I'm sure that the Red Sox have some wonderful Plan B, a.k.a. stop-loss in the event that Theo Epstein decides to head west. If they have such a great plan, why go through extended negotiations? The fun of it?
Professional sports are a very results-oriented business, not only do they have standings, they also have revenues to measure, balance sheets, and cash flow statements. Ownership either approves of the trends, or they don't. If you think that a championship and two other playoff appearances in three years is underperformance, then keep throwing Theo under the bus.
Sure, the Sox probably proved parsimonious in the entry negotiations with Epstein, but nothing obligated him to re-up for below market value. However, now that serious coin is on the table, the 'obvious' obstacles become either insurmountable and revealed, or solved and suppressed.
Epstein has a right to be proud of his accomplishments. For Mr. Henry, I think that Steve Cohen's best trader has a 63 percent win rate, and you or all people know that you must RIDE YOUR WINNERS and cut your losses short. By and large, Epstein has followed that logic, jettisoning players who did not work out, and it isn't about individual trades but total return on portfolio performance. One David Ortiz or Papelbon, makes up for all the Giambis, Halamas, and Wade Millers. That is the nature of trading, the outperformance of the portfolio, not the overdependence on any individual trade.
Theo Epstein is a winning trade, acquired cheap and maturing dear, paying dividends, having become a commodity worth having. Mr. Henry, you know commodities. Who will have more value in the foreseeable future, the CEO with lost luster or the General Manager in a solid uptrend? Losing Epstein is a limit-down offseason for the Red Sox, and allowing Larry Lucchino to destroy the portfolio is folly.