The Boston Red Sox need a new general manager after firing chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom late last month.
Normally, you'd think a job as prestigious as this one would easily attract the top candidates. The Red Sox are a historic franchise that plays in an iconic ballpark. Ownership generally spends a lot of money. The farm system is ranked top 10 by most analysts. The fan base is loyal and passionate. Winning in Boston is often celebrated more than just about everywhere else.
What's not to like?
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Well, a couple things, actually.
"According to several industry sources, many potential candidates outside the organization see the job of replacing Chaim Bloom as a well-positioned opportunity to win, yet one that comes with unavoidable questions and in many cases reservations," The Boston Globe's Alex Speier wrote Thursday.
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Red Sox manager Alex Cora's power in the organization is another interesting dynamic for potential candidates to consider. “It’s the elephant in the room,” one executive told Speier.
Another point made by Speier and many others is the fact that the last three GMs/president of baseball operations for the Red Sox all lasted an average of less than four years, even though two of them -- Ben Cherington and Dave Dombrowski -- won the World Series during their tenure.
How can you attract the top candidates if winning the ultimate prize isn't enough to keep your job long term?
What's clear is the Red Sox absolutely need to nail this hire. This team has the potential to be good quickly. There are several good players on the MLB roster and, as noted above, the prospect pool is loaded. The Red Sox hired an analytics-minded, new-school guy in Bloom four years ago, and while he built up the farm system, the product at Fenway Park was not equally successful.
Will the Red Sox now decide to go with a more old-school candidate, someone willing to jettison top prospects and trade for established stars? Maybe another Dombrowski-type? His Philadelphia Phillies won the National League pennant last season and might do so again this October.
The Red Sox aren't an organization without hope. They just need someone who can navigate high expectations, a demanding ownership and a place where patience is not always abundant. Therefore, a veteran with previous GM experience is probably the ideal candidate for this job.