Phillies: 3 reasons to pursue Theo Epstein for front office
By Matt Rappa
2. Theo Epstein knows how to do a proper rebuild
The Phillies have tried multiple rebuild attempts it seems since the 2012 season; all have all but failed. Epstein is the perfect fit to “right the ship.” He needed just two seasons as general manager to get the Red Sox a championship. Soon after being named as general manager in November 2002, he inked David Ortiz, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, and Mike Timlin to favorable deals, and acquired Curt Schilling and signed Keith Foulke a year later.
During the July 2004 trade deadline, Epstein boldly swapped Nomar Garciaparra for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz, as well as acquired Henri Stanley for Dave Roberts.
Fifteen of the 25 players on their 2004 Red Sox World Series roster were acquired by Epstein; just one player was homegrown (Trot Nixon). Three years later, eight Red Sox players on the 2007 World Series roster were homegrown.
The Cubs rebuild was not as fast for Epstein, but in five years he was able to turn a 71-91 Cubs team to a 103-58 team with a World Series title. Epstein is credited for restructuring the Cubs’ scouting and player development departments.
Just as Epstein did with the Red Sox, he assembled a roster with the Cubs that blended both homegrown and a core acquired through external means. Twenty-three of their 25 players on the 2016 World Series roster were acquired by Epstein — more than half (13) via trade.
1. Theo Epstein has had notable draft success
One of the biggest downfalls of the Phillies is their unsuccessful draft history, particularly in the first round. Alec Bohm appears to be an exception so far, but players such as Mickey Moniak and Cornelius Randolph, among others, fit the trend.
Epstein could immediately change that narrative. His Cubs, for example, had the consensus top farm system in Major League Baseball; his first three first-round picks alone — Albert Almora (2012), Kris Bryant (2013), and Kyle Schwarber (2014) — were all on the team’s 2016 World Series roster.
The Phillies had first-round picks Pat Burrell (1998), Brett Myers (1999), Chase Utley (2000), and Cole Hamels (2002) on their 2008 World Series roster, in large part thanks to former general manager Ed Wade.
When at the helm of the Red Sox, Epstein drafted eight All-Stars across his nine drafts, including Jonathan Papelbon, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, Anthony Rizzo, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Mookie Betts. Epstein also signed two additional All-Stars as international amateur free agents — Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts.
Pedroia and Bryant, both drafted by Epstein, are two of only three players in Major League Baseball history to win Rookie of the year, the Most Valuable Player Award, and a World Series championship in their first two seasons.
Clearly, Epstein would be a perfect fit for the Phillies front office to replace either Andy MacPhail, Matt Klentak, or a combination of both. According to Salisbury, they have interest; it is now just a matter of whether that interest is mutual.