Theo Epstein

Debunking the “blame Theo” movement

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I suppose that if the Rays keep losing and the Red Sox right the ship that everyone will quickly forget that we were all supposed to blame Theo Epstein for the Red Sox’ woes.  Hard to forget such a blitzkrieg of a meme, however, with so many people hitting on it all at once.  No, no matter what happened, you wanted to blame Theo, America. You really and truly did.

But over at The Platoon Advantage, The Common Man shows us that the blame Theo movement never truly made sense. Mostly by underscoring the fact that the “Epstein should have done something to bolster the rotation depth” charge is ridiculous on its face:

The Sox were prepared if one of their starters proved injured or ineffective. They were prepared if two of their starters couldn’t go. But the Red Sox this September have seen three members of their rotation on the sidelines, and John Lackey’s baffling inability to get anyone out. What reasonable GM would feel like they needed to have 9 viable starters on hand at the start of a season?

The answer is no one. But when a team slides, it’s hard to write a column about how it takes many things working right at the same time to win baseball games and how if some things go wrong it’s much harder to do so.  But “blame Theo?”  Hell, that writes itself.

Jose Bautista and the Blue Jays nearing a two-year, $35-40 million deal

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista flips his bat after hitting a three-run homer during seventh inning game 5 American League Division Series baseball action in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2015. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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It was first reported that the Blue Jays and Jose Bautista were close to a deal last night. Now Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is near completion. It will likely a two-year contract in the $35-40 million range.

Bautista had a tough 2016, hitting .234/.366/.452 with 22 home runs and 69 RBI, and some clubs likely considered a long-term deal for the 36-year-old too risky, this leading to the relative lack of reported interest in Bautista by other clubs. But back-to-back ALCS appearances by the Jays and the success and popularity Bautista has experienced in Toronto make his re-signing there a pretty sensible move for all involved.

The Jays, who already lost Edwin Encarnacion to free agency, get their slugger back on a short term deal. Unlike anyone else, they don’t have to give up the draft pick attached to him via the qualifying offer. Bautista, in turn, will make, on average, more than he would’ve made on the qualifying offer if he would’ve accepted it and a raise over the $14 million he made in 2016.

Padres sign Trevor Cahill

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Trevor Cahill (53) during the seventh inning of Game 3 in baseball's National League Division Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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The Padres have signed Trevor Cahill to a one-year, $1.75 million contract.

As recently as the middle of the 2015 season it looked like Cahill’s career would meet a premature end, but after being released by the Braves and signing with the Cubs in August of that season he has been a remarkably effective reliever. He has posted a 2.61 ERA in 61 games in Chicago and has posted a strikeout rate far above his career norms.

He’s not someone you necessarily want taking the hill when the leverage is high, but in San Diego the leverage won’t be all that high all that often.