As their search for a new Red Sox head of baseball operations continues, a name has finally emerged as a candidate for the job: Michael Hill.
The former Marlins general manager and current MLB official has an extensive track record, and according to a report from Sean McAdam of MassLive, is someone the Red Sox are targeting, though it's unclear whether the feeling is mutual.
One issue the Red Sox are once again encountering is lukewarm interest in the position, with McAdam noting that they've already been rejected by multiple candidates. The last time they had this opening, New England natives Mike Hazen of the Diamondbacks, Chris Antonetti of the Guardians, and Derek Falvey of the Twins all declined to interview. This time around, Hazen once again agreed to an extension with Arizona, which is about to open play in the National League Championship Series, rather than consider a homecoming to replace Chaim Bloom.
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Potential candidates view the job as unstable -- the Red Sox are about to hire their fifth baseball boss since 2011 -- and also inflexible. Not only have the Red Sox already announced that manager Alex Cora will return next season, but the upper levels of the front office are also populated with multiple executives who have been with the organization for upwards of two decades, making it harder for a new hire to bring in their own people.
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If the Red Sox turn to Hill, they will be adding an experienced executive who has shown the ability to build the foundation of a strong team, although Miami's perpetually uncertain ownership situation made keeping that team together difficult.
Though the Marlins only made the playoffs once during Hill's seven-year tenure as head of baseball operations (following six years as general manager), they assembled some impressive talent. Hill signed Giancarlo Stanton to a shockingly massive $325 million extension, and also locked up future MVP Christian Yelich and speedy outfielder Dee Gordon.
Just when the Marlins appeared on the cusp of contention, however, mercurial owner Jeffrey Loria, long-despised in South Florida, sold the club to a group led by Bruce Sherman, which necessitated a sell-off. The Marlins predictably plummeted in the standings, but it's fair to wonder how they might've performed had they kept the players that Hill had played a role in acquiring, since they traded Stanton, Yelich, Gordon, slugger Marcell Ozuna, and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto, among others. That fire sale came only months after the tragic death of Cy Young candidate Jose Fernandez in a boating accident.
One red flag is that Hill didn't draft particularly well once he took over for predecessor Larry Beinfest. His best pick was probably slugging first baseman/outfielder Josh Naylor, who was eventually traded to Cleveland. He also drafted future big leaguers Stone Garrett, Brian Anderson, Braxton Garrett, and Michael King.
His Marlins had better luck on the trade market, where they swung deals that landed the likes of future Cy Young Award winner Sandy Alcantara from the Cardinals along with future All-Star Zac Gallen for Ozuna, promising left-hander Jesus Lazardo from the A's for Starling Marte, and a swindling of the Dodgers for Gordon, Dan Haren, and Miguel Rojas in 2014.
Hill currently serves as MLB's senior vice president of baseball operations, where he's in charge of umpires and on-field discipline. The 1993 Harvard graduate was a football and baseball standout with the Crimson, and he spent three years in the minor leagues after being drafted by the Rangers.