Over at the Boston Globe, Dan Shaughnessy has a long interview with Theo Epstein:
Epstein: I think taking a step back, if you take a look at what our baseball group was best at, we were best at drafting and developing young talent and finding some undervalued players. I think we were the best drafting team of the decade and all that. That’s a very patient, organic approach. Pure . . .
“We joked about it all the time in the front office. We’d say, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could just say, screw free agency altogether. We’re going with a purely home-grown lineup. We’re going with old-school, Branch Rickey-style, pre-free agency, pre-draft whatever?’
“Middlebrooks at third, Lowrie or Iglesias at short, Pedroia at second, Rizzo at first, Lavarnway catching, Ellsbury in center, Reddick in right, Kalish in left. Wouldn’t that have been fun?
“We kind of clung to that in the back of our minds, knowing it was impossible, recognizing that there was an inherent tension between that approach and bigger business. I kind of kick myself for letting my guard down and giving into it, because that might be a better team in some ways and resonate more with the fans than what we ended up with.
“When you make a mistake in the draft, you just keep drafting. You keep finding another player to develop. When you make a mistake in free agency, you’re stuck with it for the duration of the deal and it can be a real impediment.
[Photo Credit: Neil Leifer]