The Red Sox have announced that they have hired Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations, and that Ben Cherington will step down as general manager.
Effectively, we have a new decision maker. Cherington was given the option to stay on, but elected not to, which is perhaps not surprising given the role general managers tend to take when teams appoint someone above them. While the idea of a Cherington - Dombrowski partnership is appealing--Cherington bringing a creative approach to difficult problems, and Dombrowski providing a necessary check on said creativity--that's not usually how these arrangements work out, with general managers generally working in a more administrative role. Given that he's just two years removed from putting together a World Series winning team, it makes sense that Cherington would seek a more involved role elsewhere.
Cherington will stay on board to ease the transition, but according to Bob Nightengale, former Braves general manager Frank Wren could wind up landing his old job:
Frank Wren is the leading contender to be GM under Dave Dombrowski with the #RedSox now that Ben Cherington is leaving.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) August 19, 2015
Again, for those with nightmares of Melvin Upton, while Wren would be occupying the same position as Cherington, his role would not be the same, with Dombrowski captaining the ship.
Dombrowski has overseen the rise of the Detroit Tigers from a dead-last team in the early aughts to a regular contender in the past decade, but was let go this year as the Tigers struggled to find their feet in the AL Central race. While Dombrowski is not known to be the most statistically-oriented baseball executive in the world, he's coming into an environment which is heavily entrenched in analytics, which could make for an interesting transition.
Interestingly, Dombrowski will take over a Red Sox team that does not have Larry Lucchino around as a second power center. With Cherington also leaving, and John Henry always willing to let the baseball minds make the baseball decisions, Dombrowski should face few obstacles in implementing his plan, whatever that should be.
Cherington's short time in charge will of course be marked by the highest possible high, with the 2013 World Series run, but also seemingly one of the most disastrous offseasons this team has seen in recent memory, with the winter of 2014-15 right up there with that of 2010-11, which seemed to doom the organization until Cherington pulled off his miracle trade with the Dodgers.