Theo's back in charge, but for how long?

2/24/2006 - Boston Red Sox

As Theo Epstein returns to the Red Sox his official title is irrelevant. Whether it's vice president, president or special assistant to John Henry, he'll have great power.

Jed Hoyer and Ben Cherington are sharing Epstein's old position of general manager, but Epstein will once again become the critical voice in baseball decisions -- officially.

Unofficially, he's been part of Boston's brain trust the past couple months; recently he's even gone so far as to make phone calls on behalf of the team, behind the scenes. He's been the Red Sox's version of the Wizard of Oz, but he's stepping from behind the curtain, and the biggest question is whether Epstein will sign a version of the multiyear contract he walked away from last fall or whether he'll want the option of going to another team next fall.

Making decisions for the Red Sox had long been Epstein's dream job. And for now, he's going back.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. His book, "The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty," is available in paperback and can be ordered through HarperCollins.com.