From the moment the news broke that the Red Sox had parted ways with Dave Dombrowski, speculation began as to who would ultimately replace him atop Boston’s baseball operations department.
• 5 players most affected by Dombrowski's exit
Here are 16 names that could very well be mentioned at some point during the team’s search in the coming weeks. We’ve broken them down into three categories: 1) Candidates with previous ties to the club; 2) Up-and-coming names within the industry; and 3) Big names who make sense but are probably unlikely.
Mike Hazen, D-backs executive VP and general manager
Hazen is finishing up his third season running the D-backs, and while he has earned praise for his work in Arizona, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Red Sox take a run at him. Hazen spent more than a decade with Boston, including a year as GM under Dombrowski in 2016, so ownership is quite familiar with the Massachusetts native’s body of work.
Jason McLeod, Cubs senior VP, player development and amateur scouting
McLeod has interviewed for GM jobs in the past, and most industry types believe it’s only a matter of time before he finds himself running a club. He spent six years with the Red Sox and has plenty of admirers within the organization, many of whom would trust him to rebuild the farm system.
Jared Porter, D-backs senior VP and assistant general manager
Porter was in the Red Sox front office during the club’s 2004, ‘07 and ’13 championship seasons, leaving for the Cubs, with whom he earned another ring as Theo Epstein’s pro scouting director. Also a Massachusetts native, Porter has been one of Hazen’s right-hand men for the past three seasons.
Amiel Sawdaye, D-backs senior VP and assistant general manager
Sawdaye spent 15 years with the Red Sox, earning three championship rings while filling a number of roles. Prior to leaving for Arizona, Sawdaye was Boston’s VP of amateur and international scouting, overseeing Draft efforts that produced Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Jackie Bradley Jr. among others.
Tim Naehring, Yankees VP, baseball operations
On the surface, it would be strange to see the Red Sox try to poach a Yankees executive to run their show, but Naehring played his entire eight-year career in Boston and has displayed his front-office chops as one of Brian Cashman’s most trusted lieutenants.
Eddie Romero/Brian O’Halloran/Zack Scott, Red Sox assistant general managers
Romero and O'Halloran also have executive VP titles, while Scott is a senior VP in the organization. Romero, who joined the Red Sox in 2006, focuses on international scouting and player development, while O’Halloran (the longest-tenured of the three, having joined the club in 2002) specializes in Major League operations and strategy, dealing with player acquisition, contract negotiations and roster management among other things. Scott, who has been with the club since 2004, runs the analytics department, making him an intriguing candidate if ownership decides to go in that direction.
Raquel Ferreira, Red Sox Senior VP, Major League & Minor League Operations
Ferreira will be part of the four-person transition team during the search for the next head of baseball operations ... so why not her? In her 21st year with the Sox, Ferreira is only the third woman to hold a Senior VP title in a big-league baseball ops department, so her experience isn’t in question. Whether that experience will be enough to give her a chance to land the top job remains to be seen.
Up and comers
Matt Arnold, Brewers senior VP and assistant general manager
Arnold is in his fourth season with Milwaukee, joining the Brewers after a nine-year run with the Rays. Arnold, who worked for the Dodgers, Rangers and Reds prior to his stint in Tampa Bay, has been connected with other GM vacancies in the past (including the Giants last year), so it would be no surprise if the Red Sox gave him a look.
Chaim Bloom, Rays senior VP, baseball operations
Bloom has earned a sparkling reputation during his 15-year run with the Rays, joining forces with Erik Neander to create one of the more impressive front-office duos in the game. Bloom has been a candidate for other GM jobs in recent years, including the Phillies, Twins and Mets, and it seems like just a matter of time before he receives an opportunity to run his own ship. Bloom doesn’t seem to fall into a “new school” or “old school” mentality, instead blending it all into a well-rounded philosophy of team-building.
Scott Sharp, Royals VP and assistant general manager
A 13-year veteran of the Royals front office, Sharp has been one of Dayton Moore’s assistant GMs for the past two seasons. A well-respected executive with a background in scouting and player development, Sharp’s name has surfaced in other GM searches. Sharp helped build the core of players that helped Kansas City end its 30-year championship drought, so he figures to draw attention from clubs looking for a new leader in baseball operations.
The long shots
J.P. Ricciardi, Giants special advisor to the president of baseball operations
The Red Sox tried to hire Ricciardi after the 2002 season, but he opted to remain in Toronto as Blue Jays GM instead. He remained with the Jays until the end of the 2009 season, and after a one-year stint as a TV analyst, Ricciardi joined the Mets as a special assistant to GM Sandy Alderson. These days, Ricciardi fills the same type of role for Farhan Zaidi in San Francisco, and while he knows he’ll be connected to the Red Sox any time there’s an opening, could this be the time for the union to finally happen?
Mike Chernoff, Indians general manager
Chernoff is considered one of the brightest young executives in the game, but it seems unlikely that he would leave his current situation in Cleveland, where he’s worked since 2003. Chernoff declined to interview with the Mets last year despite growing up in nearby New Jersey, reportedly signing an extension with the Indians at the time.
Theo Epstein, Cubs president, baseball operations
Epstein has two years remaining on his contract with the Cubs, which would be the first obstacle toward a possible reunion. The second -- and potentially bigger one -- is whether Epstein would even entertain the idea of going home again. He won two titles in Boston before leaving for Chicago and breaking another celebrated curse. Could Epstein be lured back to Fenway Park?
Billy Beane, Athletics executive VP, baseball operations
Might Red Sox ownership be tempted to bring Beane to Boston 17 years after he rebuffed them? Beane continues to oversee an Athletics team that seems to contend more than people think it will, leading some to wonder what he might be able to do with a large-market club. Beane appears content in his current role -- he also owns a piece of both the Athletics and an English soccer club -- and would seems to be an unlikely candidate; but at the age of 57, would this be the type of challenge to make him consider it?
A previous version of this story included Brandon Taubman, who was dismissed from his role as Astros assistant general manager following inappropriate clubhouse comments.
Mark Feinsand, an executive reporter, originally joined MLB.com as a reporter in 2001.