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.

Padres may have more interest in Dallas Keuchel than Bryce Harper

Dallas Keuchel
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An interesting tidbit today from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, who noted that ongoing talks between agent Scott Boras and the Padres have focused more on starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel than slugger Bryce Harper. Earlier this week, there were conflicting reports on the Padres’ level of interest in Harper — MLB Network’s Jon Heyman heard the club had not ruled out another big signing after getting Manny Machado, while Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune talked to multiple sources who believed otherwise — but any agreement between the two is looking unlikelier by the day.

As for Keuchel, Rosenthal cautions that a potential deal is still a “longshot,” especially as the team has other, cheaper options in mind. The 31-year-old southpaw turned down a qualifying offer from the Astros last year and is likely angling for something north of the five-year, $90 million contract extension he rejected from the club in 2016. He’s coming off of another solid performance in Houston, where he went 12-11 in 34 starts with a 3.74 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 6.7 SO/9, and 3.6 fWAR through 204 2/3 innings in 2018.

While Keuchel has failed to garner substantial interest around the league this offseason, Heyman points out that the Phillies are looking to establish themselves as frontrunners for the lefty — and they’re far less likely to have hang-ups about his asking price, too.