Everybody knows Theo Epstein has built an absolute powerhouse in the Cubs. While they have been “slumping” recently, they still have a chance to put together a historic season and possibly bring the first World Series banner to Wrigley since 1908.
What some people don’t realize is that he built another current first-place team.
Here’s the most recent Sox lineup, from 5/22/16
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Of all of those players, Hanley Ramirez is the only player who wasn’t drafted or signed by Theo Epstein. Hanley was signed as an international free agent in 2000, but was traded before the 2006 season. Theo wasn’t even behind the trade, he was on somewhat of a hiatus from the Red Sox when Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer sent Hanley and Anibal Sanchez to the Florida Marlins for Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell. Many people wonder if Theo would have even pulled the trigger on that trade. Anthony Rizzo was also drafted by the Red Sox during the Theo Epstein regime, but was traded to the San Diego Padres in a blockbuster deal that brought Adrian Gonzalez to Boston. When Theo went to the Cubs, he then made another trade that brought Rizzo to Chicago. All part of his master plan. (I know that wasn’t Theo’s actual plan, but there are a fair amount of Red Sox connections on the Cubs current roster. Rizzo, David Ross, Jon Lester, John Lackey all play for the Cubs. Manny Ramirez works as a batting consultant, and Kevin Youkilis works as a scout and development consultant).
Betts, Bradley, Shaw, Swihart were all selected in the 2011 draft, the last draft of Theo’s Boston tenure. Pedroia was drafted in 2004, Vazquez was drafted in 2008, and Bogaerts was signed out of Aruba in 2009. David Ortiz was signed by Theo to platoon first base with Jeremy Giambi before the 2003 season, and we all know how that has turned out. Therefore, the entire Red Sox lineup with the exception of Hanley Ramirez were either drafted or signed by Theo Epstein. While Ben Cherington and Dave Dombrowski each put their own finishing touches on the team, this is essentially a Red Sox team built primarily by Theo Epstein.
Most people are well aware that Theo has built an absolute powerhouse in the Cubs, but forget that he has another powerhouse in the Red Sox. There is little doubt in my mind that Theo Epstein is the best at what he does, and if he breaks the curse for the Cubs as he did with the Red Sox, he may go down as the greatest sports executive of all time. Can you imagine if the Red Sox and Cubs met in the World Series this year? That could go down as a World Series for the ages. Here’s to hoping it happens.