Stunning news late Tuesday as the Red Sox have made a decisive move in the front office.
The man the Seattle Times called the “biggest free agent in 2016,” is heading to Boston.
Dave Dombrowski, until recently the 14-year General Manager of the Detroit Tigers, is Boston’s new President of Baseball Operations, effective immediately, and Ben Cherington, who was offered the chance to stay on as Red Sox General Manager under Dombrowski, has “declined the opportunity,” according to a Red Sox press statement.
Dombrowski, who reports say was being courted by the Angels, Blue Jays, Brewers, Orioles, and Mariners, will now report to Red Sox Owner John Henry and Chairman Tom Werner.
The Detroit Free Press says Dombrowski interviewed with the Red Sox last Thursday and was offered the job by Henry on Sunday.
Dombrowski was General Manager for Henry when the latter owned the Marlins in the late 1990s. On Tuesday Henry called Dombrowski “one of the most highly regarded executives in all of baseball,” adding that “we feel very fortunate that he wanted to come to Boston.”
Werner, referring to Dombrowski as a “proven winner,” said the move came after “we had reached a clear internal consensus that we need to enhance our baseball operation.”
For his part Dombrowski said he was “honored to have the chance to serve Red Sox Nation” and expressed a desire to “get a head start on the important job of roster reconstruction for 2016.”
With Cherington leaving, speculation will now turn to former Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto, who was appointed to a consultative, temporary role last Wednesday. Dipoto resigned his post in Los Angeles earlier this summer over reported differences with longtime Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
What we know about Dave Dombrowski
Dave Dombrowski, 59, has spent 37 years in professional baseball, the last 14 years as president/CEO of the Tigers. He took on the role of GM there a year later. Under Dombrowski the Tigers were 90-72 last season, winning the division title for four straight years. During his entire tenure as GM the Tigers were 989-1054 (.484).
Dombrowski, who was earning $3 million a year, was fired by Tigers owner Mike Ilitch after overseeing what the Detroit News called “the greatest period of sustained success in Tigers history,” which included five playoff appearances and two World Series bids—but no titles—over a nine year stretch.
Prior to the Tigers and Marlins, Dombrowski held roles with the Montreal Expos and Chicago White Sox, where he began his career in January, 1978, as an administrative assistant in their minor league and scouting department. He worked his way up to White Sox Vice President of Baseball Operations by December, 1985.
Temperamentally, Dombrowski is seen a smart but good guy. As reported in the Seattle Times, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan says Dombrowski “carries himself with the air of an owner, the baseball knowledge of a great scout, and the humility of a low-level operations person.”
In making the move to Dombrowski, the Red Sox are turning the reins over to a traditional baseball guy, not one known for having much confidence in advanced metrics.
Dombrowski was Baseball America‘s Executive of the Year in 2006 and The Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2011.
A graduate of Western Michigan University with a degree in business administration, Dombrowski and his wife, Karie Ross have two children, Darbi Rose and Landon Ronald. He intends to keep his home in Detroit and commute to Boston while his children finish school, according to the Detroit News.
Dombrowski will be formally introduced to the Boston media on Wednesday afternoon.