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Dodgers, Red Sox & Theo Epstein

By bullpenbrian at 08.26.2012 2 comments.

As crazy as the Dodgers and Red Sox deal is financially for Los Angeles, I like the fact Magic’s group is going all in.

The Dodgers are one game back in the NL Wild Card and two-games back of the NL West leading Giants. But they essentially became favorites to make the postseason overnight with the arrivals of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto this weekend.

The expectation, of course, is for Los Angeles to make a deep run in the playoffs–if not appear in the World Series. Anything less would seem an embarrassment of riches.

However, this deal doesn’t just set the Dodgers up in the short-term. They’ll be in position to remain contenders for years to come, even if the financial effects are haunting down the road.

If there was a price tag on repairing the damage done by the Frank McCourt era, this deal was it. And although it hardly makes sense on the ledger, it doesn’t have to if the Dodgers win it all.

EPSTEIN’S FINGERPRINTS ALL OVER BOSTON TRADE

The Red Sox, meanwhile, hit the reset button on the mess partly created by none other than Cubs president Theo Epstein.

Had it not been for Epstein’s outlandish free agent contracts doled out prior to his departure, the Red Sox likely wouldn’t need to tap out of the choke hold that was the $262.5M dollars they just shipped to Chavez Ravine.

Epstein, presumably against better judgment, had succumbed to the win-now mentality in Boston, one that works in direct contrast to his build-from-within strategy that ultimately ended the Curse of the Bambino and landed the franchise a second title three seasons later.

That’s exactly the approach Boston aims to return too given its new found financial freedom: renew a homegrown spirit, develop from within and spend a season or two rebuilding in favor of spending lavishly on the free agent market as Epstein had done.

While I truly believe Epstein was all about accepting the challenge of rebuilding the Cubs franchise, I also have to believe Epstein was fully aware of the situation he created in Boston.

His careless ways had turned to quick sand–a pit he wouldn’t climb out of—not without a lifeline from Tom Ricketts. “You haven’t won in how many years? Okay, sure…pull me out!”

Fitting how quickly Epstein is to remind Cubs fans ‘there are no shortcuts to rebuilding’. He would know. The colossal Dodgers & Red Sox deal proves it.

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2 Comments

  1. Chris Frye says:

    Isn’t there a way that you can have both the quick fix and set the team up for continued success?
    If the CUBS had adopted the DODGERS format of spend, spend, spend, (and they are one of few teams that have the money to do so) and put together a team that could make a playoff run and win it all, they would have recouped their payroll 10 times over, via marketing.
    Everyone across America would have a CUBS World Series hat, tee, and whatever else they could get their hands on! Wrigley Field would be packed once again just like the old days.
    After winning it all you have your fire sale, just like the Florida Marlins did and sell off your players who’s value has now increased that they have won a WORLD SERIES title! Doesn’t it make rebuilding easier after winning a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!!

    • bullpenbrian says:

      You’ve answered your own question here. I wouldn’t define fire-sale as continued success. The result of the the Marlins spending lavishly following its 1997 WS title was five consecutive years of sub-.500 baseball.

      When Florida rebuilt internally to win the title again in 2003 they fielded a competitive team in four of its next six seasons.

      If, in fact, it were that easy to not just to assemble a World Series team, but actually win the championship, more teams would follow the Marlins’ ’97 blueprint. But it’s not, and that’s because what happens if you don’t win? Then, at best, you’re digging out of a rut for the next half decade with teams similar to the 2012 Cubs.

      What Ricketts and Epstein are shooting for is sustained success, which gives the franchise a greater opportunity to reach the postseason each season and thus increases the chance to win a championship. Even if the Cubs were to reach the WS but lose, they would still be in position to return the next year, and for many years to come…very similar to what the Texas Rangers have done.

      But when you push all your chips in with ZERO guarantee you’ll win the grand prize, well, RIP if you don’t win. The Marlins, let’s not forget, won the ’97 title in the bottom of the 11th inning of Game 7 against Cleveland. How’d that gamble work if they would have lost to the Indians?

      What excites me most about Team Theo’s plan is there’s a greater chance the Cubs will have many opportunities to reach and win the World Series…and even if they don’t, at least they’ll have solid teams that play winning baseball. If Ricketts didn’t believe as much there’s no reason he would’ve brought Theo in to oversee the rebuild–opting instead to sign and trade for whoever are the best FA available–at any cost–by himself.

      Wildly spending money just isn’t a smart approach to winning, or marketing, for long-term success. Why not win multiple championships? Why not build a dynasty? Why not sell Cubs team gear to the masses every year?

      And look, there’s a part of me that enjoys the fact it’s not easy to build a champion. The investment means more, the games mean more and ultimately, the title means more.

      The tough part is waiting, of course. But seeing as how it’s already been 100-plus years of waiting…why not wait a little longer? The rewards are unimaginable.

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