Dave Dombrowski to Red Sox as president, Cherington out as GM – CBSSports.com
Longtime baseball executive Dave Dombrowski has agreed to become the Red Sox‘s president of baseball operations, CBS Sports MLB insider Jon Heyman has confirmed. In a related move, Ben Cherington will step down as general manager but stay on long enough to assist Dombrowski with the transition. Per the team, Dombrowski will assume his duties immediately and report directly to principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner. Dombrowski has indicated that he intends to hire a new GM.
These changes take place as the Red Sox play out the string of a deeply disappointing 2015 season. Despite some very prominent offseason additions and running the third-highest Opening Day payroll in baseball, Boston finds itself in last place in the AL East and on pace for 91 losses, which is precisely how many games the team lost last season. While the Red Sox haven’t been eliminated yet, the SportsLine Projection Model prior to Tuesday’s slate gave then a 0.0 percent chance of making the postseason.
Earlier this month, Dombrowski, 59, was released from his contract as general manager of the Tigers after a mostly successful 14-year tenure. Dombrowski stands as one of the most successful baseball executives of this or any era. In 1988, he became GM of the Expos and was at the time the youngest general manager in MLB. After rebuilding the Expos, he left to become GM of the expansion Florida Marlins and eventually led them to win the World Series in 1997. From there, it was on to the Tigers, where he initially served as president and CEO before also assuming GM duties. On Dombrowski’s watch, the Tigers notched seven winning seasons, five playoff berths, four division titles and two pennants.
As for Cherington, he became Red Sox GM in October of 2011 after the departure of Theo Epstein. The Red Sox have struggled in three of Cherington’s four seasons on the job, but his deft touch on the free agent market following the 2012 season led directly to the team’s World Series title in 2013. Overall, the Red Sox are 289-315 with Cherington in the GM role.
The forthcoming offseason will present challenges to Dombrowski and the braintrust he’ll assemble (it remains to be seen whether newly hired advisor and former Angels GM Jerry Dipoto will be a lasting part of it). Among other matters, Dombrowski and company must decide how to deploy the defensively challenged Hanley Ramirez, who’s signed through at least 2018. Clay Buchholz has a $13-million option or else he’s bound for free agency. A number of dubious contracts are on the books — Pablo Sandoval, Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Rusney Castillo. Will the front office try to unload some of them? Hold steady and try to make a run in 2016? Shed some dead weight and try for a medium-term rebuild around potential franchise talents Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts?
The upheavals, of course, don’t end there. Powerful CEO Larry Lucchino won’t be back, and manager John Farrell is facing a battle with lymphoma (thankfully one that appears to be winnable). Challenging times are ahead for Dombrowski, but his substantial history within the game suggests he’s up for the task.