Earlier today, Jeff Todd rounded up some reactions from around the industry to the Red Sox’ franchise-altering decision to name Dave Dombrowski president of baseball operations and the subsequent resignation of GM Ben Cherington. There’s still plenty of buzz surrounding this move, however, so here are some additional reactions to one of the most impactful headlines of the summer…
- Cherington’s decision to step aside after the hiring of Dombrowski caught the Red Sox by surprise, sources tell Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Passan adds that he, too, hears that Dombrowski will hire a new GM, with not only Frank Wren serving as a possibility (as Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported last night), but also former Rockies GM Dan O’Dowd. From a bigger-picture perspective, Passan writes that Dombrowski’s success will be determined, to some extent, by the freedom he is given to make decisions without interference from ownership. Passan notes that Dombrowski inherits one of the best situations in baseball — a top-rated farm system with a young core in place at the Major League level. Of course, he’ll also have some work to do with the pitching staff and the albatross contracts of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval.
- Outgoing team president Larry Lucchino appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show today, and WEEI’s Judy Cohen has transcribed many of his comments. Most notably, Lucchino said that he expects “significant changes” in the baseball operations department, as Dombrowski may look to import members of the network of people he’s worked with over the life of his career. Lucchino offered strong praise for the work that Cherington did: “Ben has done a marvelous job, in my opinion. He is a terrific guy, and I think he’s built an organization that will serve Dave Dombrowski quite well in the months and years ahead, and so things will change.”
- COO/vice president Sam Kennedy also weighed in on the move on WEEI (also via Cohen). Kennedy said that he, owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner felt “disappointment” that Cherington didn’t want to remain on board, but ultimately they understood that the now-former GM felt a “clean break” was in his best interest. Kennedy addressed the difference between Dombrowski’s more traditional scouting background and the Sox’ recent analytical tendencies, noting that data/analytics, traditional scouting, the eye test and keen instincts are all important to success in baseball operations, and the Sox look forward to a blend of those elements.
- Alex Speier of the Boston Globe attempts to define Cherington’s tenure as GM of the Red Sox. Cherington, Speier notes, never allowed himself to be concerned with his own job security despite a firm belief that he was accountable for the entire front office in difficult times. Cherington, one source told Speier, was so committed to positioning the Sox for success that he was “100 percent” responsible for the hiring of Jerry Dipoto as a consultant. However, Cherington felt that the philosophical differences between him and Dombrowski would introduce an ideological tension that could have been detrimental to the organization. Cherington, according to Speier, could have stuck around at least through the end of the 2016 season, when his contract was scheduled to expire.
- At today’s exit press conference, Cherington told reporters, including the Boston Herald’s Jason Mastrodonato, that the first he heard of the Sox’ interest in Dombrowski was this past Saturday. Said Cherington: “I was in my office and he came and let me know that he and Tom [Werner] were pursuing Dave for this role. That was the first I had heard of it. Yesterday I was told they had an agreement.” Cherington was caught off guard, as he’d believed his conversations with Henry and ownership had been open, honest and productive. Henry, on the other hand, maintains that he first spoke to Cherington about the pursuit of Dombrowski as early as Aug. 4. Cherington offered nothing but praise for Dombrowski, stating that he has “great respect” for an executive whose resume speaks for itself and will be “an asset, clearly,” going forward for the Red Sox.
- Cherington will be paid for the remainder of his contract despite stepping down, a source tells WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford (Twitter link).
- Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe breaks down the new Red Sox chain of command in the wake of Lucchino’s impending departure and the changes on the baseball operations side of the hierarchy.
- ESPN’s Jim Bowden writes 10 things that we can expect from the Red Sox now that Dombrowski is in charge of baseball operations. The most significant note, from a roster standpoint, is that Bowden expects the Red Sox to actively pursue the market’s top free agent pitchers, including David Price, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann, with Price topping the team’s wish list. He also notes that we should expect Dombrowski to part with some of the team’s elite young talent in order to add a second top pitcher with some team control.