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Epstein did sign free agent Keith Foulke, the 2003 AL saves leader, to be the closer and dealt for the Rockies’ Mark Bellhorn to replace Walker, who had signed with the Cubs, at second base.All that maneuvering helped Boston win 98 games, its most since 1978 but still three games short of the 101-win Yankees.He fired GM Jim Hendry in July 2011, and three months later brought in Epstein as the team's president of baseball operations, with Jed Hoyer and Padres assistant GM Jason Mc Cloud, also a former Boston assistant, joining him as GM and director of scouting, respectively.Unlike in Boston, where a full rebuild was not required, Eptein and Co.But for the purposes of this this discussion, we can set the distinction aside.Owner John Henry, who had purchased the team in early 2002, decided that he wanted to take a page from the upstart Oakland A's by using analytics to build a better ballclub.The Sox squad Epstein inherited was not hurting for talent.Starting pitchers Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe had finished 1–2 in the AL In ERA in 2002 and were two of Boston’s six All-Stars, having been joined by shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, third baseman Shea Hillenbrand, centerfielder Johnny Damon and leftfielder Manny Ramirez.

The moves shored up the defense, and the Sox played .700 ball after the trade.Second, one executive doesn't win a championship any more than one player does.It takes a team, both on the field and off it, to do so.In July 2012 Epstein traded ace Ryan Dempster to the Rangers for a package that included minor league pitcher Kyle Hendricks. A couple of Epstein's trades in July 2013 also wound up paying significant dividends.The Cubs dropped 101 games in 2012, their highest total since 1966, and 96 games in ’13, but all that losing that gave them top-five draft picks that they used to select Kris Bryant (No. First he sent swingman Scott Feldman and backup catcher Steve Clevenger to the Orioles in exchange for righthander Jake Arrieta, a former top prospect who had yet to pan out, and hard-throwing reliever Pedro Strop.