The Boston Red Sox just made their most notable acquisition of the offseason. And 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 has joined its group and will serve as a senior advisor.
The new role represents a homecoming for Epstein, who served as Red Sox general manager from 2002 to 2011 and helped the franchise end its 86-year championship drought by winning World Series titles in 2004 and 2007. Epstein then spent a decade as the Chicago Cubs’ president of baseball operations, re-building the club into a contender that won the 2016 World Series to end a 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 instituting the pitch clock as well as other pace-of-play rule changes. FSG announced Friday that Epstein will continue that role in an “informal” capacity and will “advise FSG owners John Henry, Tom Werner, Mike Gordon, and Sam Kennedy on the company’s sporting operations across the portfolio and consult on strategic growth and investment initiatives.”
“It’s a great honor, something I’m really excited about,” Epstein told Sportico in a video call. “It’s just exciting to be joining such a dynamic, groundbreaking company across multiple sports, doing so many innovative things at the cutting edge of everything going on in sports these days. For me, it’s perfect, I was looking for a pathway into ownership.”
Epstein added that he won’t play a role in personnel decisions and will be “the one asking questions” instead of “the one making decisions.” It sounds like the 50-year-old’s focus won’t be limited to the Red Sox, either, as FSG also owns the Premier League’s Liverpool FC, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and RFK Racing in addition to several other business ventures.
“With his strategic mind, leadership, and unwavering passion for sports, Theo brings invaluable assets that will drive us forward across our diverse enterprises, especially in our sporting operations across hockey, EPL football, and baseball,” Henry said in a statement.
Even if Epstein doesn’t play a hands-on role with the Red Sox, his return likely is a welcome sight for Boston fans frustrated by another quiet offseason. New general manager Craig Breslow has only made two moves of note so far — signing Lucas Giolito to a two-year, $38.5 million contract and trading Chris Sale to the Atlanta Braves in return for infielder Vaughn Grissom — and the Red Sox seem destined for their third consecutive last-place finish in the American League East.
That reality has led some to wonder if Henry and Co. will sell the team, but Epstein’s addition to the ownership is an interesting plot twist.