I’ve been a David Dumbrowksi fan since I met him at the beginning of his career. He was fired by the Tigers two weeks ago and I knew he would be quickly hired by smart baseball people. The Red Sox ownership, Tom Werner and John Henry,are such people. Below is a discussion of this hiring.
From Darell Rovell at ESPN.
We’ll never know if Ben Cherington was going to figure out how put the Red Sox back together again.
The Sox were unwilling to wait any longer.
In the most stunning move of their ownership since they took control in the spring of 2002 and fired general manager Dan Duquette, principal owner John Henry and chairman Tom Werner hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations last night.
And while the official press release said Cherington “declined the opportunity to continue as general manager,” let’s not get caught up in semantics like we all did when Terry Francona moved on.
The Red Sox fired Cherington as soon as they decided to hire Dombrowski.
They didn’t have to announce it, and they don’t have to run from it.
If you’re looking for a new voice, you’ve stopped listening to the old one.
“We had reached a clear internal consensus that we needed to enhance our baseball operation,” Werner in a statement.
Dombrowski was too good, too distinguished, too experienced to pass up. And if that meant Cherington had to leave, well, that’s the cost of “a clear internal consensus.”
To say Cherington turned down the opportunity to stay technically is true, but hopefully the Red Sox will not waste a single phone call, email or text trying to spin his departure. There is no need to disguise what Dombrowski’s arrival meant to Cherington’s fate.
Dombrowski wielded more power in Detroit as the Tigers president and general manager than Cherington ever did here when he worked under Larry Lucchino, Henry and Werner. And while Dombrowski most likely would not have minded Cherington working for him, why would the latter want to abdicate his current power and be relegated to a glorified assistant to a president?
When Theo Epstein replaced interim GM Mike Port, who helped run the show after Duquette left, he inherited a franchise in good shape, a far cry from the state of the current team.
Then, the Sox had Nomar Garciaparra, Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez, and the farm system basically was stripped save for a few notable exceptions.
Epstein helped rebuild the farm system but with some savvy moves supplemented the big league team and voila, the Sox won it all in 2004 and 2007.
Cherington took charge after 2011, oversaw the miracle 2013 championship and built a stacked farm system, which Dombrowski now inherits along with budding superstars Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts.
“The Red Sox baseball operations group and Ben Cherington deserve extraordinary credit for the young, talented players that have broken through at the major league level, and I see outstanding potential in the talent still developing our minor leagues,” Dombrowski said in his first statement as president.
The Red Sox did not want to fire Cherington as the team began to head toward its third last-place finish in the past four seasons. But they were not going to spite themselves when Dombrowski became available earlier this month while the Sox were playing the first-place Yankees in the Bronx.
The Red Sox were surprised by Dombrowski’s sudden availability, but they already were deep into soul-searching mode, having already pushed out (fired) president and CEO Lucchino a few days earlier.
Loyalty has its limits within any organization.
Lucchino understands that, just as Cherington does.
It doesn’t make the Red Sox’ decision wrong.
It does make it hard.
“Ben Cherington is one of the finest individuals I have ever worked with, possessing a maturity and integrity second to none,” Henry said in a statement.
And Werner, too, applauded Cherington on his way out, especially for the 2013 season.
“Ben’s steady hand was at the tiller of that remarkable journey,” Werner said. “We appreciate his many years of service, his substantial contributions to our organization over many years, and his willingness to assist Dave with the transition.”
The transition is all but done.
Cherington was incredibly steady, competent and accomplished.
But the Red Sox sent him packing. They found somebody else they wanted more.
And in the big leagues, that’s called doing business.