As the Theo Epstein saga continues to linger on, now surpassing both the Lord of Rings extended editions and all six Star Wars films in time, more information continues to surface about the Red Sox organization and how it has been run while Epstein has been GM. One of the main digs on Jim Hendry has been player development, although it seems that two of the players that Boston was originally seeking for player compensation were Hendry developments, Starlin Castro aka Golden Child, and Andrew Cashner. Two pretty good players.
Epstein’s replacement, if this deal ever happens, will be his current assistant GM, Ben Cherington, who according to several stories in different Boston news’ outlets and the Boston Red Sox organization, has been in charge of player development while working under Epstein. So all the praise that people have been giving Epstein for his player development was not his at all, it’s been Cherington.
Since 1997 with the Boston Red Sox, Cherington served as assistant director of player personnel, then director of player personnel, and then assistant general manager. In his earlier roles with the team, and even as second-in-command to Epstein, he was charged with developing the farm system and getting the most out of every player at every level of Boston’s system.
So it seems that Epstein was not terribly involved in player development and as I’ve been pointing out since this all started he’s thrown money at his problems. When Boston won the World Series in 2004 it wasn’t because of player development, it was because their salaries went from just of $99 million in 2003 to over $125 million in 2004. When they won in 2007 their player salaries totaled over $143 million, and the 2011 disaster totals at over $161 million. The Cubs were over $125 million this season and they are looking to trim, so how’s that going to work?
If Theo does come to the Cubs it will be interesting to see how much better player development really does improve and if he can talk Ricketts into writing some big checks like boys in Boston did for him. Now we wait.
Note: I’m sure the information on how Esptein ran things as GM has been available for quite some time, we just never cared until now.