Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cubs May Win a World Series with Epstein, but It Ain't Going to Be Cheap

A common sentiment about Theo Epstein from a Red Sox fan:

The Sox are competitive every season, usually make the playoffs, and have won two World Series championships under Epstein. We should be pleased.

Theoretically, the Cubs might just win the World Series with Epstein running things, but one thing seems certain, it ain't going to be cheap.

Payroll Second to Yanks

According to AP figures, which may be estimates, the Boston Red Sox payroll spend for 2011 was $161,407,476 while the Cubs spent $125,480,664. Over the last five years, the Red Sox have spent about $54 Million more than the Cubs.

Consistently, the Red Sox rate just below the Yankees as the second highest payroll in baseball. The Ricketts family, owners of the team since fall 2009, have teamed up with someone who knows how to spend money and who has had a lot of support in that area from ownership.

The Dice-K Deal

Under Theo Epstein the Red Sox brought Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-K) from Japan. Under the baseball system in Japan, the Red Sox had to buy the rights to the pitcher from his Japanese team and then negotiate a contract with the player himself. The Red Sox paid $51.11 million for the rights to Daisuke Matsuzaka and another $52 Million
for six-year contract.

Dice-K had one very good year in 2007 when he went 15-12 with a 4.4 ERA; one great year in 2008 when he went 18-3 with a 2.90 ERA. He has not been very productive thereafter due in large part to injuries. In 2011, Matsuzaka made eight appearances posting 3 wins and 3 losses with a 5.30 ERA. In June, he underwent "Tommy John" surgery and hopes to return to the club in 2012, the final year of his contract.

The Dice-K Payoff

Daisuke Matsuzaka was certainly instrumental in the Red Sox championship season in 2007. In addition to winning 15 games during the season, he won Game Three of the World Series pitching five innings of scoreless ball. He went 1-1 in the 2007 American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians.

Theo may be just what the doctor ordered for the Cubs, but a run at the World Series isn't going to be cheap.
Sporting Chance Press is the publisher of The 10 Commandments of Baseball: An Affectionate Look at Joe McCarthy's Principles for Success in Baseball (and Life) and Public Bonehead, Private Hero: The Real Legacy of Baseball's Fred Merkle.

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