Mike Hazen named Red Sox general manager
He’ll run baseball ops but Dombrowski has final say
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski hired assistant general manager Mike Hazen Thursday as his general manager after interviewing only two candidates from a list of 30.
Dombrowski said he also interviewed Houston Astros player development director Quinton McCracken.
Hazen, 39, began his tenure with the Red Sox in 2006 as director of player development. He helped build the Red Sox farm system into one of the best in baseball, and he was part of building World Series champions under general managers Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington. Hazen was named assistant GM in January.
Although Hazen, who recently interviewed for the GM job with the Los Angeles Angels, has been part of the decision-making team that has led to three last-place finishes in four years, he is considered a good talent evaluator.
“Look at the development and signing of good players,’’ Dombrowski said. “A lot of good young players are here and a lot of people have been involved in finding those players. I think you can make a mistake if you just go in and analyze the general outcome that things haven’t worked out well on the field.”
Dombrowski acknowledged the GM role with the Red Sox will be different because Dombrowski has final say on all matters. Hazen will run the baseball operations department with some of the people he’s worked with for many years.
Hazen, who hails from Abington and graduated from Princeton, where he played baseball and then two seasons in the minors, is grateful for the opportunity.
He noted his roots as a Red Sox fan and the baseball discussions he used to have with his father.
“From the days when I used to wake up and argue with my dad as to who was better — Rice or Evans — that debate still rages on today. I remember coming here to watch Wade Boggs, Marty Barrett and Bruce Hurst. Going to Pawtucket and seeing Oil Can Boyd pitch. Memories I take with me to this job,” Hazen said.
Hazen said in the past month he’s felt a real connection to Dombrowski, a man he cited as having vast experience, one who has built many successful teams. Hazen said he’s looking forward to a new way of doing things and what he and his staff can learn from Dombrowski.
Hazen was willing to take the job even though he is not in charge.
“Role of GM will be a little different with Dave,’’ Hazen said. “Power is not something any of us talk about. Dave is making the decisions in the end. With the things we’ve done underneath the hood on major league player development, amateur scouting, international scouting, we hope to put Dave in the best position possible to make the best decisions possible for the Red Sox.”
Hazen said the vision for 2016 will be the same as for 2015 — to win a World Series. “That would be my goal and expectation,” he said.
Dombrowski was asked what led him to hire Hazen. “I’m very impressed with him in various aspects of the job and an individual who is intelligent, who knows baseball and has a great work ethic,’’ Dombrowski said. “He has experience in the game, a loyal employee who will be very helpful in every aspect of the operation. Great situation for me to walk in. Thrilled to have him on board. I offer my congratulations for him.”
Dombrowski’s hires have been from within the organization — so far.
“I made a long list of names, about 30 names,’’ Dombrowski said. “I had phone calls from a lot of people on that list. I knew almost every person who called me very well.”
Dombrowski indicated some on his long list could wind up with the Red Sox in special assistant or advisory roles.
Hazen said he thinks Cherington and Dombrowski have “very similar personalities in some approaches.” Hazen said he and his staff had to adjust to the very different personalities of Epstein and Cherington. Hazen noted it is the staff’s job to adjust to Dombrowski, not vice versa.
There are other chain-of-command approaches similar to the Red Sox’: Epstein runs the Cubs with Jed Hoyer as GM; Andrew Friedman is the president of baseball operations for the Dodgers and Farhan Zaidi is GM; and in Philadelphia, Pat Gillick is president and Andy MacPhail is his assistant.
Hazen called the Red Sox job “very appealing.”
“He’ll have more authority to do things,” Dombrowski said. “He’ll carry that torch as GM. As assistant GM, you don’t deal with the media. As the GM, he will.”
Dombrowski said baseball operations will report to Hazen, and Hazen will report to Dombrowski.
Dombrowski expects Hazen will be involved with trade talks, but the final decision is Dombrowski’s.
Hazen is the sixth Red Sox GM to hail from New England since Lou Gorman succeeded Haywood Sullivan.
Red Sox general managers
Eddie Collins – 1933-47
Joe Cronin – 1948-58
Bucky Harris – 1959-60
Dick O’Connell – 1961-62
Mike Higgins – 1963-65
Dick O’Connell – 1965-77
Haywood Sullivan – 1978-83
Lou Gorman – 1984-93
Dan Duquette – 1994-2002
Mike Port (interim) – 2002
Theo Epstein – 2002-05
Ben Cherington/Jed Hoyer – 2005-06
Theo Epstein – 2006-11
Ben Cherington – 2011-2015
Mike Hazen – 2015-present