CHICAGO — After nearly a decade as general manager in Boston where he won two World Series titles, Theo Epstein knew it was time to move on, even though it meant leaving the team he loved.
"After 10 years, no matter how passionate you are, you see the same issues, day after day and you are around the same people day after day," Epstein said. "You are around the same landscape day after day for 10 years and eventually you will benefit from a new landscape and fresh problems."
Fresh problems? There are plenty of those in Chicago.
Epstein was introduced as president of baseball operations for the Cubs on Tuesday, going from a team that ended its long championship drought while he was at the helm to one searching for a title after more than a century of futility.
"I think it's equally as big a challenge," Epstein said.
There is so much work to do, from building a strong farm system and sharp scouting to putting together an evaluation system that is on the cutting edge.
"I didn't use the world rebuilding and I wouldn't. I think that is just a buzzword in baseball that leads people down the wrong path," Epstein said. "The best way I can describe it is there are parallel fronts: the job of building the scouting and player development foundation that is going to serve well for the long haul and treating every opportunity to win as sacred."
New GM in Boston
BOSTON — Ben Cherington was introduced as Red Sox general manager after spending three seasons as Epstein's assistant.
Cherington's top priority will be finding a manager to replace Terry Francona, who left two days after Boston completed its mind-boggling September collapse.
"I think Theo will tell you, there comes time for a change," Cherington said. "It's my job as part of that change to maintain what we're good at, and also serve as a catalyst for the change that we need, because what's going to work moving forward is not necessarily what's worked in the past."
In other Red Sox news, right-hander John Lackey will have elbow ligament replacement surgery and miss next season. Lackey, 33, was 12-12 with a 6.41 ERA in the second year of a five-year, $82.5 million contract.
Also, the Blue Jays announced they won't let manager John Farrell interview for Boston's job. In a policy change, the team said employees won't be permitted to leave for the same job in another organization.
DODGERS SAGA: Dodgers owner Frank McCourt looted nearly $190 million from the team, using the money for non-baseball use in violation of Major League Baseball rules, according to Delaware bankruptcy court documents. It's the first time the league has specified an amount.
A'S: The team declined its option on right-handed reliever Michael Wuertz, instead paying him a $250,000 buyout.
BREWERS: Left-hander Chris Narveson had left hip surgery and should be ready for spring training.
TWINS: Right-hander Joe Nathan will get a $2 million buyout after the team declined its option on the closer for the 2012 season.