When the Boston Red Sox dismissed GM Chaim Bloom, who attempted to remake Boston's roster in the Dodgers' image and failed from the start, minimizing the return in a mandated Mookie Betts trade, Arizona Diamondbacks head man Mike Hazen seemed like the most fearsomely logical candidate to replace him.
The one stumbling block, of course, was that Hazen wasn't technically available, and might not be able to hop to Boston without a promotion to President of Baseball Operations.
Yankees fans certainly feared that simple transaction, which could've placed Hazen in charge of the organization where he developed his leadership skills. From 2015-16, Hazen was a Senior VP under Ben Cherington, departing Beantown for the Desert and taking the mantle of chief baseball executive in Phoenix at the end of the 2016 season.
His tenure has been successful for the small-market Snakes. Despite only doling out one semi-sizable free agent contract (Madison Bumgarner???), Hazen has remade the team's farm system in sustainable fashion. Corbin Carroll should run away with Rookie of the Year honors this season for the Wild Card-winning D-Backs, with Jordan Lawlar and Druw Jones behind him. Credit to the scouts, and credit to the pick position, but Hazen and Co. haven't chosen wrong atop the draft in quite a while -- and also worked to lock up Carroll prior to his ROY season long-term.
Add in the correct identification of Daulton Varsho as his ideal outfield sale candidate last offseason (nabbed Gabriel Moreno and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for his troubles, too), and it's clear Hazen has Arizona on the trajectory Bloom dreamed of in Boston. The farm system has become a talent pipeline. Shrewd trades have fleshed out the lineup with powerful bats. Zac Gallens don't grow on trees ... so Hazen gave to get, sending Jazz Chisholm to Miami and allowing both parties to reap the benefits. Need a starter? Merrill Kelly's sitting over in Asia, of course! Did anyone else believe in Evan Longoria as a galvanizing veteran?
Hazen has been proactive, not reactive, but those are the risks you have to take when you're in a division with the actual Dodgers. And that is why he was extended through 2028 on Wednesday afternoon in the wake of his team's Game 1 victory. Now, Boston will have to look elsewhere, and Yankees fans dreaming of a chief executive with instincts will just have to hope Brian Cashman gets audited back into relevance.
Diamondbacks will keep Red Sox target, Yankees dream Mike Hazen
Boston will now have to zero in their focus on their preferred candidates below the GM level who will be able to bolt if they're offered head honcho duties. Brandon Gomes of the Dodgers and Sam Fuld of the Phillies seem like capable executives in winning environments (with Massachusetts ties) and logical options. James Click, who helped build the Astros, but was apparently despised by Jim Crane, is still seeking employment, too.
But, at least whoever the Sox choose will not be someone in charge of a current playoff team and a sleeping giant in the National League. At least, while the Yankees window shop, fans can be content that one excellent option is off the table, and won't be considering a devastating pivot.