I’m conflicted. I’m torn between what I know to be true, and what is the truth.
I know that a blind monkey should be able to put together a winning team with as much money as the Red Sox have. I also know that nobody did it in Boston before Theo. It’s not working so great in NY and LA at the moment. So, maybe it’s not that easy. Maybe there was something extra that Theo had? I don’t know enough to know what I know.
I know that Theo’s admitted he needed to fix his evaluation process for big-ticket free agents. Was that a flaw he had? Perhaps. There were a couple signings that he made that weren’t stellar. Overall, I don’t have a huge problem with his free agents. I still love the Crawford deal. The Lackey deal is what he is. He was overpriced for a fourth starter, but the Red Sox can handle it. Even Renteria was better than he’s given credit for. But, I wonder, what is different about talent evaluation of big-ticket free agents as opposed to little ticket free agents? Did he use a different evaluation system for Scutaro than Crawford? Or trades? Why is it that he can be so dead on with players he trades for like Adrian Gonzalez or Curt Schilling? Wasn’t Gonzalez basically a free agent signing?
Or, is it just the big free agents that we remember? Maybe Theo’s strategy of throwing everything on a wall to see what sticks doesn’t work with big tickets. Or, is he assuming it’s only money so he takes more of a risk? I have no idea.
All I know is that Theo had good moves, and bad moves. He got too much credit sometimes, and not enough credit sometimes. I think it’s glossed over too often that the MVP of both his World Series wins were acquired by other GM’s. As was the ALCS MVP in 2007. In 2004, the ALCS MVP was signed by him. But, he was signed as one of two or three guys hoping to compete for a spot. Theo had some great drafts. But, he traded away Lester as a throw in before the 2004 season, only to have the deal overturned by others. He offered Ellsbury (or Lester) to the Twins for Santana, but the Twins turned him down. I don’t think he’s slammed enough for bailing on the team in a gorilla suit and then trading away players who he claims were doing the same thing.
I sense that I’m running around in circles with this. That’s pretty accurate. It’s just how I feel. Circular. I don’t think Theo was the savior. I don’t think he’s the reason the Red Sox are a great team. I think he’s more flair than substance.
But, I’m comforted that the next GM will probably be just like him.