Red Sox

Red Sox owners want a name with experience for their next GM; disagreement with Dombrowski dates to last fall

Red Sox owners want a name with experience for their next GM; disagreement with Dombrowski dates to last fall

BOSTON -- The next general manager of the Red Sox will come from outside the organization and have experience in the role, John Henry hopes.

The Red Sox owner laid out what he's looking for to take the organization forward in the wake of Dave Dombrowski's departure. He sounded unlikely, at least for now, to consider any of the four execs currently sharing GM responsibilities -- Eddie Romero, Brian O'Halloran, Zack Scott, and Raquel Ferreira.

That's in no small part because of the myriad challenges facing the franchise, from getting under the $208 million luxury-tax threshold, to dealing with the possible trade of reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts, to rebuilding the farm system.

"This is a tough job," Henry said. "This is a tough offseason, too. We talked about the challenges for the CBT [competitive balance tax], but I think we would all agree, there are a lot…this is a challenging offseason. So, to put one of the candidates you keep bringing up in charge and responsible for that, that's sort of a tough way to start your career as a general manager. So, we are starting the search looking outward."

Henry noted the difficulty of hiring GMs away from other franchises, but the Red Sox will be sure to inquire on a host of big-name candidates, whether it's Dodgers boss Andrew Friedman, Tampa's Chaim Bloom, or even Theo Epstein of the Cubs, who recently declared his allegiance to Chicago.

"We look at what some of the other teams are doing around the league," Werner said. "We want to be competitive with them in all facets."

As for the perception that the Red Sox lack stability, since they're about to hire their fourth baseball boss since 2011, Henry and Werner bristled.

"You know it's funny, I look at it as we've had three general managers since 2004, right? 2003, right?" Werner said. "I look at it as we've had three general managers in 17 years, right? So I don't look at that as -- not that we count but we have been successful bringing in a general manager from the outside and we've been successful by bringing in someone internally. But I consider, look, we all know Boston is an incredibly great sports town. It's also very demanding. We want to be excellent year in and year out. But I consider this position to be the most coveted or one of the most coveted in all of sports."

WHY DOMBROWSKI WAS FIRED
Henry talked about extending Dave Dombrowski the night the Red Sox won the World Series. He apparently had a change of heart by the time the Duck Boats started to roll.

It turns out the philosophical differences that led to Dombrowski's ouster predated the season.

"What changed quickly was right after the World Series, we had preliminary talks about our way forward and it was clear to me we weren't on the same page at that point," Henry said. "In fact, he and I talked about it that night, that Sunday evening, I think he disagreed with me about that, that we disagreed. We were even disagreeing, you might say, that we disagreed. There was a difference, I think, in how we thought we should move forward."

While Henry and Tom Werner went out of their way to praise Dombrowski's tenure, their issues weren't hard to discern: a bloated payroll that will hamstring the immediate future, and a lack of young talent coming through the minor league pipeline.

"One of the things that we talked about that I think is apparent is that we need to have more depth in our minor league system and more people coming up through the system that can be everyday baseball players," Henry said.

CORA STAYING PUT
One Red Sox employee who needn't worry about his job security is manager Alex Cora. Henry said the manager will return next year, no matter who takes over as GM.

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Josh Beckett joins several ex-Red Sox on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot

Josh Beckett joins several ex-Red Sox on 2020 Hall of Fame ballot

The Boston Red Sox again will be in the thick of the Baseball Hall of Fame conversation next year.

The Hall of Fame released its official 2020 ballot Monday, with 32 former players listed as eligible to be elected in the class of 2020.

The list includes 18 newcomers, headlined by New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who should be a shoo-in. But three former Red Sox players also landed on the 2020 ballot: pitcher Josh Beckett, first baseman Carlos Peña and pitcher Brad Penny.

Beckett spent six-plus seasons with the Red Sox from 2006 to 2012 and put up some of his best numbers in Boston, making three All-Star teams and earning American League Championship Series MVP honors en route to a World Series title in 2007.

Peña only played 18 games in Boston during the 2006 season and spent most of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers. He grew up in Haverhill, Mass., though, and played college baseball at Northeastern University.

Penny appeared in just 24 games for the Red Sox during the 2009 season after coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers.

That trio joins four other former Red Sox on the 2020 ballot, listed below by percentage of votes they received in 2019:

- Curt Schilling: 60.9 percent (7th year on ballot)
- Roger Clemens: 59.5 percent (7th year)
- Manny Ramirez: 22.8 percent (3rd year)
- Billy Wagner: 16.7 percent (4th year)

Players must receive 75 percent of votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America within their first 10 years of eligibility to reach the Hall. Schilling and Clemens were the top two players to miss the 2019 cut, while the other ex-Sox have a long way to go.

We'll find out voting results for the 2020 class on Jan. 21.

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Forget about Bloomingdale's — Red Sox will be shopping at this defunct discounter all winter

Forget about Bloomingdale's — Red Sox will be shopping at this defunct discounter all winter

The Omni Resort in Scottsdale features nearly 300 rooms spread across a series of villas at the foot of Camelback Mountain.

When the Red Sox contingent of Chaim Bloom, Brian O'Halloran, Raquel Ferreira, Eddie Romero, and Zack Scott arrived for the GM Meetings last week, they checked into Building 19, which caught the attention of an executive with New England ties.

"You know what that is, right?" he asked.

Of course, came the reply. It's where they're going to be shopping this winter.

For those who aren't local, Building 19 was a chain of discount department stores founded in Hingham with a motto of, "Good stuff cheap." They operated for nearly 50 years before declaring bankruptcy in 2013, and they specialized in the flotsam of everyone else's damaged, discontinued, or flawed remainders.

If there's a more apt description of how the Red Sox will fill their roster while cutting costs and maybe dropping the payroll below the $208 million luxury tax threshold, it's not springing to mind. Whether or not they trade Mookie Betts, they'll dumpster dive this winter, flipping through piles of irregular area rugs, stacks of Nikes with swooshes slightly askew, and reams of unicorn calendars that have gifted September a 31st day.

As monster free agents like Astros ace Gerrit Cole, Nationals counterpart Stephen Strasburg, or postseason star Anthony Rendon prepare to hit free agency, the Red Sox will be wandering the consignment bins, hoping to unearth a dusty dinged-up treasure.

That's a far cry from 2016, when the Red Sox and White Sox met at the very same resort to begin the discussions that ended with All-Star left-hander Chris Sale being shipped to Boston for stud prospects Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech a month later.

"This is where we started our rebuild in earnest," noted White Sox GM Rick Hahn. "We were excited to get this process started, where we got the Bostons and the Nationals and the teams talking about acquiring premium talent and using premium prospects to get it."

The Red Sox aren't rebuilding so much as retooling, and while we've debated whether cutting salary is a suggestion or a mandate, there's no question that ownership won't endure a straight rebuild, not with a payroll north of $200 million and premium talents like Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and J.D. Martinez still on the roster.

Some aren't entirely convinced the Red Sox will cut payroll at all. Chief among them is super-agent Scott Boras, who obviously has a vested interest in the Red Sox continuing to spend prolifically.

"I don't know that that's true, by the way, because I have not heard that from ownership," he said last week when asked about the team slashing payroll. "Until John (Henry) or Tom (Werner) tell me that that's their objective. . . . Again, I have spoken to them and until they tell me that publicly, I would not in any way think anything other than that they're always winning owners who are trying to win again and again and again.

"If your goal is 'threshold,' then I believe you have to say that if that is a priority, a principal priority, rather than winning, I think it's something you say to your fans. I think you need to tell them that our goal is to operate to limits, and in no circumstance does winning get in the way to our primary goal. You know what? I've yet to hear an owner say that to his fanbase."

It's possible to have it both ways, though, as Bloom proved in Tampa, Derek Falvey is proving in Minnesota, and even Andrew Friedman has done in Los Angeles, where the big-market Dodgers have hacked nearly $100 million from their once-bloated payroll to create a much leaner contender.

That's going to require creativity of the type we laid out in the dissection of Tampa's three-way deal with the Rangers and A's that brought hard-throwing reliever Emilio Pagan to the Trop last winter. Bloom's Rays proved over and over that they could unearth winning players in unexpected places, and he'll need to bring that magic to a Red Sox club that will be looking to fill holes at first, second, starter, reliever, and almost certainly outfield when Betts and/or Jackie Bradley is inevitably moved this winter.

Plugging all of those needs won't be easy, unless you know where to look. Bloom's track record suggests he won't be embarrassed to bargain hunt. Maybe he'll even find some good stuff, cheap.

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