz. Not many GM’s can claim what he’s done in drafting players like that. It’s most of the free agents that he’s gone after that leave alot to be desired. Crawford in reality should do better in the future, but 142 mil? that was on the dumb side, or suicide take your pick. Lacking is just a has been, he’s Boston’s A.J. Burnett, two losers.

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