Epstein on his experience, youth, and plans for 2003
Here is the meat of
Theo Epstein's Zone interview last Monday afternoon 11.25.02 with
Sean and Will McDonough (and Tim Fox).
Will was on his case about his years of experience from the
went over his summer internships in Baltimore while at Yale, the
move to San
Diego, getting involved with contracts, scouting, player
draft, driving to PCL games, and going to law law school while
full-time for the Padres "what's wrong with a little Jewish boy
school at a nice Catholic law school?" :-).
Theo: "...drive up to LA and get the entire Pac-10, and San Diego
school baseball... Orange County area baseball's great. I've had a
see 10-15 picks in the first couple rounds just by scouting out
area, then going over to Arizona and scout over there as well. The
are the ones you pay to make these decisions but by getting
it's good not only for your own development, for me personally, in
development as a scout and as an evaluator but it's a good second
more looks you have, especially at high picks, the better off you
Sean: You've been asked about this a million times, some people
questioning your age, some fans, media people have expressed
Obviously you have a experience. Some fans would like their GM to
experience. You said you evaluated yourself, vis-a vie your
take on this job. What would you say to the fans who might have
about your youth and relative lack of experience at least in terms
Theo: I guess I would say that baseball operations in the 21st
century is a
little different than it used to be. There's a lot more that goes
game these days than strict talent evaluation and traditional
Branch Rickey said that there's no such thing as a good scout
under the age
of 65, and I think in a lot of ways he's right, some of the better
I've ever been around are 65 and older and have lifetimes of
draw on. And we're going to lean on those people heavily here as
But at the same time, there's a really complicated landscape that
with on a day-to-day basis, it involves multi-year player
involves a complicated salary structure for 0-3 players, salary
it involves talent that's available every day if we're prepared.
large amount of information that we have to deal with from
that are all computerized now to statistics that are obviously
It's a very complicated landscape so it takes a person who is
with all aspects of the job to be able to handle that. And a lot
these days, in baseball front offices just by the nature of the
work a lot
of the responsibilities tend to fall on young people. Young people
familiar with computers. Young people might tend to work longer
people might tend to have tremendous energy. So there's a lot of
being done out there by young people. I'm not necessarily speaking
myself, but just looking here at the Red Sox, we have a mix of
employees and younger employees and it's an outstanding mix. We
veteran scouts with experience that would make Branch Rickey
You know I was in here this weekend to talk to Larry about this
job and we
had seven front office employees sitting here breaking down
reports, redesigining our scouting software system, it was really
I would just say to put their trust in me. I have a lot of
this game. I don't think I have all the answers. We're going to
lean on the
right people. We're going to create a bit of a Yankee structure
might be the mediator and the leader of a baseball braintrust with
and decades of experience.
We know what we're doing. We're ready for this as an organization
things will follow.
Sean: What are the priorities as you go to work here. We spoke
earlier and he gave us a list of what he thinks the organization
address. As you look at making the major league team better for
what are you planning to do?
Theo: Just taking a short-term look, looking at the 2003 Red Sox,
the number one priority remains the bullpen. It was an area of
us in 2002. We addressed it in part, I think in hindsight, with
acquisitions of Alan Embree and Bobby Howry.
In hindsight, perhaps we could have acted more quickly. Perhaps we
have acted more strongly in that regard. Certainly the bullpen
and area where we can upgrade.
And the good thing is there are a lot of good available arms out
Building a major league bullpen is sort of an interesting process.
necessarily the best names available, who are going to be the ones
It's not necessarily the relievers who have track records of
saving 40 games
a year. A lot of times you can find values in the market. Maybe
pitchers who have failed as starters but have really good arms
might just be looking for that break to break into the bullpen.
find some young pitchers to help out in the bullpen the way you
Francisco Rodriguez in the World Series. You might some minor
agents, the Angels bullpen was full of them, with Brandon Donnelly
Weber. We're looking at all those avenues to build the bullpen.
Beyond the bullpen, we'd like to add one more starting pitcher to
the rotation and to provide depth. And we'd like to add some
a little bit to the line-up, a couple positions where we might be
upgrade either through trade or free agency.
Sean: ...thanks Theo, we're happy for you and we wish you good
Theo: I appreciate it and I would just say guys that we're all in
together here at the Red Sox. I think good things are ahead for
us, so hang
with us, I think you'll be happy with what you see.