In a conference call with reporters, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said today that his preference is to hire a general manager that is already within the organization as opposed to conducting a search of external candidates (via Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald). The Red Sox, of course, are in the market for a new GM after Mike Hazen was hired as the executive vice president/general manager of the Diamondbacks over the weekend.
Whether the Red Sox remain internal or ultimately interview outside candidates to fill the void left by Hazen’s departure, the fact remains that Dombrowski will have final say when it comes to baseball operations decision-making. Boston ownership afforded him that autonomy when hiring Dombrowski as the team’s president of baseball operations last August, and while the title of general manager undoubtedly comes with plenty of allure for both internal candidates and external candidates with lower-ranking titles, there should be no confusion about the hierarchy within the Boston front office.
Indeed, as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal writes, Hazen’s departure is a reminder that the Red Sox are now Dombrowski’s operation. That reality makes it less critical that the Sox find someone from within than it was a year ago when Dombrowski didn’t know the organization as well, but Dombrowski called an internal hire an “ideal” setting. The Sox will conduct formal interviews with internal candidates, but as MacPherson notes, Dombrowski said the benefit of sticking internal is that those candidates have, in some ways, been interviewing for this position since the day Dombrowski was hired.
Dombrowski’s longtime friend and longtime colleague Frank Wren, who currently holds the title of senior vice president of baseball operations, has been reported to be a “leading candidate” for Hazen’s vacated post. Other internal candidates include senior vice president of personnel Allard Baird, senior vice president/assistant general manager Brian O’Halloran, pro scouting director Gus Quattlebaum, vice president of international/amateur scouting Amiel Sawdaye and vice president of international scouting Eddie Romero, as the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier wrote yesterday.
It also remains possible that Hazen will bring one or more of his Boston colleagues to the D-backs front office to work alongside him in a greater role, although Hazen, according to Dombrowski, will be limited in the number of people he is able to enlist. Additionally, anyone who leaves the Sox to join the D-backs will have to be the recipient of a “direct promotion,” Mastrodonato writes, so there won’t be any lateral movement between the two organizations. Certainly it seems plausible, if not likely, that Hazen will pluck a lieutenant or two to join the ranks in Arizona, but Dombrowski suggested that the Boston front office will not lose a large number of resources as a result of Hazen’s hire.
One person the organization could potentially stand to lose isn’t in the front office at all, though. Bench coach Torey Lovullo has already been frequently speculated upon as a managerial candidate in Arizona, and Dombrowski said he’ll be surprised if the D-backs don’t interview Lovullo (via Mastrodonato). He went on to add that while the Sox think highly of Lovullo, Hazen does as well. “We won’t stand in his way,” Dombrowski said of Lovullo, referencing the possibility of the D-backs offering him their managerial vacancy.
There’s no set timeline for the Red Sox to determine a new general manager, though Dombrowski did state that he’d like to find a replacement as quickly as possible. The team does host its organizational meeting to prep for the offseason next week, so it stands to reason that Dombrowski would want to have a new executive in place sooner rather than later. Certainly conducting an outside search and determining a new hire with ownership in that time would be a lofty goal. That, paired with Dombrowski’s stated preference, seems to strongly indicate that Hazen’s successor is already within the organization.