Last week was a humdinger for the American League East.
Within a 48-hour interval, the Baltimore Orioles got here below new possession, then traded for Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes, including the 2022 National League Cy Young to the entrance of their beginning rotation.
The Burnes acquisition instantly makes the Orioles much more of a risk in additional methods than one. It’s the daybreak of a brand new period in Baltimore; the Orioles already had a prime farm system, and now, they’ve house owners who need to spend, too. Imagine that.
The Red Sox, in the meantime, had extra of a blended bag week. The Toronto Blue Jays signed Justin Turner to a one-year deal, eliminating the final vestiges of hope that the slugger might re-sign with Boston.
Principal proprietor John Henry additionally trended on X (previously Twitter), as a result of he confirmed up for a city corridor concerning Fenway Sports Group’s new $3 billion cope with the PGA Tour. That the principal proprietor was keen to carry a microphone after being a no-show at his baseball workforce’s annual Winter Weekend lower than two weeks prior infuriated Sox followers.
Then, on Friday, probably the most surprising homecoming of Theo Epstein (who obtained his begin as an Orioles intern, by the way in which). The former Sox GM is now a part-owner and senior advisor with FSG (topic to league approval).
It’s the feel-good story of the Sox offseason, although virtually by default.
Here are my seven inquiries to ponder this week:
1. Why is Theo Epstein becoming a member of Fenway Sports Group?
Is it a PR transfer or will Epstein make an actual distinction for the Red Sox?
Likely slightly little bit of each. That he’ll improve his private wealth by means of possession is a given. Last winter, FSG crossed the $10 billion threshold in Forbes’ annual valuations, and ranked because the fourth-most priceless sports activities empire on the planet.
However, in his new function as part-owner and senior advisor, Epstein is slated to work with the group’s numerous properties, together with the floundering Liverpool FC – head coach Jürgen Klopp and his whole teaching workers are leaving after this season – and executive-coaching new Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow.
Boston is aware of firsthand what sort of impression Epstein can have. Let’s see the way it performs out now that he’s an proprietor.
2. Why does golf out of the blue matter extra to Fenway Sports Group than their baseball workforce?
It’s definitely not the “full throttle” offseason chairman Tom Werner promised, and possession’s dedication to miserliness appears even worse in mild of their new $3 billion partnership with the PGA Tour.
It’s no coincidence that Epstein, a beloved, native hero, is returning at a time when FSG’s approval score is underwater. As MassLive’s Chris Cotillo famous final week, “He was brought back into the fold, at least in part, due to Red Sox ownership privately acknowledging that they have, at times, not given the club the attention it has deserved in recent years as the FSG portfolio has rapidly grown.”
Did possession assume that was their very own little secret? FSG’s buy and funding within the Red Sox made amassing such an infinite portfolio attainable, and but it’s been clear for many of the final half-decade that the basis of their monumental cash tree has change into an afterthought.
Epstein, who grew up a Sox fan in Brookline, will likely be tasked with profitable again the fed-up Fenway Faithful, no small order lately.
3. Does this imply Theo Epstein doesn’t need to be MLB commissioner?
Until shopping for into FSG, Epstein had been with the league workplace since 2021, serving as a advisor to commissioner Rob Manfred. However, throughout the 99-day lockout two years in the past, a high-ranking supply advised me that Epstein was “on a list of one” to interchange Manfred, whose unpopularity with the general public soared throughout the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal and the lockout.
But with Manfred getting reelected final July – receiving a four-year extension to stay in cost till Jan. 25, 2029 – it is smart that Epstein would pivot. It doesn’t imply he’s not all in favour of succeeding Manfred down the street.
He wouldn’t be the primary proprietor to change into commissioner. Manfred’s predecessor, Bud Selig, owned the Brewers earlier than turning into commissioner, at which era, he transferred his possession curiosity to his daughter. In 1992, a Texas Rangers proprietor named George W. Bush thought of throwing his hat within the ring for commissioner, however went into politics, as an alternative.
4. Did the Red Sox actually ghost Justin Turner?
Justin Turner didn’t decide into the second yr of his Red Sox contract, however that doesn’t imply he didn’t need to keep in Boston.
“Right when the season ended, I assumed that it would be a no-brainer,” he advised the Boston Globe on Friday. He and his spouse even prolonged their lease as a way to stay on the town.
Instead, Turner and his representatives had a tough time even getting the Red Sox “interested enough to engage in talks,” reported legendary Boston sportswriter Peter Gammons final week.
Some of that disconnect will be attributed to the entrance workplace turnover earlier within the offseason. The Red Sox had a harder time discovering a substitute for Chaim Bloom than they anticipated; it took over six weeks from his mid-September firing, with a number of potential candidates declining to even be interviewed.
Even so, this isn’t the primary time the Red Sox have been lower than well mannered of their dealing with of a former participant. When he grew to become a free agent after seven seasons in Boston, Brock Holt, who’d been one of the vital devoted Jimmy Fund captains within the lengthy historical past of their Red Sox partnership, made it clear that he needed to re-sign with the Red Sox and end out his profession with them. He mentioned didn’t even get a telephone name.
Is it so arduous to choose up the telephone and say, “Thanks for everything, we wish you the best?”
5. Why would anybody steal and destroy the Jackie Robinson statue?
Last week, the Wichita, Kansas hearth division discovered the charred remnants of the Jackie Robinson statue, which had been stolen from McAdams Park on Jan. 25, smoldering in a trash can.
The theft was caught on surveillance: footage confirmed the vandals slicing down the life-size bronze rendering of Robinson and loading it into the mattress of a truck, leaving solely the toes behind on its plinth.
Thankfully, the heartless act of cruelty was met with kindness and generosity from the general public and MLB. The authentic statue was the work of native artist and former firefighter John Parsons, who handed away a yr after its 2021 set up, and the substitute will likely be made utilizing his authentic mould. Last week, MLB introduced that the league and all 30 golf equipment will likely be paying for the substitute, and GoFundMe began earlier than MLB stepped in has additionally raised over $194,000.
6. With Bill Belichick gone, will the Patriots be as irrelevant because the Red Sox, or extra related as a result of folks will need to see how the post-Belichick period unfolds?
Were I a betting girl, I’d say the Patriots will nonetheless garner extra curiosity. The post-Tom Brady period has been tough to date. Will the post-Belichick period be any higher?
7. Have you watched Tom Werner’s new present based mostly on Celtics proprietor Wyc Grousbeck’s household?
I’ve been having fun with “Extended Family,” the brand new NBC present loosely based mostly on Celtics proprietor Wyc Grousbeck and his blended household. Red Sox chairman Tom Werner is without doubt one of the government producers.
“Extended Family” facilities on a divorced couple impressed by Grousbeck’s spouse Emilia Fazzalari and her ex-husband Tom Geyer, depicted on display screen by Jon Cryer (Pretty in Pink, Two and a Half Men) and Abigail Spencer (Mad Men, Timeless). Spencer’s character is engaged to a fictionalized model of Grousbeck, performed by Donald Faison (Scrubs, Clueless, Remember the Titans), whereas all of them try and amicably coparent their two youngsters, and navigate a brand new household actuality.
While there are positively some tacky components, “Extended Family” is a novel, trendy tackle divorce and life in an unconventional household. Tune in for Boston jokes and Celtics cameos.