The last time the Red Sox had an opening for the lead role in baseball operations, the Arizona Diamondbacks extended Mike Hazen before the Abington, Mass., native could even consider a homecoming.
It appears history might be repeating itself.
Speaking to the Arizona Republic on Monday, D'backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said he's open to discussing another extension, just as rumors begin percolating that Hazen will once again be a top target of the Red Sox.
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"I can't envision us going a different direction with what he's built and his (front office) team, too," Hall said. "I'm more than willing to have conversations with him at any point."
The Red Sox can't speak to Hazen without permission. Hall told the Republic that the Red Sox haven't yet sought it, "and I hope they don't. He's under contract and we like him."
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Boston's interest in Hazen makes sense. Not only is he experienced after seven years as Arizona's general manager, he has the D'backs poised to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2017 behind the kind of young core the Red Sox hope to build. He's also familiar with the Boston market from more than a decade in the front office between the Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington, and Dave Dombrowski regimes.
Hazen has not expressed an opinion on the Red Sox job, which is reasonable, given his team's playoff push. Arizona extended its winning streak to four straight with an 8-4 win over the Giants on Tuesday to maintain a half-game lead over the Cubs and Marlins in the race for the NL's final two wild card spots.
Hall noted that Hazen has a year left plus an option on his current deal and that allowing him to interview in Boston would be a tough call.
"I feel like we both negotiated a contract for a reason," he said. "Contracts protect him just as they protect us. He's aware of that. He's meant a lot to this franchise.
"I really like the situation he has navigated and created here, so I just can't see us going in a different direction."