Felger & Mazz: Former Sox GM Theo Epstein On Red Sox’ Struggles And Player Accountability

Theo Epstein, former Boston Red Sox general manager and current president of baseball operations for the Chicago Cubs, joined Felger and Massarotti on Wednesday in advance of the two teams’ meeting this weekend in Chicago.

Theo let the guys know how things are going with Cubs and the differences between life in Chicago and Boston.

“It’s different,” Epstein said, saying he’s at a place with the Cubs that he felt he was at with the Red Sox in 2002 or so. “We’re at a different point in the evolution of this franchise. We’re having to start some things from the ground level and build up. It’s going to be a bit of a longer process.”

How would Theo explain the struggles going on with the Red Sox this season? For one, he said injuries are playing a major role. Regarding the high ERAs of “stars” like Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz, Epstein said sometimes that just happens in baseball.

“If those guys are underperforming and there’s been regression, it’s a part of baseball,” Epstein said. “There are natural ups and downs over the course of a season and over the course of a career.”

Epstein said he’ll always feel a connection to the Red Sox, given that the team has always been a part of his life, and that he continues to root for the team (this weekend excluded).

“I’m always gonna pull for them and root hard for them,” he said.

Felger and Mazz also asked Theo about his role in last year’s historic collapse, and whether he regrets signing contracts like those belonging to John Lackey or Carl Crawford.

While he wouldn’t comment too specifically on Lackey, he did admit that he regretted feeling pressured to make a move when the move he hoped for didn’t work out.

“Some of the offseasons that we had were more offseasons of convenience — giving in to the need to be good next year,” Epstein explained, while bringing up the infamous “bridge year” talk from a few years back.

Epstein was asked for his one-word response to anyone who says he left the team “high and dry.”

“Look again,” he said with a laugh. “That’s two words, but look a little deeper. I don’t think that’s necessarily true. If you want to control that kind of narrative, then you don’t leave. If that’s important to you, then you don’t leave. You stay and try to shape it.”

Felger ends the discussion by offering a trade proposition of his own for Cubs pitcher Matt Garza.

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