Red Sox

Dombrowski must aim high in search for a new manager

Dombrowski must aim high in search for a new manager

BOSTON — As the Red Sox enter their managerial search, the braintrust needs to step back and remember something they may be oddly forgetting.

They have an opening to manage the Boston Red Sox. 

This franchise has no trouble underscoring its national relevance, its sacred position in the sport, in any of its marketing devices. Have you heard Fenway Park is historic?

People want this job. People with other jobs right now want this job. They must. And even if they somehow don’t, it’s on the Red Sox to find out either way.

THE RED SOX FIRE JOHN FARRELL

Brad Ausmus, Alex Cora or Ron Gardenhire could be excellent managers. But Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski must aim as high as possible. Dombo must conduct his due diligence on sitting managers who are currently under contract and may be interested to take the reins. 

“Well, current managers are employed by other organizations, so you generally don't talk to them,” Dombrowski said Wednesday. “I wouldn't get into specifics on that, but generally you don't interview other peoples' managers, generally.”

Generally, folks. This isn’t a general opening, in a general town with a general franchise. It's the opposite.

The Giants' Bruce Bochy’s got a losing team and all the credentials in the world. The Marlins' Don Mattingly can’t be excited about a rebuild, and he’s got big-market experience. The Astros' A.J. Hinch has been an excellent communicator with a progressive front office and played for Dave Dombrowski in Detroit. Kevin Cash is no stranger to Boston or a young roster. Maybe Mike Matheny is ready to move on from the mid-market life.

Bob Melvin just signed an extension with Oakland, so that might be tough. They'd all be tough.

But you can sell this thing. You have to try, if you’re the Red Sox. It sells itself. Best sports town in the country, right

The Sox have a win-now roster with immediate championship potential and the presumed wherewithal to spend some money this winter (even though Dombrowski didn’t detail those plans Wednesday). For the right communicator, the right tactician — and let’s face it, the right politician — there may be no greater challenge, no greater test of skill than to come to Boston and help a clubhouse in need of guidance get over the hump.

Dombrowski is the sure-thing president, the known-commodity GM. He loves star power. Why would his managerial search be any different? Why would Dombrowski limit himself to managers who are only free agents — those who have been recently let go, or who have never had the job before — in this search? The Sox are in a competitive window, and Dombrowski’s on a five-year deal.

Respect in the clubhouse for a new manager would be instantly raised if the Sox pried away a big name. Fan excitement, fan buy-in could improve too. Instant acceptance on talk radio never hurt.

“I think managerial [experience] helps,” Dombrowski said. “I don't think it's of 100 percent necessity. But I think being in a dugout during a game, seeing what the manager encounters is probably helpful, yeah, I do think it is. I do think it would be difficult for a person more so here than in some other places to walk directly onto the field without some on-field managerial experience at some level or big-league coaching.”

There’s experience, and then there’s experience.

John Farrell should actually be a blueprint, in one way. The Sox had to trade with the Blue Jays to get him.

Do it again. Figure out, maybe with back-channel inquiries if need be, who would seriously want to come to Boston. Be prepared to pay the manager what they need to take on the circus of Boston. The money will be a drop in the bucket compared to the player salaries anyway.

Then, approach the team where the manager is currently employed. The club probably won’t want to stand in the way of a manager who genuinely wants to leave for a rare opportunity. If they do, well, you tried. But be prepared to make an offer that gets your man.

Dombrowski didn’t get creative with the roster and the luxury tax threshold in 2017. He can get creative now. Think outside the box. And do what he does best: go big.

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Dodgers send Adrian Gonzalez to Braves, re-acquire Kemp

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Dodgers send Adrian Gonzalez to Braves, re-acquire Kemp

LOS ANGELES - Matt Kemp is returning to the place where he began his major league career, reacquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves that sent former Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez from L.A. to Atlanta.

The Dodgers sent Gonzalez, oft-injured starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, infielder Charlie Culberson and cash to Atlanta for the 33-year-old Kemp. Gonzalez then was designated for assignment by the Braves.

After sitting on the sidelines during the recent winter meetings, the Dodgers moved quickly to dump nearly $50 million in salary committed to Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy for 2018. Kemp is owed about $43 million over the next two seasons. Click here for more

Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Martinez tells Red Sox he would DH, but others want him as outfielder

Free agent slugger J.D. Martinez has told the Red Sox he would DH and play the outfield for them, a baseball source said Friday.  The flipside: teams are offering Martinez a full-time outfield job, and he enjoys playing the outfield.

Martinez, the best bat available via free agency, visited with teams at the winter meetings this week.

Michael Silverman of the Herald wrote Friday that Martinez has been telling teams he prefers to play the outfield, and suggested the Sox will have to pay a bit more to land Martinez.

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“Martinez remains open to being a DH so his preference to play defense regularly does not eliminate the Red Sox from signing Martinez,” Silverman wrote. “It does, however, put them in a position of having to make an aggressive offer that would distance themselves from competing offers where teams can present a corner outfield position. 

“Just what defines aggressive is something only Martinez and his agent Scott Boras will ultimately determine.”

The market could start to move a bit now, although that doesn’t mean anything is necessarily imminent. Another baseball source on Friday night noted that the market has started to thaw with Carlos Santana off the board. He agreed to a three-year, $60 million deal with the Phillies.

The Red Sox made an offer for Santana, but the offer made clear that Santana was not their primary choice. In other words, it wasn't close to what Santana ended up with.

A scenario in which Jackie Bradley Jr. is traded to make room for Martinez in the outfield seems reasonable, even if the Red Sox and Boras, who represents Bradley, have both downplayed that possibility.

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