Fort Myers, Florida
Theo Epstein is in his 6th year as general manager of the Red Sox.. Appointed at the tender age of 28... At age 30 he wins his first World Series.. Three years later he wins his 2nd.. I had the chance to sit down in Fort Myers, Florida and talk with Theo Epstein. Here's that conversation:
JJ: You've been through two World Series Championships in your young career. You've just got to be living on cloud nine with all of this.
Theo: I think the organization's accomplished a lot through a lot of hard work by many people. We're not necessarily satisfied. We always try to grow as an organization. Our goal's to be competitive at the highest level year in and year out. To do it by developing talent through the farm system. We're getting there. Last year was a good example that we want to try to reach the kind of consistency you can count on for us to be at the World Series or knocking on the door every year.
JJ: This is a little different than after 2004. You've returned a team virtually intact. Very little moves in the off season.
Theo: Yeah, I thought the right thing to do after '04 was let some of those guys go as they were getting older. Turn some of those draft picks we got in exchange for some of those young guys we've got now, Ellsbury and Buckholz. This year is different. We didn't have to overextend to bring anyone back. It's a good mix of young players and old players on the roster, get a lot of support from our farm system along the way so it's rare to be able to have the core intact a year after the World Series but I think it happened organically. I think it could be a good thing.
JJ: The Santana situation. You guys basically go to the altar with that and pull away...What were you thinking, there.
Theo: Actually, that was mis-reported. We never pulled away. We left them with two strong offers. You can never make a blanket rule. Never trade prospects for established talent. In Santana's case the established talent was so good and so impactful you'd be crazy not to try and pursue it but what they wanted essentially from us a whole generation of young talent in addition to the contract we had have to sign him to. We were more comfortable giving one or two young players and a couple of fringier guys. In the end they liked the package they got from the Mets better but we didn't pull back. We just simply weren't able to give them everything they were looking for.
JJ: Coco Crisp is a name that will always come up. He's a very valued player. Do you hear from a lot of teams on him.
Theo: Not really. It's not a great market for center fielders because of all the free agents that were out there. A couple of them still remaining. Corey Patterson and Kenny Lofton . We certainly think Coco's got tremendous value for us. We don't really care what his position in the marketplace is but he was the starting center fielder on a team that won 96 games last year. We were lucky to have Jacoby Ellsbury in the system as well. It takes more than three outfielders to get through the year so I like having those kind of assets to help us survive attrition.
JJ: You got your manager signed this spring.
Theo: Yeah. Terry Francona signed a long term deal. He's a core part of this organization and having him down to a contract that reflects that status is important for all of us.
JJ: Theo Epstein, Thanks much.
Theo: Thanks a lot. Seeing ya.
PO Box 4508