Wittenmyer: Epstein, Hoyer Stink At “Big-Ticket” Free Agency

Gordon Wittenmyer has created a perfect little logic box to support his ongoing belief that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer are not very good at their jobs.

It goes something like this:

  1. Epstein and Hoyer are bad at “big-ticket” free agency (except when they aren’t).
  2. They are better at system building and smaller free agent deals that won them World Series in Boston.
  3. The Cubs must sign big-ticket free agents to be competitive.
  4. Even if the Cubs sign, say, Jon Lester … it probably won’t work because Epstein and Hoyer are bad at big ticket free agency because Julio Lugo.
  5. Ergo, Epstein and Hoyer can’t win in Chicago.


Let’s take it point by point:

Bad at big-ticket free agency: Wittenmyer cites Julio Lugo, Edwin Jackson and Carl Crawford (among others) as proof of their ineptitude, twice making the point Crawford couldn’t play in a big market (Crawford now plays in Los Angeles). He also mentions J.D. Drew and Daisuke Matsuzaka, both of whom played big roles in World Series titles. But, still, all of these deals are bad.

Smaller deals: He notes that Epstein and Hoyer are better at the smaller deals, including signing Scott Feldman (who turned into Jake Arrieta), Jason Hammel (who, in part, turned into Addison Russell), David Ortiz (that was a pretty good deal), Mike Timlin, Keith Foulke and Bill Mueller (World Series pieces). Sounds like a good approach!

Not so fast…: But he flat-out says the Cubs must sign big-ticket free agents in order to win, even while noting it is inherently risky and doesn’t play out well for many/most teams. Because that’s how the Royals and Giants did it, right?

History: Because Edgar Renteria didn’t work out a decade ago (or Julio Lugo in 2006), it probably means Jon Lester wouldn’t work out. Because.

Future: Looking ahead, nine-figure deals won’t work because Epstein and Hoyer will either a. miss out on big-ticket free agents (because the Cubs are cheap, another popular Wittenmyer topic) or b. the ones they do sign will be no good.

Never mind the lesser deals that directly or indirectly brought Jorge Soler, Addison Russell, Jake Arrieta and others to Chicago. Because that wouldn’t fit in Wittenmyer’s logic box.

(AP Photo)


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