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Sox talk Theo

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff  January 24, 2006 01:02 PM

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The Red Sox released the following statement regarding Theo Epstein's front-office role today:

The Boston Red Sox today announced that Theo Epstein has returned to the club with the title and responsibilities of Executive Vice President/General Manager. President/CEO Larry Lucchino made the announcement. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, who shared the role of General Manager during much of the time Epstein was away from the club, will stay on in key leadership positions within the Baseball Operations Department. Hoyer has been named Assistant General Manager, and Cherington has been named Vice President/Player Personnel.

Bill Lajoie and Craig Shipley, who also played an integral role in directing the Baseball Operations Department during much of the offseason, will remain with the Red Sox, Lajoie as Special Advisor/Baseball Operations and Shipley as Vice President/International Scouting and Special Assistant to the General Manager.

Attached are statements from Red Sox Principal Owner John W. Henry, Chairman Tom Werner, Lucchino, Epstein, Hoyer and Cherington as well as a joint statement issued by Henry, Werner, Lucchino and Epstein regarding Hoyer and Cherington.

PRINCIPAL OWNER JOHN W. HENRY ON THEO EPSTEIN
“On behalf of all of the partners as well as the entire management of the Boston Red Sox, I can tell you that we are exceedingly happy to have Theo returning as general manager. Despite the attempts of some to portray Theo’s return as a win for someone and a loss for someone else, this is a win-win situation. As Theo said in his press conference on November 2, and as we have all repeated, there never was a power struggle between Larry and Theo. It was simply mythology. I can assure you as we move forward that Larry’s role has not changed at all, and no general manager in baseball could ask for more autonomy than Theo has. This has never been an issue for us -- only in the media.

“Tom and I are very happy to see Larry and Theo working together again. People sometimes disagree. I don’t think you can have healthy relationships without disagreements and an organization is not going to evolve beyond mediocrity without them. This is not the same organization that Theo left. There was enough discord then to give Theo legitimate reasons to move on. Since that time Larry, Theo, Tom, Sean McGrail, Mike Dee, Sam Kennedy, our partnership and I have hammered out a vision and philosophy that we believe will give us the best opportunity to cope with the mounting challenges facing the most successful major league baseball clubs.

“I have certainly made mistakes in the past by not being more assertive when bumps in the road appeared. Larry, Theo and other managers in the organization do not need me in order to excel at what they do, but I have a responsibility to ensure that divergent views and our overall direction lead to a better and stronger organization. We’ve averaged winning more than 95 games a year since we purchased the club. We’ve listened to the fans and improved the fan experience greatly. We have provided excitement during the season as well as the off-season. We work together as an organization damned well and have a strong sense of humor about much of what goes on around us – thankfully. The media has been in much more turmoil over the Red Sox than has been the case internally. As from the beginning of our stewardship, we remain committed to fulfilling Red Sox fans’ hopes and dreams for the future.

PRINCIPAL OWNER JOHN W. HENRY ON JED HOYER AND BEN CHERINGTON
“Ben and Jed accepted the GM roles on an interim basis with the expectation that is was likely Theo would be returning to the club at some point. They enabled us to move forward on a business-as-unusual basis, acting in the best interests of the Boston Red Sox. We agreed with them before they accepted their new positions as to what their ensuing positions would be, so this is hardly a demotion. It is a fact that Red Sox baseball operations have been and will continue to be a collaborative process that its members enjoy.

“I want to express my deepest appreciation to Craig Shipley, Bill Lajoie, Bill James, Brian O’Halloran, Raquel Ferreira, Jason McLeod, Amiel Sawdaye, Galen Carr, Zack Scott, Jared Porter, Tom Tippett, Jack McCormick and Jean MacDougall.

“I also want to thank Theo and Jeremy Kapstein for assisting during this short-handed period. And I want to thank Larry for taking a very important leadership role in Baseball Ops during the last 10 weeks.”

CHAIRMAN TOM WERNER
“This is a very happy day for Red Sox fans. I have always had great regard for Larry and Theo, but my respect for both of them has significantly increased as I have witnessed them work through issues which have resulted in a strong, shared commitment going forward. We are a more united leadership group today, and I am very confident that this will translate into both on field and off field success.”

PRESIDENT/CEO LARRY LUCCHINO
“The Red Sox are a stronger, deeper, bolder, and more effective organization now that Theo Epstein has rejoined us as General Manager, and that strength, depth, boldness, and effectiveness will lead to successful baseball teams in the years ahead. While Theo was contemplating returning to the organization in an advisory role to Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, he and I talked and agreed it was best for the organization if he returned as General Manager – a title more appropriate for him because it accurately reflects the role he will play. John, Tom, Ben and Jed agreed that such a structure would be better and offered greater clarity, internally and externally.

“Theo returns as General Manager to an organization that is different from the one he left on October 31. The fourteen year relationship between Theo and me, and the passage of time over the last three months, have helped to put behind us the friction that developed during last year’s negotiations.

“During the intervening months, there has developed an even greater degree of comfort between ownership and management on the one hand, and, on the other, the talented, dedicated people who labor tirelessly and effectively in our Baseball Operations’ department, including Theo. While we will continue to have internal discourse and debate regarding specific baseball matters, a guiding long-term baseball operations philosophy has developed. We have implemented new mechanisms which enhance internal communication and which streamline external communication. Over this period, walls have crumbled, perceptions of one another have changed, and appreciation of one another has grown. As an enhanced sense of “team” has emerged, we have rediscovered that, whatever our differences may have been, baseball is at the center of our operations and our lives, and working towards the success of the Red Sox is a commitment which all of us share.

“On a personal level, Theo and I have concluded independently that the Red Sox is a stronger organization when we are both part of it. We have been comfortable assuring each other that a productive collaboration lies ahead, and we pledge to Red Sox Nation that we will devote our combined energy, undistracted, to the goal of producing a team that will continue -- and increase -- our competitive success for years to come. Make no mistake: much work lies ahead for all of us, and we fully realize that our future conduct must conform to our sincere aspirations.”

Let me also take this opportunity to inform the press that we shall be available to answer questions all day tomorrow.

Please ask then whatever questions you may have. Following that, we shall not address this internal office matter publicly. Personnel issues of the kind we have confronted during this off-season are, as most of you know, quite common in American corporations, large and small alike. I recognize that, in light of the unique nature of professional sports and the unique nature of the Boston Red Sox, our decisions and actions attract much keener interest and more intense scrutiny than do those of other businesses, and, in recent months, we have, to a degree, discussed such issues publicly. Still, I think we have grown a bit weary of all of the conversation about front office intrigue -- real and imagined. It has almost taken on a melodramatic soap opera quality. I criticize no one for that development, but we have decided that, to adhere to our primary commitment to our fans, front office personnel issues will remain in the office. In that way, we shall be more effective, and we hope everyone will keep their focus where it belongs -- on the players who will be striving, for nearly nine months of every year, to bring World Series Championships to Red Sox Nation.

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT/GENERAL MANAGER THEO EPSTEIN
“At the press conference following my decision not to accept a contract extension as GM of the Red Sox, I explained that to do this job the right way, I needed to put my whole heart and soul into it. I said that I should not stay on as GM unless I believed in the people I worked with and believed in the direction of the entire organization. As accomplished as the Red Sox were last October, there were fundamental disagreements among members of upper management with respect to organizational philosophy, approaches and priorities. This lack of a shared vision, plus the stress of a far-too-public negotiation, strained some relationships, including mine with Larry Lucchino. Regretfully, we all made mistakes, and, despite our best efforts, we were not able to get on the same page.

“Throughout November, John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry and I held discussions to see what lessons could be learned in the aftermath of my departure. Gradually, with the benefit of time and greater perspective, we tackled not only our personal conflicts but also the differences regarding our thoughts for the organization. We emerged, ten weeks and many spirited conversations later, with the comfort of a shared vision for the future of the organization, including the role of the Baseball Operations department. I deeply regret that the Red Sox were placed in a delicate position while we worked out these issues, but thanks to the selfless work of Jed Hoyer, Ben Cherington and many others, the organization persevered. I believe that with our new vision in place, with renewed lines of communication, and with a real sense of unity, we have a chance to be a greater organization than we were before. We thank Red Sox Nation for being patient with us, and we promise to work tirelessly, quietly, and in harmony to field clubs that can contend for a World Championship year after year.”

ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER JED HOYER
“The last ten weeks have been a challenging but very rewarding time for me and the entire Red Sox organization. Ben and I agreed to become co-GM’s during this difficult period because we thought we could bring continuity to a Baseball Operations department full of terrific people. We also wanted to help maintain a philosophy and a culture that all of us have worked hard to develop over several years.

“During our meetings with John, Tom and Larry in the days preceding our announcement as co-GM’s, Ben and I were not only aware, but also quite hopeful, that this structure could pave the way for Theo’s return. We are thrilled that it has. Ben and I are confident that our investment in the last ten weeks has been worthwhile, and we are proud of the job we have done during this period. With Theo back as GM, we will shift to new roles – the roles we were excited to take prior to Theo’s departure – and are eager to continue the work of this off-season.”

VICE PRESIDENT/PLAYER PERSONNEL BEN CHERINGTON
“When John, Tom, and Larry asked me to serve as Co-General Manager I was honored. I felt this was an opportunity to work together with Jed to help maintain continuity in our baseball operation. I believe strongly in the people that work for the Red Sox and the collective vision that we share. I believe strongly that the direction of our baseball operation is worth preserving. I am proud that Jed and I have played a part in preserving that direction over the past several weeks. In addition, I was aware that by accepting the Co-General Manager position I was helping to “leave the light on” for Theo’s eventual return. Since preserving the direction of our baseball operation is so important to me, I welcome Theo’s return as an opportunity to continue what we have started to build.

“In addition to maintaining continuity in our front office, Jed and I, working together with the rest of baseball operations, worked to fill holes on our Major League team. We are pleased that we have been able to improve our pitching staff and bullpen, fill important holes in the infield, and begin to build a deeper roster. Because of our relationship with Theo, we were fortunate to be able to consult him on many of these moves. Now that he is returning, we will have the opportunity to continue working together to build our Major League team as well as the entire organization.

“Although the last several weeks have been a challenge, it has been well worth it. We have an opportunity to build an operation that helps sustain long term Major League success. When we do, those of us who are fortunate enough to work for the Boston Red Sox, as well as the rest of Red Sox Nation, will benefit.”

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Joint statement from Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino and Theo Epstein regarding Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington, and to Craig Shipley, Bill Lajoie and the entire Baseball Operations department for their leadership, hard work, and selflessness over the last ten weeks. During a challenging time, this group managed not only to maintain continuity but also to execute what we see as a very successful off-season. In a final act of selflessness, Jed and Ben volunteered to assume new positions – roles to which we had planned to promote them last November – so that the front office structure upon Theo’s return would be straightforward, transparent, and accurately reflect the roles and responsibilities of each employee. We are also extremely confident that Jed and Ben will continue to play major roles in the future success of this franchise, and that their respective futures in baseball will be enormously bright.”

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