Theo’s back????!!!!

Petagine in a Bottle

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I'm not as optimistic as most of you. Theo on board is good, no doubt about it. Worst case it's all window dressing, a "look at this" puppet show meant to alleviate the justifiably large dark cloud hovering over this organization. Best case he helps Breslow chart a path for an earlier road to respectability. But nothing I've read tells me there's going to be any movement toward addressing the needs of this team in 2024.
You just be an average fan. And average fans are idiots, or so I’ve heard.
 

soxhop411

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According to people with an understanding of the arrangement between Epstein and the Red Sox, he was brought back into the fold, at least in part, due to Red Sox ownership privately acknowledging that they have, at times, not given the club the attention it has deserved in recent years as the FSG portfolio has rapidly grown.

Epstein, despite taking on a part-time, behind-the-scenes advisory role that includes involvement in all of FSG’s properties, will be in part tasked with re-instituting processes and lines of communication that made the Red Sox so successful during his tenure as general manager from 2003 to 2011. Despite team president Sam Kennedy and others repeatedly reaffirming the ownership group’s commitment to the Red Sox publicly, within the organization, there has been an internal realization that the club needs to be more of a priority for FSG — and that winning fans back is paramount after three last-place finishes in four years and a disappointing offseason that has included inconsistent rhetoric from team brass.

Epstein’s role with FSG will allow him to be involved in all of the group’s properties and allow him to work for a multi-sport conglomerate for the first time in his career. He will be an advisor for not just the Red Sox, but also for Liverpool FC, the Pittsburgh Penguins, RFK Racing, Boston Common Golf and the group’s other endeavors. The press release announcing Epstein’s role noted that “the company’s sporting operations across the portfolio and consult on strategic growth and investment initiatives.”
Epstein will mostly work out of his Connecticut home and will not, like he did as GM, be making decisions for the club or be intimately involved in day-to-day operations. His role will be more process-oriented, allowing him to take a wide-ranging look at the organization and to lend an ear to a group of key people who have history with him and trust him.

Epstein’s relationship with Kennedy, a childhood friend, is well-documented, but he also remains close with FSG president Mike Gordon and has a strong relationship with principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner even if his departure for the Cubs in 2011 led to frosty relations on a temporary basis. Epstein is also a close friend and former mentor of chief baseball officer Craig Breslow and the person who first gave Breslow a front office job with the Cubs in Jan. 2019. Before officially having a role with FSG, Epstein was involved in Breslow’s hiring by the Red Sox last fall and served as an sounding board to two close friends in Breslow and Kennedy, albeit on an unofficial basis. That arrangement will continue with Epstein having an official role — and access to information he might not have had from the outside. During his time as GM, Epstein benefited from having an experienced former general manager, Bill Lajoie, as an advisor. He’ll serve a somewhat similar role for Breslow even if his responsibilities are more widespread.

Epstein’s prior successful working relationship with Henry and Werner will allow him to have the ear of both owners immediately in a way that other top baseball decision-makers, like Chaim Bloom and Breslow, may have found difficult in the early years of their tenure. There is a sense among those familiar with the dynamic that Epstein will be able to — based on his skilled ability to manage personalities and track record of success — push Henry out of his comfort zone on potential moves in a way that others have not been able to. One source cautioned that it’s likely too late for that to come into play this winter with most of the free agent market picked over, spring training about 10 days from starting and the Henry-run Red Sox staunchly committed to building from within while keeping payroll at a self-imposed limit.
https://www.masslive.com/redsox/2024/02/what-theo-epsteins-return-means-to-the-red-sox-and-why-they-brought-him-back.html
 

SouthernBoSox

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One source cautioned that it’s likely too late for that to come into play this winter with most of the free agent market picked over, spring training about 10 days from starting and the Henry-run Red Sox staunchly committed to building from within while keeping payroll at a self-imposed limit.
Sure, with the non-Yamamoto top two free agent pitchers still on the market, "it's too late" to do anything about 2024. Got it. This is no surprise of course, the "payroll will probably be lower" quote already told us what was coming. Unfortunately it sure sounds like official confirmation that they are punting on 2024. Hopefully the rest of the article is true and there won't be any more of not giving "the club the attention it has deserved in recent years". If he's been given any real power at all, maybe Theo can make a difference in the not too distant future.
 

CaptainLaddie

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As someone who went as Theo Epstein for Halloween in 2004 (I wore a suit and had a nametag that read "genius"), I'm absolutely thrilled with this. The guy has basically done no wrong in his professional life, and it's great for the franchise he'll have input on how it's going.

Hell yeah. Let's go.
 

Kull

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"Theo Epstein will be joining the group as a senior advisor, FSG announced on Friday. According to Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy, one of Epstein’s most immediate and highest-profile tasks will be consulting as Liverpool hires a replacement for Klopp, who presided over nearly a decade of stability and success ahead of a summer that threatens to be one of enormous upheaval."
There aren't any negatives with bringing Theo into the organization, his resume speaks for itself. And yet despite joining an organization that fields a last place baseball team - the sport which is his demonstrated area of expertise - his "most immediate" task is to focus on the Liverpool football club's impending managerial absence.

Honestly, no snark implied or intended, but what does this tell us? Maybe they just want to distance him from the Red Sox and their impending 2024 planned non-competitiveness?
 

cfmoran13

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As in a veteran leader? Is it a bad thing if he is? I think a veteran who voluntarily runs an off-season "captain's practice" style camp for young infielders is a guy you want leading those young men.
The camp he ran is awesome. It's definitely a good support exercise for the young guys. It would just be nicer if someone who has actually had recent success, especially for the Sox, be there as a leader. I'm hoping Story has a bounce-back season, now that he's actually healthy, and can be that guy the rest of the team rallies around.

As for someone's suggestion of Devers as a clubhouse leader... I just don't see it. Sure, he's getting paid superstar money. I just think it's a position he's neither comfortable with nor eager to sign up for. If anything, he could be a "lead by example" guy, not necessarily a vocal clubhouse kind of guy.

More than anything, I just hope they have a more successful 2024 campaign than I'm expecting. Another disappointing season would be very difficult to watch. I know they're not winning the World Series this year. But, it would be nice to see them field a somewhat competitive team.
 

Murby

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I urge you everyone to read this piece.

This wasn’t a publicity stunt. This isn’t Lebron James.

This is ownership bringing in a guy cause they know they’ve sucked in recent years.

And that guy happens to be the best of all time.

Today has been as positive of a day as I can remember since the 2018 World Series.
I was happy earlier because at the very least, he seemed to be someone who could get Henry to open up the wallet. This new tidbit of reporting just makes me all the more (albeit: cautiously) optimistic.
 

DeadlySplitter

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Is "not giving the attention it deserved" additionally code for not greenlighting any big moves?

Has Henry just been saying no to every big potential contract after Sale blew up / he disagreed with DD's vision for the team?
 

SuperManny

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Is "not giving the attention it deserved" additionally code for not greenlighting any big moves?

Has Henry just been saying no to every big potential contract after Sale blew up / he disagreed with DD's vision for the team?
Devers got over $300M last year which seems to get ignored for some reason.
 

Kull

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Devers got over $300M last year which seems to get ignored for some reason.
It's not ignored, it's seen in the context of losing Bogaerts in free agency at almost exactly the same time (the Devers contract came less than 1 month after Bogaerts signed with the Padres). And with the dark cloud of trading a popular and hugely talented player a few years earlier still hanging over the heads of ownership. It's the sign of a reactive organization, and that is the real question here. How much leverage is Theo really going to have? Or did John Henry just go to his spreadsheet and figure that some number of $$ and a tiny minority level ownership for Theo is a hell of a lot cheaper than a Snell contract and buys him more time...for whatever his long term plan may be?
 

YTF

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Is "not giving the attention it deserved" additionally code for not greenlighting any big moves?

Has Henry just been saying no to every big potential contract after Sale blew up / he disagreed with DD's vision for the team?
Don't get me wrong I'm thrilled that Theo is back in any capacity, but as someone who was once largely supportive of this ownership I'm not sure where my optimism starts and my pessimism begins. We have to remember that Theo does not work for the Boston Red Sox, he works for FSG. So on the one hand, the group brought Theo back in part because "there has been an internal realization that the club needs to be more of a priority for FSG — and that winning fans back is paramount after three last-place finishes in four years and a disappointing offseason that has included inconsistent rhetoric from team brass."

Yet on the other hand, "Epstein’s role with FSG will allow him to be involved in all of the group’s properties and allow him to work for a multi-sport conglomerate for the first time in his career. He will be an advisor for not just the Red Sox, but also for Liverpool FC, the Pittsburgh Penguins, RFK Racing, Boston Common Golf and the group’s other endeavors. The press release announcing Epstein’s role noted that “the company’s sporting operations across the portfolio and consult on strategic growth and investment initiatives.” And..." Epstein will have a behind-the-scenes voice with Liverpool (which will be tasked with finding a new manager after the departure of Jürgen Klopp), the Penguins (whose GM, Kyle Dubas, is one of the youngest in hockey and is in some ways similar to Epstein) and other ventures, it’s clear his experience with the Red Sox will lend itself to him spending a significant amount of time working with the team."

The team in this case is FSG which is why I mentioned upthread that I was curious what the conversations were that brought Theo back. He's back because the team has not been paid proper attention, yet his attention is going to be divided across all of FSG's holdings as well as new ventures. I wish him well, I wish us all well.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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There aren't any negatives with bringing Theo into the organization, his resume speaks for itself. And yet despite joining an organization that fields a last place baseball team - the sport which is his demonstrated area of expertise - his "most immediate" task is to focus on the Liverpool football club's impending managerial absence.

Honestly, no snark implied or intended, but what does this tell us? Maybe they just want to distance him from the Red Sox and their impending 2024 planned non-competitiveness?
It’s too bad Theo’s focus will be divided throughout the FSG empire, but I will take what I can get. Like it or not, and as rough as things are in Boston right now, the Liverpool manager situation is the most urgent issue at the moment. A generational manager, who has had an incredible synergy with club and community, is unexpectedly leaving a $5 billion enterprise in the prime of his career. Shit goes sideways fast in footie, and when talking about an operation that pays $200 million in wages plus another upwards of $150 to $200 million in fees every year. I can see why it would be a priority. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be a long-term ongoing issue.

If Theo is going to try to learn and manage soccer issues going forward, it is definitely a concern, as that shit can eat you alive. Hopefully, he will leave it to the pros and leave some time for baseball.

Let’s just hope Henry does not decide he needs an F1 team. Because then we would be truly fucked. Soccer is bad enough.
 

Remagellan

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I urge you everyone to read this piece.

This wasn’t a publicity stunt. This isn’t Lebron James.

This is ownership bringing in a guy cause they know they’ve sucked in recent years.

And that guy happens to be the best of all time.

Today has been as positive of a day as I can remember since the 2018 World Series.
This. Theo has better things to do than serve as window dressing for anything. If he's here, he's here to work. And no one does that work better than he does. He's a Hall of Famer with a plaque in waiting.
 

sezwho

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This. Theo has better things to do than serve as window dressing for anything. If he's here, he's here to work. And no one does that work better than he does. He's a Hall of Famer with a plaque in waiting.
I agree completely, I admit to a slight crisis of faith whether Theo was so desperate to get into ownership that he’d agree to be a Sam-style human shield…but that thinking hasn’t survived the light of day and it’s sobriety.

Theo will save us. Again.
 

YTF

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I agree completely, I admit to a slight crisis of faith whether Theo was so desperate to get into ownership that he’d agree to be a Sam-style human shield…but that thinking hasn’t survived the light of day and it’s sobriety.

Theo will save us. Again.
Like I posted above, I'm not sure where my line between optimism and pessimism lies in regards to this, but I feel Theo coming to FSG is a good thing. I don't worry about him becoming a deflector for Sam. I think we get an introduction, hopefully some very candid remarks about how he hopes to advise the Red Sox management team and then I suspect we will rarely hear from him in any sort of official capacity. He's not going to be the public voice or face of the team.
 

HfxBob

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It’s too bad Theo’s focus will be divided throughout the FSG empire, but I will take what I can get. Like it or not, and as rough as things are in Boston right now, the Liverpool manager situation is the most urgent issue at the moment. A generational manager, who has had an incredible synergy with club and community, is unexpectedly leaving a $5 billion enterprise in the prime of his career. Shit goes sideways fast in footie, and when talking about an operation that pays $200 million in wages plus another upwards of $150 to $200 million in fees every year. I can see why it would be a priority. Fortunately, it shouldn’t be a long-term ongoing issue.

If Theo is going to try to learn and manage soccer issues going forward, it is definitely a concern, as that shit can eat you alive. Hopefully, he will leave it to the pros and leave some time for baseball.

Let’s just hope Henry does not decide he needs an F1 team. Because then we would be truly fucked. Soccer is bad enough.
An NBA team would be bad too J/K

Theo's attention might get a little divided but I don't think anyone, including himself, will lose sight of the fact that his primary area of expertise and achievement is baseball.
 

InsideTheParker

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This from the Mass Live article, cited above, is an interesting (and welcome) contrast to folks putting Theo in the Lucchino role:
During his time as GM, Epstein benefited from having an experienced former general manager, Bill Lajoie, as an advisor. He’ll serve a somewhat similar role for Breslow even if his responsibilities are more widespread.
 

Deweys New Stance

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I agree completely, I admit to a slight crisis of faith whether Theo was so desperate to get into ownership that he’d agree to be a Sam-style human shield…but that thinking hasn’t survived the light of day and it’s sobriety.

Theo will save us. Again.
I'll let my morning coffee mug speak for me
7757977580
 

Dewey's 'stache

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When I heard this news I almost shed tears of joy and may have experienced a George Costanza “it was almost imperceptible, but it moved” moment. :)

I all seriousness, this is by far the best Red Sox and perhaps Boston Sports news since 2018. Theo is truly a genius, a visionary, and a damn likable guy. If I were breslow I would soak in every bit of knowledge and feedback that I could. Things may not turn around instantly, but Theo returning has me re-engaged in the journey of my favorite team.
 

ookami7m

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In Theo We Trust (again).

The only downside to this move is if Theo gets into Lucchino style meddling, but I don't see that happening based on his track record.
 

joe dokes

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Theo was willing to go forward *after* meeting with Henry, Werner, et al. I'm confident that that means the worstcase scenarios posited here are very unlikely.
 

bankshot1

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For FSG who has invested so much in reinventing and reinvigorating the Sox brand and rebranding Kenmore/Fenway into a Sox DisneyLand, to starve the core product and let it wither seemed so counterintuitive to smart business and protecting a $5B asset.

I could see Theo as the turnaround guy, who restablishes their competitve position, and perhaps if FSG wants to spin off the Sox, and maybe pursue an NBA or NFL franchise, and create a Pro Pickle Ball League, Theo could lead a new group of hedge fund guys into Sox ownership.

But like many here, I agree this is the best Sox news in years.
 

JimD

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There aren't any negatives with bringing Theo into the organization, his resume speaks for itself. And yet despite joining an organization that fields a last place baseball team - the sport which is his demonstrated area of expertise - his "most immediate" task is to focus on the Liverpool football club's impending managerial absence.

Honestly, no snark implied or intended, but what does this tell us? Maybe they just want to distance him from the Red Sox and their impending 2024 planned non-competitiveness?
Liverpool FC is a legitimate championship contending club right now, while the Boston Red Sox are not, so the higher priority level is justified. To put it in a baseball perspective, Jurgen Klopp departing now is comparable to, say, Terry Francona announcing a desire to step down in 2007 or 2008.
 

staz

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Very pumped, but this "acknowledgment" by ownership that team "hasn't gotten the attention it deserves" is hilarious. Yes, things like finishing dead last 3 out of the past 4 seasons, trotting out Corey Kluber's corpse on Opening Day... I mean, no shit. I bet Chaim agrees.
 

Sille Skrub

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Theo is a baseball guy, through and through. I’m confident he knows what he knows and will be a huge help to Breslow and the rest of baseball ops. His name is now tied (again) to the Boston Red Sox. This is nothing but a great thing for all of us.
 

nattysez

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Theo has been into hockey forever and was into international soccer long before it was cool in the US. This seems like a dream job for someone who loves sports. "Hey, can you please keep an eye on our hockey, soccer, racing and baseball teams and make sure they are set up for success?"

Learning NASCAR may be a challenge, but that's why they pay you the big bucks.
 

bosockboy

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Theo has been into hockey forever and was into international soccer long before it was cool in the US. This seems like a dream job for someone who loves sports. "Hey, can you please keep an eye on our hockey, soccer, racing and baseball teams and make sure they are set up for success?"

Learning NASCAR may be a challenge, but that's why they pay you the big bucks.
And coming soon…NBA.
 

jacklamabe65

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On the wild side, I take long walks from my campus here and sometimes walk past Theo's house. While TB was rumored to move to Greenwich a few years ago, Theo did a year or so ago.

I remember he once recalled the BuddyLeRoux-Tony C Night debacle as one of his darkest moments as a Sox fan growing up. I always dreamed Theo would come back, and he has. I actually like his new capacity, as it will keep him energized and on top of things. Plus, Bres will have an invaluable mentor.
 
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jacklamabe65

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Jason Stark's just-published piece in The Athletic this morning is bedazzling: https://theathletic.com/5249104/2024/02/03/theo-epstein-historic-journey-red-sox/

Has it dawned on everyone yet — across New England, across baseball, across the big blue sports sky — that it’s not just an old friend who is returning to Fenway this month? It’s a one-of-a-kind figure in sports history.

“I think it has to be thought of in that way — in baseball, certainly,” Ben Cherington said. “I mean, 20 or 30 years from now, if you think back on this era of baseball, taking out people who wear uniforms, he’d certainly be amongst a short list of people who would be seen as transcendent in this time. And I don’t know who else would be on that list.”

“There are so many ways you can describe the qualities that make him special,” Charles Steinberg said. “The work ethic. His perceptiveness. His ability to retain information and to recall information. But it all adds up to one of the most capable minds I’ve ever come across.”
 
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Green Monster

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Theo has been into hockey forever and was into international soccer long before it was cool in the US. This seems like a dream job for someone who loves sports. "Hey, can you please keep an eye on our hockey, soccer, racing and baseball teams and make sure they are set up for success?"

Learning NASCAR may be a challenge, but that's why they pay you the big bucks.
Theo's advise to the Racing Team....."Full-Throttle"
 

TapeAndPosts

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Interesting from Stark's article is that hiring Theo seems to have been driven by Sam Kennedy — Kennedy had the idea, pitched it to Theo, got ownership involved, and persisted trying to construct the right role until Theo came onboard.

There was some speculation that hiring Theo was an indictment of Kennedy, but it really seems to have been his baby.
 

nvalvo

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Interesting from Stark's article is that hiring Theo seems to have been driven by Sam Kennedy — Kennedy had the idea, pitched it to Theo, got ownership involved, and persisted trying to construct the right role until Theo came onboard.

There was some speculation that hiring Theo was an indictment of Kennedy, but it really seems to have been his baby.
Well, he’s the one who has to be the face of this thing, right? With people as unhappy as they seem to be, that must be a pretty lonely role.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I guess I’m the only one here who doesn’t really care?
For sure, Theo is a local sports legend and deserves all the praise for ‘04 and everything that followed but he had some serious misses and blind spots. I’m not pro or anti just not sure at all how much effect he will have on the 162 games being played. My gut think very little…. My head thinks my gut is a cynical jerk.
 

simplicio

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No I'm pretty ambivalent about ownership moves generally. If he has a positive influence on the team that's great, if he has a positive influence on the tenor of this board, even better.
 

SouthernBoSox

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I guess I’m the only one here who doesn’t really care?
For sure, Theo is a local sports legend and deserves all the praise for ‘04 and everything that followed but he had some serious misses and blind spots. I’m not pro or anti just not sure at all how much effect he will have on the 162 games being played. My gut think very little…. My head thinks my gut is a cynical jerk.
I mean, he’s most likely the best baseball execute in the history of the sport. And he accomplished that before the age of 45.
 

lexrageorge

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Theo's return likely has zero impact on the team's on-field fortunes in 2024.

Where his return is likely to help is that Breslow can now appeal to both Theo and Kennedy with regards to what he needs in 2025 and beyond, and together they may be able to accomplish with Henry what Kennedy/Breslow alone were perhaps unable to do.
 

JimD

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Theo's return likely has zero impact on the team's on-field fortunes in 2024.

Where his return is likely to help is that Breslow can now appeal to both Theo and Kennedy with regards to what he needs in 2025 and beyond, and together they may be able to accomplish with Henry what Kennedy/Breslow alone were perhaps unable to do.
I think there is now at least a greater chance that John Henry can be convinced to open his wallet for, say, Jordan Montgomery than there was before. May not be much, but it's something.
 

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I guess I’m the only one here who doesn’t really care?
For sure, Theo is a local sports legend and deserves all the praise for ‘04 and everything that followed but he had some serious misses and blind spots. I’m not pro or anti just not sure at all how much effect he will have on the 162 games being played. My gut think very little…. My head thinks my gut is a cynical jerk.
Nah, you're not the only one. I don't really feel any emotion about it.
I mean, cool to have him around, but I don't see this as the savior coming home.
 

beautokyo

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Nah, you're not the only one. I don't really feel any emotion about it.
I mean, cool to have him around, but I don't see this as the savior coming home.
I'm in the same boat as you Bob. I hope it's not just a knee jerk reaction to the bad press about not spending money. The fans that were like....oh no....our Sawx are gonna be bottom feeders again this year and now .....here we go now. Theo to save the day. That's not gonna happen until the minor league teams are overflowing with top notch prospects. This is the new way now is how I'm leaning.
 

HfxBob

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I guess I’m the only one here who doesn’t really care?
For sure, Theo is a local sports legend and deserves all the praise for ‘04 and everything that followed but he had some serious misses and blind spots. I’m not pro or anti just not sure at all how much effect he will have on the 162 games being played. My gut think very little…. My head thinks my gut is a cynical jerk.
That just shows that even the best have serious misses. And most of that is just the capricious nature of investments in baseball players. I think Theo even said himself that if you're right more than 50% of the time on your free agent signings you're doing well.
 

8slim

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I'm happy that Theo is formally connected with the franchise again. That can only be a good thing.

I do understand some being ambivalent, though. Largely because it's quite possible, if not entirely likely, that Theo won't be devoting much time to the Sox.

Unless I misread the various articles on this (and please correct me if I did), Theo will be working part time for FSG while still engaged in his role with Arctos Partners. And as we've read, his role at FSG will be portfolio-wide.

Look, if he can be a confidant for Breslow, that's awesome. I do think the hope that he'll be a new face of the franchise or that he'll be the Henry Whisperer to pry open his check book to be a bit of wishcasting.

By his own admission, he doesn't want to be deeply involved in the day-to-day of the Sox. I can't blame him, he did his time.