19 Aug 2015
Remember the line when Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunn are driving into what they think is the Rockies only to see a vast plain? “That John Denver was full of crap!” Well, John Henry is too. Just 2 months after saying this about Ben Cherington, “The GM is going to be the GM of this club for a very long time,” we find out that Dave Dombrowski has been hired as President of Baseball Operations and Ben Cherington is out. Apparently Cherington was given the option of staying but when you lose your – authority, it probably makes sense to move on…along with your recently signed 3 year extension.
What does this mean for the Red Sox? Dombrowski, fired by the Tigers in June, is a more traditional baseball mind, preferring old-timey scouting vs. modern analytics. The Red Sox under Cherington had become heavy in analytics and sometimes I felt that the numbers were the only reason for moves. Things like personalities and hard work were overlooked as long as a player’s Fenway splits were solid. Hanley Ramirez is a good example of an analytic signing whereas a traditional baseball mind might have said his tendency to dog it is a reason to stay away. Heck, even Hanley warned a Dodger teammate not to be like him, hated by his teammates…wasn’t that warning enough Ben?
This calls into question what will happen with analytical people like Bill James. Will they leave, get fired or figure out a way to co-exist with Dombrowski? Regardless, this all happened very quickly and came out of nowhere. When Dombrowski left Detroit, a fairly well-known writer (can’t remember if it was Ken Rosenthal or Buster Olney) tweeted that the Red Sox had no interest in him. Well that turned out not to be the case and today we have a decidedly new way of doing things.
Dombrowski, won a World Series with Florida in 1997 and went to 2 others with Detroit in 2006 and 2012. There will be, most likely, many other changes with the Red Sox between now and the start of the 2016 season. That can be said of any season, but the front office, which has been largely stable since Henry took over save for the moving of Theo Epstein, is undergoing a makeover and one that was needed as continuing this trend of feast or famine can’t be allowed.