In addition to his comments at the GM meetings last night, Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino issued the following statement today in response to numerous media requests for additional public comments on Theo Epstein’s decision to decline a contract extension:
“Although we are disappointed with the outcome, we respect Theo Epstein’s decision to decline our offer of a contract extension. We worked hard to reach an agreement that would be acceptable to both the organization and to Theo, but he has decided to take another path. I wish him all good luck wherever that path may take him. Theo and I have known each other for nearly fourteen years. Let there be no doubt that I am fond of Theo, and I have developed over the years great respect for his mind, his energy, his work ethic, and his overall ability.
“I would like to respond to two specific points about which I have been asked. First, why did I not attend Theo’s press conference last Wednesday? I was actually preparing to do so, as an observer, when my boss, John Henry, expressed the preference that I not do so. Therefore, I watched the proceedings on NESN. When I heard John’s very complimentary and very generous remarks about me, I understood why he felt it might have been awkward for me to be in the room.
“Second, of course, people have asked me to speculate upon the reasons for Theo’s decision. I shall not do so. Theo correctly characterized our meetings as “honest discussions that are private;” he made it clear that his decision was based upon factors that are “very personal.” I respect Theo’s privacy, and I will not speculate publicly about the reasons for his decision. The media has had, in my view, ample opportunity to ask him, and I decline to say more than he chose to say about what are, in fundamental ways, matters personal to him.
“I am grateful for the many contributions Theo made to the Red Sox. He exercised impressive leadership of our baseball operations department. The team performed well during his tenure. The 2004 World Championship was a great triumph for us all, but there were numerous other less glamorous triumphs as well. Theo played an integral role in most of those achievements. He made a very positive contribution to the continuing story of the Boston Red Sox, and I believe that his place in the history of the club is positive and secure.
“His departure, however, does not terminate that history. John, Tom, and I are optimistic about the future of this franchise. The Red Sox are in an excellent place, with outstanding people filling roles throughout the organization. There is every reason to look forward to exciting and, I predict, successful seasons for years to come.
“While, as I stated above, I shall have no further comment on Theo’s decision to decline our offers, I shall, of course, be available to the media to address Red Sox issues, including, most immediately, the process that will culminate in our selection of a new general manager.”