With Dave Dombrowski out as Red Sox president of baseball operations, who will be the team's next general manager?
It seems like a desirable job: the team consistently has one of the top payrolls in the league, and the franchise has won four World Series titles in the last 16 seasons. But it's not that simple. Not even close.
The last two men in charge of baseball operations — Ben Cherington and Dombrowski — were shown the door quickly after winning championships, and those moves are painting the Red Sox in a very bad light, according to ESPN's Buster Olney.
These decisions loosely frame the industry perception of the Red Sox as a chaotic company, a miserable place to work. Boston owner John Henry needs to understand this, because it is why some of the people he'd probably love to consider as possible replacements for Dombrowski privately dismiss the idea out of hand.
Olney writes that some potential candidates have no interest in working for Henry, because they "doubt he'd have the patience to back his next general manager through the difficult crossroads ahead." That includes the impending free agency of Mookie Betts, a potential opt-out from J.D. Martinez, and an expensive rotation fraught with injuries, among other issues.
The key to a successful leadership transition in the front office might be Sam Kennedy, who has been the team's president for four years following the departure of Larry Lucchino. As Olney explains:
A wide-held view in other front offices is that the highly respected and well-liked Red Sox president Sam Kennedy stands as a thin buffer between the team devolving to the level of the Mets, the team generally regarded by rival executives as baseball's model for dysfunction. "If Sam ever walked away," said one official, "the whole thing would be a complete mess."
From a 108-win season and a World Series to the possibility of becoming a complete mess, it's amazing how quickly the tide has turned for the Red Sox.
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