The curse breaker has returned.
Former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is back in Boston's front office, but not as an employee — as an owner. Epstein has purchased a stake in Fenway Sports Group and will join John Henry and Tom Werner in the conglomerate.
The Brookline High School grad doesn't just join the Red Sox upon his return, but the rest of FSG's investments, such as Liverpool FC, the Pittsburgh Penguins, and the latest PGA Tour endeavor. Epstein will serve as a senior advisor for the group across all its investments.
On the morning of Feb. 2, WEEI's Rob Bradford said that a move was "brewing" for the Red Sox. Just hours after the Orioles acquired Corbin Burnes from the Brewers, fans were likely expecting a signing or trade. Bradford was referring to Epstein's return to the club, and despite not getting what it initially wanted, Red Sox Nation perked up a bit after the fourth straight offseason of disappointment.
Contrary to Henry and Werner, Epstein is known for making hard decisions that have ended well for Boston — trading Nomar Garciaparra to receive Bill Mueller and Curt Schilling is chief among them. Rather than dropping a fan-favorite player just to save money, which Henry and Werner have been all too happy to do in recent years (Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Justin Turner), it feels like Epstein actually has the Red Sox's best interest in mind. Despite not being a top decision-maker for the club, he may be able to bring some attention back to Henry and Werner's neglected first-born child, the Red Sox.
Theo Epstein reunites with the Red Sox and Craig Breslow
The 50-year-old has more than just one experience breaking a curse. The Cubs hadn't won a World Series from 1908 to 2016 — a malediction over 20 years longer than Boston's Curse of the Bambino. The same year Epstein signed an extension with the Cubs, the curse was broken and the Cubs won the 2016 World Series.
Epstein and the second-newest addition to the front office, chief baseball officer Craig Breslow, already have a positive relationship. During his tenure as Cubs president, Epstein hired Breslow as the team's director of strategic initiatives. He sent Breslow to Boston this offseason with his vote of confidence: “I’m a full believer in him and what he and his team are going to mean for the Red Sox.”
From the outside, Epstein is a welcome addition to FSG. After a winter of watching Werner make promises he couldn't keep — some would argue he outright lied — and Sam Kennedy telling Sox fans they're "liars" if they don't believe Boston is trying to be competitive, a more eloquent and trusted voice was needed to bring back trust in FSG.
Could the Red Sox's fortunes be changing with Epstein back in the fold? We'll wait and see what moves follow before jumping to conclusions.