There was a time when the Red Sox GM job was one of the most glittering in all of sports. Before Theo Epstein, it was the seat that gave any candidate a chance to have their name live forever and end the championship drought in Boston. After Epstein, it was the chance to work for one of the more forward-thinking organizations with unlimited resources for a fanbase that had become (ever so slightly) more relaxed. Whatever a prospective GM might have wanted, Fenway Sports Group would have provided them with the means to achieve it.
Yeah, not so much anymore.
After canning Chaim Bloom at the end of the season, and for his entire stint in the chair essentially making him operate with one hand tied behind his back, the Red Sox are having a tough time finding anyone to replace him. According to Sean McAdam of MassLive, the Carmines have been turned down by multiple candidates before even getting to the interview stage.
There are myriad reasons. One is that manager Alex Cora, who wields a fair amount of influence with the organization, is entrenched in the dugout and would have to be welded to a new GM. Another is that a good fair few members of the front office have been there since before they put seats on the Monster, and hence it would be difficult to get them out for a new GM to shape the front office the way they want. There would be a lot of retrofitting. Certainly, the turnover in the job in recent years doesn’t make any candidate think that FSG is going to show the most amount of patience for whatever their plan is.
But it’s FSG’s plan, or lack thereof, or wherever in between they actually are that is probably scaring off anyone they’ve come to talk to. Bloom was undone before he even got his pictures up in the office, being forced to deal Mookie Betts for 60 cents on the dollar thanks to FSG’s refusal to sign him long-term and there being a limited market to acquire him when he only had one year left on his deal. It’s nearly impossible to overcome trading possibly the best player in baseball (certainly at the time he was) and only getting one and a half everyday starters in return, none of which rise to the level of star.
It’s even harder when the former spigot of money that funded the Sox payroll was suddenly turned off, which meant Bloom had to then choose between Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts the previous offseason. That doesn’t mean Bloom was blameless in the Red Sox’s recent intimate relationship with the AL East basement, but certainly, the obstacles are obvious.
The other problem is that even with those handicaps to doing the job, the job still comes with the same amount of scrutiny it always has. The Red Sox media isn’t any different than it was, and they’re still the focus of Boston (perhaps even more so now that the Patriots have returned to their 1990s state). The fanbase still expects. The pressure is still there. It’s still the profile of the RED SOX GM JOB, but without the tools and resources that used to make all of that palatable.
Whether it will change, with FSG’s focus divided between Liverpool and the Penguins now, no one knows (and imagine how much more cash the Sox GM won’t have when FSG has to pony up $130 million for Leroy Sane next summer!). This is not a place where a GM can tear down the team to the studs and start over, even with their frequent last-place finishes. The plane has to be built in the air.
There are candidates, because it is still a GM job in the Majors. There’s the internal candidate, assistant GM Eddie Romero. Former Astros GM James Click, who knows a thing or two about working for a jackass owner, has also been mentioned. Twins GM Thad Levine is considered the favorite, with former Pirates GM Neal Huntington also mentioned. There’s also the new big fish in the pond, Kim Ng, though after her experience in Miami, she is probably after a president of Baseball Ops job. Does she also want to work for yet another team that’s going to penny-pinch but with much more attention and pressure than the Marlins?
While no GM candidate worth their salt would shrink from a challenge, wading into this division while also having to thread various self-inflicted needles is quite the hill to climb. The Orioles look poised to be a power for a while. The Blue Jays are at least ahead of the game with the amount of young talent they do have. The rays weave their magic. One would think the Yankees will eventually be the Yankees again one day. And the Red Sox are starting from the bottom.
Then again, FSG can’t seem to find anyone to take their GM job for Liverpool on a permanent basis either. Maybe it’s just contagious.
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