On the day he will be introduced as vice president of baseball operations with the Chicago Cubs, former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein explained in a first-person op-ed piece in the Boston Globe why he decided to leave Boston.
"The reason I am leaving has nothing to do with power, pressure, money, or relationships," wrote Epstein. "It has nothing to do with September, either."
Citing football legend Bill Walsh's theory that coaches and executives in team sports benefit from a change of scenery after 10 years or so in the same place, Epstein -- who has spent the last 10 years as general manager for the Red Sox -- explained he was initially thinking of leaving his hometown team after the 2012 season, when his contract expired. Epstein also revealed he and assistant Ben Cherington had discussed a transition plan, wherein Cherington took over as GM after Epstein walked away following the 2012 season.
"This summer, when ownership and I first discussed Ben as my successor, the Red Sox were stable, thriving, and talented enough in the big leagues and in the farm system to compete as one of the best clubs in baseball this year and for many years to come," Epstein wrote.
That timetable was expedited, according to Epstein, when the Red Sox collapsed in September and the team parted ways with manager Terry Francona.
"Knowing my time as the general manager was drawing to an end, I had a decision to make: stay one more year and do my best to conduct the manager's search under less than ideal circumstances, or recommend the succession plan, allow Ben to run the search process, and join the Cubs," Epstein wrote. "I wrestled with leaving during a time when criticism, deserved and otherwise, surrounded the organization. But Walsh's words kept popping into my head, and I recalled how important it was for me as a relatively new general manager to bond with Terry Francona during the interview process back in 2003.
"It was very difficult deciding to leave the place where I grew up, where I met my wife, where my son was born, where my family and closest friends live, and where I help run a charitable foundation. And it was equally hard to part with the organization and the people, including John [Henry], Tom [Werner], and Larry [Lucchino], who entrusted me with this role at such a young age and supported me along the way. But it was the right thing to do."