John Henry and Larry Luchinno were on NESN/WEEI this morning, discussing the recent happenings of the Red Sox -- namely, Terry Francona's departure, September, and the future of Theo Epstein in Boston or Chicago. Well, the message on the latter was that they don't comment on clubs asking for permission to speak to their employees, but in what little was uttered, a whole lot was said.
"There is a certain protocol in this game. If someone asked permission for a job that's not lateral, you give them permission. That's just the way it works."
While not explicitly said, you can be forgiven for inferring that this means the Cubs would be giving Epstein a promotion in addition to the general manager job. Currently, Epstein is the "Executive Vice President" as well as the general manager for the Red Sox, so coming up with something spiffier than that would have to be a priority for Chicago -- and is certainly doable, given their recent turnover in the front office.
There's a certain shelf life within these jobs. If you're sane, you can only be the general manager for a certain amount of time.... Theo is not going to be the general manager forever."
This is a true statement, and, as Henry also said, sounds similar to what Francona mentioned about being the manager. As we discussed both on the podcast and earlier in the week, Epstein has been in Boston for nearly nine years now, and has been highly successful -- were he to want a fresh start elsewhere, and in a place where his legacy could be solidified in baseball history were he as successful there as he was in Boston, who could blame him?
The whole segment made it sound like, even if it's no guarantee that Epstein will be gone, that we should all be prepared for a future where he is in Chicago, and not in Boston. I've come to grips that the most successful GM in Boston's history might not be a part of the organization next year -- even if I don't like the idea -- but that's mostly because the base he built, as well as a, by all accounts, worthwhile successor (assuming they keep things in-house), will still be around. We'll have to wait and see how things play out, but it sounds like Henry is trying to cushion a potential blow.