Theo Epstein spoke plenty about his time in Boston on Tuesday when he was announced as the Chicago Cubs’ new president of baseball operations. That only makes sense when you consider it was Epstein’s first big job in baseball.
And while Epstein used his experiences in Boston during practically every answer he gave in his introductory news conference, he didn’t speak much about the way things ended in Boston.
After the news conference, though, Epstein spoke again with reporters, and he was a little bit more candid about the way his nine-year tenure with the Sox came to an end.
In fact, according to WEEI.com, Epstein admitted that he “probably” would have returned for another year in Boston if Terry Francona returned as Red Sox manager.
Francona didn’t, of course, and Epstein thought it best that he move on as well, as opposed to finishing his contract with the Sox. He explained that had he returned for just the final year of his contract and took part in the search for the new manager the situation would have been “awkward at best, disastrous at worst.”
It wasn’t like the Red Sox tried to stop Epstein from heading for Chicago’s North Side. The new president of baseball ops at Wrigley Field also explained that the ownership group in Boston offered Epstein pretty much anything he wanted in order to keep him in Boston.
“It wasn’t a matter of offers or contracts or roles,” Epstein said, according to WEEI. “John [Henry] and Tom [Werner] were kind enough at some point late in the summer to tell me that they wanted me to stay with the Red Sox, to stay with [Fenway Sports Group] in any capacity I could imagine. I could tailor my role to do what I wanted. It meant a lot to me. I was really appreciative.”
Even that wasn’t enough to keep Epstein at Fenway Park, or anywhere else in the Fenway Sports Group family. Epstein also explained that taking a job like the one Henry and Co. were offering him to keep him with the Red Sox jived with what he had been feeling toward the end of his tenure. Taking a new role within the organization would go against the Bill Walsh principles that Epstein explained in his Tuesday op/ed piece in The Boston Globe.
“The more that I looked at it, the more I realized that if you’re not leading the baseball operation, if you’ve been a GM and go into a situation where you have some sort of hybrid role, or you’re a special assistant or you get more involved in the business side or more involved in soccer, you’re essentially doing the same job but getting in the way a little bit more. I just couldn’t envision a role at the Red Sox that would have satisfied the principles that Walsh espoused that were resonating with me so much.”
Epstein also insisted that he never sought a new role or a contract extension (he actually asked not to be offered an extension), and in the end, he felt it was time for him to move on.