Red Sox hire Dave Dombrowski as president of baseball operations

ByGordon Edes ESPN logo
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

BOSTON -- After what David Dombrowski described as a "whirlwind" courtship, the Boston Red Sox announced Tuesday night they have hired him as the team's president of baseball operations, two weeks after he was fired as president of the Detroit Tigers.

A news conference has been scheduled for Wednesday, when Dombrowski will fly in from his home in suburban Detroit. Dombrowski said he intends to hire a new general manager. He offered the position to the incumbent, Ben Cherington, but Cherington declined the offer.

"I was hoping as late as this afternoon that Ben would stay," Dombrowski, 59, said by phone Tuesday night, "I was prepared for him to stay, but I understand his reasons for not staying."

The club said in a statement that Cherington, who was in his fourth season as the team's general manager, agreed to assist in the transition. Dombrowski said he intends to begin immediately.

"I expect to be in my office after the press conference," he said.

"I'm excited. This is a great opportunity. Boston is a tremendous baseball city, the Red Sox are a great franchise, and they have some of the best young talent in the game, both at the big-league level and in their minor-league system.

"It's a great ownership group, they want to win, and they want to win the right way."

In Boston, Dombrowski will be reunited with John W. Henry, who purchased the Florida Marlins when Dombrowski was there in 1998 and owned the club for four years.

"I have known Dave very well for a long time. [Chairman] Tom [Werner] and I have no doubts that Dave is the right person to strengthen our baseball operations group going forward," Henry said. "He is one of the most highly regarded executives in all of baseball and had options to go with other clubs."

Dombrowski, who was fired by the Tigers on Aug. 4, said Henry called him shortly thereafter. They agreed to a meeting in Chicago after last week's owners' meetings, with Dombrowski meeting with Henry,Werner and Mike Gordon, who heads the Fenway Sports Group and plays a major role in Sox decision-making. Dombrowski said he subsequently flew to Boston for another meeting, and on Sunday accepted the team's offer to become the Red Sox's first president of baseball operations.

"John and I go back a long way," Dombrowski said. "We've stayed in contact ever since Florida, and he reached out to me."

Dombrowski said he spoke with two other clubs last week about a job but declined to identify who they were.

"I promised those people I wouldn't say anything," he said.

Unlike in Detroit, where Dombrowski was also president of business operations, he will not be involved on the business side with the Red Sox. The club recently announced that Sam Kennedy would be the team's new president, succeeding Larry Lucchino.

"I will be reporting directly to John and Tom," Dombrowski said. "It works out fine. Baseball has always been my love, and I will have the responsibility for baseball operations."

In the immediate aftermath of Dombrowski's firing in Detroit, a Red Sox executive told that the Red Sox were not planning to pursue Dombrowski.

"I don't know," Dombrowski said. "Maybe they changed their mind. But I'm glad they offered it to me."

When Henry could not obtain financing for a new stadium in south Florida in 2001, he turned his attentions toward purchasing another club and urged Dombrowski to pursue other opportunities.

Dombrowski was hired by the Tigers in 2002 as president and chief executive officer. Six days into the 2002 season, Dombrowski fired GM Randy Smith and assumed GM responsibilities himself.

In the 14 years Dombrowski ran the Tigers, the team made five playoff appearances; won four consecutive American League Central division titles; made four American League Championship Series appearances, including three straight from 2011 to 2013; and won two AL pennants, in 2006 and 2012. The Tigers went to the World Series twice during his tenure but never won.

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