What seemed like a normal, mid-August night at Fenway Park was quickly turned on its head on Wednesday.
As the Red Sox were finishing up a tidy 9-1 win over the Cleveland Indians, FOX Sport’s Ken Rosenthal dropped two twitter bombs of epic proportions:
#RedSox announce that Dave Dombrowski is their new president of baseball operations.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 19, 2015
Cherington stepping down with #RedSox, but will assist Dombrowski during the transition.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 19, 2015
Dombrowski, who was let go from his duties as General Manager in Detroit earlier this season, had been rumored to be a logical fit in Boston’s front office following Larry Lucchino’s departure. The 58-year old veteran also drew ties to Boston after serving under Red Sox owner John Henry for over a decade. Together, Henry and Dombrowski won the 1997 World Series title, and laid the groundwork for the Marlins 2001 team.
The second part of this front office shake-up — which is perhaps the more interesting of the two moves — is the departure of Ben Cherington. The fourth year GM certainly deserves a slice of the blame pie for the last two seasons, but he also cultivate arguably the strongest farm in all of baseball and won a World Series in 2013, thus making for a interesting dichotomy. But whether you were Team Cherington or not is a moot point right now. Instead, trying to pinpoint who Dombrowski will hand the General Manager job to for the winter could tell us a lot about the direction of the Red Sox going forward.
*Gulp* Frank …. Wren… *shivers* is a name that has come under speculation in the early goings of Boston’s search for a new head honcho. Wren, a close friend of Dombrowski and the former Braves GM, isn’t the ideal candidate for a number of reasons. For starters, he’s the man responsible for doling out large contracts to the likes of Derek Lowe, Dan Uggla, and the artist formerly called B.J. Upton. That alone is enough to make you want to put Wren on the no-fly list to Boston, right? If it’s one thing the Red Sox don’t need right now, it’s another miscalculation on a big money deal. Say, I don’t know, giving a guy like Mike Leake 5 years, $80M, for example?
But before you get all hot and bothered at the idea of Wren playing Monopoly with the Red Sox payroll, and buying St. Charles Ave for two times more than it’s value, there’s some good news.
Probably the most comforting realization is the probability of other candidates.
It’s highly unlikely that Dombrowski’s list of potential candidates features just Frank Wren’s name (written in bold, green crayon, I’m assuming). It wouldn’t be surprising to see former Angels GM, and current Red Sox assistant, Jerry Dipoto’s name in the mix for the GM vacancy. DiPoto was brought aboard in Boston earlier this month, but took a back seat to the average front office job he’s been used to. Perhaps ownership always viewed the 47-year old as Cherington’s successor but refused to say it publicly; perhaps not. Either way, DiPoto is regarded as a Sabr-Friendly baseball mind, which could bode well with Boston’s history of valuing advanced metrics. Between a more classic baseball mind like Dombrowski, and a new-aged thinker like DiPoto, Boston’s front office could have a healthy mixture of thought processes. Additionally, DiPoto and Dombrowski running the show could heighten Boston’s chances of luring in free-agent-to-be David Price or Zack Greinke this winter.
Mike Hazen, the current assistant GM, is another guy I’d be on the look out for. He’s been with Boston for 9 years, and has learned under tutelage of both Ben Cherington and Theo Epstien. Hazen’s role in Boston has been more than just your average assistant GM, though. The 38-year old has had his hand in everything from scouting, to player development, to hammering out contracts and trades. Hazen’s experience in player development could serve to balance out Dombrowski’s proneness to interpret “prospects” as “trade chips”.
Proposing a candidate right now is basically like shooting at a target blindfolded. There simply isn’t a choice that sticks out among like a sore thumb, or even a slightly bruised thumb for that matter. Most of the Frank Wren speculation is of the “he a Dombrowski are buddies” variety, which doesn’t really hold a lot of water to me. It’s much more productive to look at who’s already on staff in Boston (ie. DiPoto and Hazen) and start the search from the inside out in the early goings of the process.
- Hanley Ramirez is gumming up the works in the Red Sox outfield. Not only is he arguably the worst left fielder in the history of baseball, but he’s also taking much-needed playing time away from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Rusney Castillo. (No space for hot Jackie Bradley Jr. in Red Sox outfield)
- The Indian’s crop of solid young pitchers highlights what Boston lacks, and envies, the most. (Indians blessed with starters Red Sox need, but emulating, acquiring them won’t be easy)
- Travis Shaw’s promotion to Boston didn’t come with all the hooting and hollering that some prospects get, but he’s capitalized on his time nonetheless. With first base somewhat of a question mark in 2016 and beyond, the 25-year old’s emergence has made him a prime candidate to assume the everyday job. (Travis Shaw carving out a role on the Red Sox in 2016)
- To no fault of his own, Alejandro De Aza hasn’t started a game since August 15th. With Boston’s outfield depth chart jam packed, the servicable corner outfielder will probably find a new home before too long. (Alejandro De Aza drawing interest from LA Dodgers)
- Tweet of the day: Can we get to the bottom of this?