Who will lead the Red Sox next? Here are some candidates

September 16th, 2023

TORONTO -- Now that the Chaim Bloom era is over in Boston, the Red Sox are ready to embark on finding their next leader of baseball operations.

Though Alex Cora has been named as a candidate by some publications, Boston’s manager, who has 6-year-old twin boys, downplayed that speculation Friday.

“I think it's too soon. Honestly, I'm here to manage the team, right? I’m 48 next month and I feel very comfortable with what I’m doing,” Cora said. “I haven’t talked to [chairman] Tom [Werner] and [owner] John [Henry] at length about what is going to happen here.

“I think this is a place that is a special place, and we’re going to do some special things in the future, and I just want to be part of that. I think right now, where I'm at, where we’re at as a family, it’s too soon to start talking about [a move to the front office].”

Here are some potential candidates who could draw the attention of the Red Sox.

James Click
How often can you make a run at someone who won a World Series as a general manager less than a year ago? It is essentially unheard of for a candidate like that to be available, but so it is with Click, who parted ways with the Astros shortly after the championship celebration due to strife with ownership. That could now become Boston’s gain. This season, Click is serving as vice president of baseball strategy with the Blue Jays.

Click started his career as an intern with the Rays in 2005 (on the recommendation of Bloom). He was with Tampa Bay’s cutting-edge front office until ‘20, when the Astros hired him to be their GM. Obviously, Click has an analytical bent. Might the Red Sox think he is too similar to Bloom? That would seem to be the only impediment for Click becoming a strong candidate for the job.

Mike Hazen
That name sound familiar? It should. Hazen, the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, was a fixture in the Red Sox’s front office for more than a decade. He also has local ties, growing up in Abington, Mass. Hazen’s experience in the game has been broad. With Boston, he started as farm director in 2006 and moved up to vice president of player development and amateur scouting by ‘11. When Ben Cherington became Boston’s GM in ‘12, Hazen was immediately elevated to assistant GM. He was the team’s general manager for roughly three weeks under Dave Dombrowski before taking that position with far greater responsibilities in Arizona.

Red Sox ownership and front office members who remain have strong relationships with Hazen, which could make his hiring a seamless one. However, Hazen has one year left on his contract in Arizona, and the great unknown is if he’d like to come back to Boston or would rather stay with the D-backs should they offer him an extension. Arizona’s ownership would have to give its blessing to Hazen going back to the Red Sox, and it could include an ask for compensation from Boston.

Amiel Sawdaye
If not Hazen, then why not his long-time assistant Sawdaye, who also cut his teeth with the Red Sox? Sawdaye, as director of amateur scouting, ran the Draft room for Boston from 2011-14. Some of the players the Red Sox drafted in that time? Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Matt Barnes. Sawdaye, who is also involved on the international side of things in Arizona (as he was in Boston), was with the Red Sox from ‘02-16.

Chris Antonetti
Would the man who was named Executive of the Year in MLB last season contemplate leaving Cleveland? If so, he would instantly jump to the top or near the top of Boston’s wish list. Antonetti has made the Guardians highly competitive through most of his run leading the front office despite a limited payroll. While Antonetti has been hesitant to leave Cleveland in the past when teams have shown interest, the fact that Terry Francona is likely to step down as manager could make this a time to make a clean break. Antonetti has been working in front offices since breaking in with the Montreal Expos in 1998. He is creative and personable, and he has every qualification the Red Sox are looking for.

Eddie Romero
If the Red Sox decide to go with an internal candidate, Romero would be the likely choice. Boston’s assistant GM has been with the club since 2006, and he was a key player in the regimes run by Theo Epstein, Cherington, Dombrowski and Bloom. Romero’s speciality is international scouting. He has helped the Red Sox sign Rafael Devers, Ceddanne Rafaela and Brayan Bello, among many others. Romero is part of the team handling interim GM duties until the Sox find a successor for Bloom.

“Honestly, out of respect for Chaim and everything that happened [Thursday], I’d rather not talk about GMs and candidates,” said Cora. “But this kid, he’s been in the organization for a lot of years. He knows the game. Obviously educated, well-prepared, and [he] has been surrounded by quality people. He’s a good baseball man.”

Sam Fuld
In the fall of 2020, Fuld came in second to Cora in the competition to become the manager of the Red Sox. At the time, Cora was coming off a suspension, and he had parted ways with the Red Sox for a year due to his role in the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal. Fuld made a good impression during that interview, but he has moved on to become a successful executive, serving as the GM under Dombrowski in Philadelphia. He is a New Hampshire native who grew up rooting for the Red Sox. The former Major League outfielder, who has an economics degree from Stanford, has become highly educated on the analytical side of the game.

Jon Daniels
Daniels got the job leading the Rangers front office in 2005 at the age of 28 years and 41 days, making him the youngest GM in MLB history. Under his regime, which lasted until August ‘22, the Rangers made it to the World Series in back-to-back seasons in ‘10-11. He is still youthful at 46, but he is enjoying his role as senior advisor with the Rays. It is unclear if Daniels is eager to jump back into the fray full-time.

Brandon Gomes
The former reliever is the general manager for one of the most well-oiled front offices in the game -- the Los Angeles Dodgers. Working directly under Andrew Friedman, Gomes has advanced swiftly as a coveted executive. Gomes is from Fall River, Mass., which would make the Boston job particularly appealing to him. The 39-year-old Gomes, who is adept at all facets of the front office, is thought to be a rising star.