Red Sox GM Mike Hazen is headed West, having been named the Diamondbacks’ executive vice president and general manager.
It reads like a lateral move, but obviously that’s not really the case here. Mike Hazen was not a general manager as we used to know them, instead acting as second-in-command to Dave Dombrowski, who was the man making the final decisions. The shift, of course, was the result of the Sox bringing in Dombrowski as the president of baseball operations to let them effectively remove Ben Cherington from his top position without having to actually fire him in the process. And, really, of Theo Epstein being given that title in Chicago to facilitate his departure from Boston in the first place.
That “executive vice president” thing is just the Diamondbacks’ concession to this trend of title inflation. Hazen is a GM leaving to take over a GM role, but if you run the whole thing through the appropriate translations to get back to the old definitions, he’s an assistant GM leaving for a full GM role.
For the Red Sox...well, it’s a loss of one of the last key members of the old guard. Hazen was a disciple of Epstein before he was Ben Cherington’s right-hand man, and then stayed on when Cherington departed. It will be interesting to see where Dombrowski turns to replace him. There’s still a number of guys left in the organization who served in fairly senior roles under Cherington and Epstein before him—Allard Baird and Amiel Sawdaye stand out as two of the more prominent members who could be in line for the position. On the other hand, if Dombrowski isn’t looking to maintain that sort of continuity, he could turn outside for another name.
For Hazen’s part...Well, he’s got his work cut out for him. The Diamondbacks shoved their chips in this year in a big way, and got a 69-win season out of it. They’ve got a pretty long way to go, and not a whole lot of payroll room to make it work. Good luck, Mike. You might need it.