With former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski now out of the organization, the Red Sox are on the hunt for a new front office chief. Dombrowski’s successor won’t have the right to choose a manager, though, as Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy confirmed Tuesday on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria” that Alex Cora will return in 2020, as Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com relays.
It was already surprising enough that Boston fired Dombrowski on Sunday just under a year after winning its latest World Series title. And although Dombrowski hired Cora, it perhaps would have been even more stunning had the club moved on from the latter. The well-respected Cora has helped the Red Sox to a record of 184-122, including a 76-69 mark this season, during almost two years at the helm of their dugout. The club won’t return to the playoffs this year, though, which is surely among the reasons it ousted Dombrowski.
Kennedy on Tuesday wasn’t wiling to delve into why the Red Sox moved on from Dombrowski, however (per Cotillo). Rather, he complimented Dombrowski on his performance with the organization, saying, “We won a world championship, a couple division championships. On a personal level, I enjoyed working with him.” But Kennedy did add, “Obviously, you don’t make a change unless you’re ready for new leadership in that specific department.”
Unsurprisingly, there were issues behind the scenes, as Evan Drellich of The Athletic and Buster Olney of ESPN detail (subscriptions required). Dombrowski sought a contract extension multiple times in the wake of the team’s championship season, but its higher-ups wouldn’t oblige, according to Drellich. Ultimately, it doesn’t seem as if the Red Sox believed the aggressive Dombrowski was capable of putting them on a path toward sustained success. Dombrowski’s former bosses even wondered whether he was the right person for the job late during the 2018 regular season, when the Red Sox were on their way to a 108-win campaign, Olney reports.
Thanks to Dombrowski’s exit, the Red Sox are currently operating with a group consisting of a few of his former underlings – Eddie Romero, Zack Scott, Brian O’Halloran and Raquel Ferreira – atop their baseball department. It’s possible they’ll end up replacing Dombrowski from outside, though, with Olney naming Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen as a speculative successor. Hazen’s a Boston native who worked for the Red Sox for 11 years before joining the Diamondbacks, who have been generally successful since he began running the ship in October 2016.
While it’s easy to see the appeal of a Hazen-Boston reunion on paper, the Diamondbacks aren’t concerned they’ll lose him, as CEO Derrick Hall told Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic via text message: “I have no reason to think they are going to ask. He is under contract.”
Hazen seems to have another two years left on his deal, though it’s unclear whether the D-backs have added more seasons to the pact, Piecoro notes. Regardless, because he’s under contract, Arizona would be able to stop Hazen from speaking to the Red Sox should they express interest in him.