What does Theo Epstein’s departure mean for Detroit Tigers fans?
For some Detroit Tigers fans, a change in the front office to Epstein would be ideal. But in reality, there is a lot more than Theo Epstein can do that fans can appreciate.
Detroit Tigers fans, myself included, have complained in some way shape, or form about the state of the front office or how Christoper Ilitch is not spending any money. They have legitimate grips as we have witnessed a lot of losing baseball these past few seasons. We watched on as the Cubs broke a “curse” when Theo Epstein for the second time in his career, brought home a franchise with a long World Series drought, a championship.
Epstein is taking a year off to figure out what could be next on the horizon for him. My favorite statement from the news yesterday was what he said about next year.
“Next summer will be my first in 30 years not clocking into work every day at a major league ballpark”
His track record of rebuilding farm systems not once but twice and he did it in two of the biggest media markets in the country. The reasons why to like him are endless. He is friends with Eddie Vedder, the lead singer of Pearl Jam. I can go on and on about his track record but there is Google for that. There are two routes Epstein can take that could affect DetroitTigers fans going forward that could be impactful.
A player raid
Brandon Day of Bless You Boys.com and I talked about a few players who could make sense for Detroit to pick up as they would sell pieces for a rebuilding process. As Brandon discussed, that would help the current Tigers team build and put them into contention sooner than later.
Cubs owner Tom Ricketts hinted at cutting payroll last season and looking at what they spent for free agents this past season, the plan may continue. The Tigers have benefitted from the Cubs trying to stay competitive with trades that got them Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes, and three minor league players in Alex Lange, Paul Richan, and Zack Short. If Detroit has any serious interest in upgrading at catcher, the Cubs have two options there with Brandon liking Willson Contreras and myself liking Victor Caratini because it may not cost them a valuable prospect.
Detroit needs help across the diamond but some of the players they need will come at a cost and with the Tigers lacking minor league depth, they can’t really give prospects if they are committed to the rebuild.
A higher calling?
Theo Epstein has hinted he wants to be involved in ownership in some capacity and is seeking new challenges. Bradford Doolittle of ESPN ($) thought of a scenario that would be similar to what the Veecks did with going from the north side to the south side of if Epstein wants to stay in Chicago since it may appear that Jerry Reinsdorf is not planning on passing the team down to his children.
His work with The Players Alliance and his own charity he runs with his brother, Foundation To Be Named Later, is remarkable. One of the programs he helps runs is the FTBNL/Peter Gammons Scholars program, which helps students who may not have the resources to pay for colleges with direct scholarship grants. He has been not only a proven leader but a great ambassador for the game of baseball by giving back.
So how does that tie into the Detroit Tigers? Simple, really. The long-standing rumor of Chris Ilitch selling the team is still fresh in our minds. It is something that is not without merit. Look at the source of the information.
Even as a part-owner with someone who may have more resources, to have Theo Epstein as the potential leader in some capacity would easily make the fanbase feel much more at ease. A part-owner with that type of resume behind him? Yeah, sign me up.
Irresponsible speculation aside…
Of course, this is all in theories and speculation but one thing is clear if there was any type of legitimate truths to selling the team to a forward thinker like Theo Epstein, in whatever role he would have in ownership, it would make Detroit stand out in the baseball world and a fresh perspective that we have not witnessed here in quite some time. When you can have a say in not only how the team is constructed but how they interact with the community, that is much more impactful.
It’s not to say the Detroit Tigers are not doing charity work but if you look at what Epstein has done in trying to change the game and how we perceive it, he is constantly thinking to make the game better for the fans to enjoy. I love this quote he said to Hannah Keyser. This is forward-thinking here.
His executive tree’s influence has impacted baseball that teams continue to model their team builds after. For now, however, Theo Epstein will enjoy a much deserved year off to hang out with his family and look forward to whatever future he has in baseball.
Leave us a comment below, tell us what you think of Theo Epstein and how he could fit in Detroit.