Next up, after a little delay, is Theo Epstein, the GM that brought an end to the Curse of the Bambino.
Epstein has brought the Red Sox 162 wins over his 8 years over the Red Sox; that averages to a WAR of 20.3 per season. He’s -41.4 in trades, 158.3 in signings, and 45.1 in the draft.
Year by year breakouts:
For Epstein’s trades, he’s given up 89.5 WAR and received 48.1 WAR; it’s a net WAR of -41.4.
Top 5 Deals
14.5 Net WAR – 11/28/2003: Traded Casey Fossum, Brandon Lyon, Jorge de la Rosa, and Michael Goss to the Diamondbacks for Curt Schilling.
5.5 Net WAR – 07/31/2009: Traded Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone, and Bryan Price to the Indians for Victor Martinez.
5.0 Net WAR – 07/31/2008: Traded Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss to the Pirates for Jason Bay.
4.7 Net WAR – 12/16/2003: Traded a player to be named later to the Rockies for Mark Bellhorn.
3.9 Net WAR – 02/15/2003: Traded cash to the Marlins for Kevin Millar.
Looking at the list, this really isn’t inspiring by seeing Bellhorn and Millar make the list; neither are elite talent and the Red Sox gave up no players in the deal.
The trade with the Indians could change; all 3 players the tribe received are still in their system. In fact, Masterson has started this season well and the other 2 pitchers are expected to be in the majors in the future.
Bottom 5 Deals
-16.9 Net WAR – 07/31/2003: Traded Mike Gonzalez, Freddie Sanchez, and Cash to the Pirates for Jeff Suppan, Brandon Lyon, and Anastacio Martinez.
-14.8 Net WAR – 11/24/2005: Traded Hanley Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Harvey Garcia, and Jesus Delgado to the Marlins for Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, and Guillermo Mota.
-9.2 Net WAR – 03/20/2006: Traded Bronson Arroyo and cash to the Reds for Wily Mo Pena.
-7.6 Net WAR – 12/08/2005: Traded Edgar Renteria to the Braves for Andy Marte.
-6.3 Net WAR – 12/20/2004: Traded Dave Roberts to the Padres for Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez, David Pauley, and cash.
The trade with the Pirates was a sticky situation. There was another trade on 07/22/2003 that sent Lyon and Martinez to the Pirates for Gonzalez and Scott Sauerbeck; the Pirates discovered Lyon had an undisclosed injury and wanted to void the deal. In the end, it ended up being F. Sanchez to the Pirates for Suppan and Sauerbeck; that still would have ended up -11.6 for the Red Sox.
Some might questions the Marlins trade being on here; there was a period in the off-season of 2005-06 where Theo was on a leave (AKA a play for a better contract). There were rumors circulating that he still had a hand in all of the moves, which I believe to be true. There is no way that Epstein would allow that to happen; my guess is Epstein was working with Jed Hoyer, who pulled off the moves. This deal can still change, as A. Sanchez hasn’t signed an extension with the Marlins. And remember, this was before extensions; anything Hanley, Beckett, or Lowell did after signing new deals doesn’t count.
When I looked at Billy Beane and Oakland, I expected a low score for free agency; I was expecting the opposite from Epstein. Theo scored 158.3 wins through his signings; I’ll have to look when I’m done, but this has to be one of the higher scores.
Top 5 Signings
17.8 WAR – 01/22/2003: David Ortiz
13.5 WAR – 12/14/2006: J.D. Drew
12.3 WAR – 12/24/2004: Jason Varitek (Re-signed)
11.2 WAR – 07/26/2006: Josh Beckett (Extension)
10.7 WAR – 04/15/2006: David Ortiz (Extension)
10.7 WAR – 01/16/2009: Kevin Youkilis (Extension)
We all knew signing Ortiz was genius, but he alone brought the Red Sox 29.5 WAR since the beginning of 2003.
I was suprised to see Drew on here; granted he can be a great player when he doesn’t have a hang nail, it seems to me that he’d average out to be worth less than this.
Bottom 5 Signings
-1.0 WAR – 01/12/2009: John Smoltz
-0.7 WAR – 12/13/2004: Adam Stern (Rule V)
-0.7 WAR – 11/09/2009: Tim Wakefield (Extension)
-0.6 WAR – 12/21/2004: Lenny DiNardo (Re-signed)
-0.6 WAR – 09/23/2005: Yamaico Navarro
-0.6 WAR – 01/24/2007: Kevin Cash
I was really surprised to see Epstein only miss by a win. I was expecting for him to take a few bigger hits on players he’s missed on (granted, that could be coming with John Lackey).
Smoltz and Wakefield are the only true MLB-caliber players he’s missed on.
Theo’s had some solid drafts under his belt; he’s also missed a few first rounders.
2003 – 15.1 Net WAR (David Murphy, Matt Murton, Abe Alvarez, Jonathan Papelbon)
2004 – 7.3 Net WAR (Dustin Pedroia, Cla Meredith, R.J. Swindle)
2005 – 14.8 Net WAR (Jacoby Ellsbury, Craig Hansen, Clay Buchholz, Jed Lowrie, Michael Bowden)
2006 – 8.0 Net WAR (Daniel Bard, Justin Masterson, Aaron Bates, Dustin Richardson, Ryan Kalish, Josh Reddick, Lars Anderson)
2007 – None
2008 – None
2009 – None
2010 – None
Papelbon was the main guy carrying 2003; he’ll have 1 more season to add to that total. The 2005 draft will continue to grow, as Ellsbury, Lowrie, and Bowden get their full time shots.
I can’t officially do grades until I’m finished, but Epstein is the leader in the clubhouse; I’ve only finished 13 GMs so far. He’s the only GM I’ve found at the 20 WAR/season level.
For the other GMs, click here.