The Boston Red Sox , less than a year after winning a World Series title. The Red Sox had been successful under Dombrowski's guidance, notching at least 93 wins in each of his three full seasons. Even this season, a disappointing one relative to expectations, sees the Red Sox on pace to win 86 games.
Regardless of why the Red Sox fired Dombrowski ---- Boston will now have to turn its focus to finding a new decision maker.
We don't have inside information about who John Henry may consider for the position. We do, however, have some idea of what Henry wants in a new GM, courtesy of Tom Verducci's piece at Sports Illustrated. The ideal candidate, it seems, is someone who is organized and detailed-orientated:
Most people were shocked. But here's the deal: the reasons the Red Sox hired Dombrowski no longer existed. What they need now, at least in the vision of owner John Henry, is a process-oriented architect who can steer the franchise efficiently through a difficult transition toward its next championship team. That person was not the 63-year-old Dombrowski.
"Dave was the kind of guy who didn't have much a process," said one source familiar with the team's thinking. "He is very good at making decisions right now based on instincts and advice. John likes a more process-oriented approach. And based on where the team is right now–the next couple of years could be rough–they don't trust him to make those decisions."
As such, we put together a list of names who could pop up over the coming months -- either in relation to the Boston job, or elsewhere across the league. The names listed below are presented in alphabetical order, with one obvious exception (Note that we originally included Jason McLeod, but his promotion with the Cubs would seem to remove him from potential consideration.)
1. Decision-maker-by-committee approach
This is the obvious exception.
The. It's unclear how serious any or all of the four will be considered as it pertains to the permanent gig, but one rival American League executive believes it isn't as outlandish as it seems -- and that a by-committee approach would work.
The executive noted that a similar structure is deployed by the Tampa Bay Rays, who lean on a combination of Erik Neander, Chaim Bloom, and James Click. "It's only been a few years of it," the executive told CBS Sports, "but [the league copies] everything else Tampa Bay does."
Under such a scenario, one of the four would likely be named general manager -- for communication purposes above all. (Neander, to complete the loop, is the Rays GM.)
2. Matt Arnold, Brewers
Currently the Milwaukee Brewers' senior vice president and assistant general manager, Matt Arnold has been considered a future GM for a while now, dating back to his time with the Rays. His familiarity with the small-market -- read: cheap team-building -- approach would seem to resonate if Boston's ownership is serious about saving coin.
Arnold, it should be noted, was interviewed last fall for the San Francisco Giants GM opening.
3. Chaim Bloom, Rays
If the Red Sox intend to emulate the Rays, then why not go full tilt and hire a Rays executive to pull it off? Chaim Bloom is Tampa Bay's senior vice president of baseball operations, and he nearly landed the New York Mets GM job last fall. He used to write for Baseball Prospectus, which would (presumably) make him the first blogger-turned-GM in league history.
4. Josh Byrnes, Dodgers
Should the Red Sox desire to become a player-development machine, like say the Los Angeles Dodgers, then maybe it would make sense to hire Josh Byrnes, who is their senior vice president of baseball operations. (Teams have little imagination with these titles.)
Byrnes has twice before been a GM: one with the Arizona Diamondbacks, then again with the San Diego Padres. He's worked with the Red Sox before, too, having served under Theo Epstein as an assistant general manager.
5. Jared Porter/Amiel Sawdaye, Diamondbacks
Let's complete the reunion hat trick by touching on Jared Porter and Amiel Sawdaye, two former Red Sox executives who joined Mike Hazen with the Diamondbacks.
Porter is the D-Backs' senior vice president and assistant general manager. He's been a part of four World Series winners, having previously worked for the 2016 Cubs and the 2004, 2007, and 2013 Red Sox. He's a good luck charm, in other words. Porter is also a well-regarded talent evaluator who came up on the scouting side.
Sawdaye shares a title with Porter, and also got his start on the scouting side with the Red Sox. He has a degree in decisions information systems from the University of Maryland, which will likely be the feature of a few zany profiles once he lands a team of his own.
6. Brandon Taubman, Astros
We'll end with Brandon Taubman, who is the Houston Astros assistant general manager. Taubman was once a derivative valuation expert for Ernst & Young, and has since spent years rising the ranks of the Houston system. The Astros are a controversial group, but the success of David Stearns in Milwaukee and the hiring of Mike Elias in Baltimore suggests other teams want what they have -- that makes Taubman a potential candidate to keep in mind, for now and later.