Even though Red Sox owner John Henry stated in June that Ben Cherington would be the General Manager for years to come, the end is near for Cherington as the team announced they have hired Dave Dombrowski as the President of Baseball Operations.
Dombrowski has a history with Henry, having worked as the GM of the Florida Marlins from 1998-2001when Henry owned that club. Dombrowski’s experience is deep in baseball operations. He was hired by the Montreal Expos as Director of Player Development in 1987, and then took over as GM when he was 31 years old in 1988.
In 1991 he was hired by Henry and co-owner Wayne Huizenga to lead the Marlins, where he stayed for 10 years, including the World Series Championship in 1997. After Florida, his next stop was in Detroit, where Tigers owner Mike Ilitch brought him in as President and Chief Executive Officer in 2002. He also assumed the role of GM after a poor start that year. Up until earlier this month, he was with the Tigers until being relieved of his duties.
Dombrowski’s record is solid. In Canada, he built up the Expos farm system during his term. In Florida he was the architect of a championship team, and then in Detroit he built a team that went to the World Series in 2006 and 2012, losing both times. He is known to be very adept at scouting, and how to best utilize scouting departments, which is a different way than the heavy use of baseball statistics and computer programs named Carmine that have been used in recent years.
This move marks just another in a season of change and tumult. President Larry Lucchino will be stepping down after this season. Manager John Farrell has taken a leave to deal with his recent diagnosis of lymphoma. The team will finish in last place again for the second straight year and third time in four years. Change had to come, and unfortunately for Cherington it is at his expense.
Cherington has been with the Sox since 1997. He followed Theo Epstein, who left for the Chicago Cubs after the Red Sox collapsed down the stretch in 2011. Epstein, a protégé of Lucchino’s, had served the Red Sox well with a logical approach to analytics, coupled with a deep respect for scouts, and Cherington followed that model.
Cherington was offered the chance to stay on as GM, but he declined, fully realizing that all decisions will come from Dombrowski. The handwriting may have been on the wall last week when the Sox hired former Los Angeles Dodgers General Manager Jerry Dipoto as a consultant to help in player evaluation and offseason planning.