The Boston Red Sox just made the most high-profile acquisition of the offseason. No, he's not a player.
Fenway Sports Group, the holding company led by John Henry, Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Mike Gordon that owns the Red Sox, announced Friday that Theo Epstein He joins her group and will serve as a Senior Advisor.
The new role marks the homecoming of Epstein, who served as the Red Sox's general manager from 2002 to 2011 and helped the franchise end an 86-year championship drought by winning World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Epstein then spent a decade with the Chicago Cubs as president of baseball operations, rebuilding the club into a contender who won the 2016 World Series to end their 108-year title drought.
Epstein had been working for Major League Baseball as a consultant with a focus on improving the game and played a role in MLB setting the pitch clock as well as other changes to pace of play rules. FSG announced on Friday that Epstein will continue in this role in an “informal” capacity and will “advise FSG owners John Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon and Sam Kennedy on the company’s sports operations across the portfolio and consult on strategic growth and investment initiatives.”
“It's a great honor and something I'm really excited about,” Epstein said. Sportico said in a video call. “It's exciting to be joining such a dynamic and pioneering company across so many sports, doing so many innovative things at the forefront of everything happening in sports these days. For me, it's perfect, I've been looking for a path to ownership.”
Epstein added that he would not play a role in personnel decisions and would be “the person asking the questions” rather than “the person making the decisions.” It looks like the 50-year-old's focus won't be limited to the Red Sox either, as FSG also owns Liverpool FC in the Premier League, the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins and RFK Racing as well as several other business ventures.
“With his strategic mind, leadership and unwavering passion for sport, Theo brings invaluable assets that will drive us forward across our diverse ventures, particularly in our sports operations across hockey, English football and baseball,” Henry said in a statement.
Even if Epstein doesn't play a practical role with the Red Sox, his return will likely be a welcome sight for Boston fans frustrated by another quiet offseason. New general manager Craig Breslow has only made two notable moves so far — signing Lucas Giolito to a two-year, $38.5 million contract and trading Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves for outfielder Von Grissom — and the Red Sox appear headed for their goal. Obtaining last place for the third time in a row in the American League East.
This reality has led some to question whether Henry and Co. The team will be sold, but the addition of Epstein to ownership represents an interesting plot twist.
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