Epstein learns from mistakes with Red Sox; commits to rebuilding Cubs


With news that the Chicago Cubs acquired former Red Sox draft pick and prospect Anthony Rizzo, it further points to the rebuilding commitment that Theo Epstein has deemed appropriate for the lovable losers.  In an effort to shed salary, strip down the club and start from scratch, Epstein continues to stock pile prospects and key pieces for the future, with the hope that one day he can bring a World Series to the north side of Chicago.

Going with Rizzo to Chicago is the young Zach Cates, a highly regarded pitching prospect.  Epstein sent a promising young arm the other way in Andrew Cashner along with A level outfielder Kyung-Min Na back to San Diego.

With deals like the Zambrano one and now trying to crawl out from the Alfonso Soriano contract, Epstein realizes the value of prospects.  Hence the deal he made to get Rizzo from San Diego, who now fills the first base void.  But with all this rebuilding talk that Epstein is spewing out, it makes one wonder why he never thought of doing it while he was in Boston.

Perhaps it’s because after two World Series titles in four years Epstein helped create a monster in Red Sox Nation.  As fans, our hopes and expectations have been sky high ever since those so called “glory years” and now anything short of a World Series berth is borderline unacceptable.

In Chicago, the die hard Cubs fans haven’t won in over 100 years, so really to them what’s the difference if Epstein rebuilds now or never.  It’s the right thing to do for the Cubs organization and they have the right guy leading the charge.

Like the Cubs, years of big contracts in Boston did and continue to bite this team in the rear with John Lackey leading that list. Mike Cameron was another veteran player brought in as a free-agent, only to spend too much time on the DL and not enough in the outfield contributing to his team.  The Cameron signing forced Ellsbury to left-field which in turn cost him the 2010 season after colliding with Adrian Beltre.

Victor Martinez was acquired in 2008 for prospects and he’s no longer in town.  He walked for away for nothing and in the end, Esptein gave up pitchers Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price.

Jason Bay was brought in as part of the Manny Ramirez deal, one that had to be made.  But also sent packing out of Boston were prospects Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen who went to Pittsburgh.  Eventually, the fragile Bay was also allowed to walk away as a free-agent, again leaving the club with nothing to show for it.

Of course there is the Adrian Gonzalez deal that saw four prospects go the other way, including Anthony Rizzo and most importantly Casey Kelly.  While it’s too early to tell if this was a raw deal for the Red Sox, they didn’t make the playoffs with Gonzalez in his first season in Boston, so it doesn’t look real appealing at the moment.

These are just a few of the major deals that have handcuffed the Red Sox over the past few seasons and while the short-term results did include a few playoff berths, there was only one ALCS appearance and no World Series births.  Again, when you’re used to winning and high profile deals are made the result better be a little more than a wild card title.   Epstein never displayed these rebuilding philosophies during his tenure in Boston and should the Cubs win it all in the  next five years it begs the question as to why not? Throwing money at the situation hasn’t brought forth any titles in the last few years, in fact you could argue the Red Sox weren’t even close.  Maybe Epstein learnt from that mistake and is better off from it. The only problem, is that he’s now in Chicago and the heavy burdened contracts and prospect famished cupboard still remains in Boston.

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