Chicago Cubs: Why is no one pointing the finger at Theo?
First thing’s first. Theo Epstein helped the Chicago Cubs break a century-old curse (he also did the same for the Boston Red Sox). I’m not saying I want him fired, nor do I want him to resign. However, he hasn’t hit a home run on every deal and with every player and coach the Cubs have brought in during his tenure. (Heck, Brian Matusz alone is enough to make one wonder… although you could make the case it was part of some brilliant and maniacal scheme that helped propel us to the World Series in 2016).
In fact, Epstein has had his share of bombs and missteps, just like everyone else.
My point here is not to say that he hasn’t done a great job on the whole while being at the helm for the Cubs; it’s merely to point out that the same guy who helped us go get Jake Arrieta, Addison Russell and Jason Heyward is also the same guy who let Jake Arrieta walk, Addison Russell play, and Jason Heyward cash checks in the same neighborhood of what Bryce Harper might get this offseason.
Epstein signed Yu Darvish, Tyler Chatwood and Brandon Morrow last offseason (All of them had either a past injury or performance question mark). None of those men appeared on the Cubs’ postseason roster for the Wild Card game. Epstein traded for Russell. He also did not appear on that roster, due to off-field issues which have been discussed and speculated on ad nauseum.
Granted, Russell helped us win a World Series, but he also was accused of domestic violence in 2017. Why didn’t Epstein get ahead of that situation rather than let it fester for another year and a half? He fired Chris Bosio, John Mallee, Chili Davis and Jim Hickey after those coaches helped Maddon guide the team to over 400 wins the past four seasons (Davis was probably the only one a Cubs’ fan wouldn’t make a case for continuing on in his position).
He let 2015 Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta, go find his unlikely suitor in the Philadelphia Phillies after a very cold and harsh winter (yes, I know Arrieta rebuffed numerous attempts at an extension, however, Epstein could have played the waiting game for a known commodity and probably matched the Phillies in February or March). He also let Dexter Fowler walk after the 2016 season (admittedly, a shrewd statistical move, but an impossibly difficult clubhouse and leadoff-domino-effect move).