Theo Epstein stunned the Red Sox and the baseball world this afternoon by walking away from his job as general manager.
Just hours before his deal was set to expire at midnight, Epstein told his bosses and associates at the Red Sox™ Yawkey Way offices that he had decided not to accept a three-year deal worth $1.5 million a year, an extension for the contract he signed on Nov. 25, 2002.
Epstein had done some agonizing soul-searching the past few days, torn between staying at the job he had always coveted since his childhood days in Brookline and leaving because of intra-organizational politics and power struggles that he ultimately decided he could not live with any longer.
Epstein had come close to agreeing to a deal Saturday evening but had not officially conveyed acceptance of it. On Sunday, he began having serious misgivings about staying on. A leading contributing factor, according to sources close to the situation, was a column in Sunday™s Boston Globe in which too much inside information about the relationship between Epstein and his mentor, team president and CEO Larry Lucchino, was revealed — in a manner slanted too much in Lucchino™s favor. Epstein, according to these sources, had several reasons to believe Lucchino was a primary source behind the column and came to the realization that if this information were leaked hours before Epstein was going to agree to a new long-term deal, it signaled excessive bad faith between him and Lucchino.
Interestingly, Toronto’s J.P. Riccardi is not included on Silverman’s short list of candidates for Boston’s new opening.