The Boston Red Sox are undoubtedly going to land a smart baseball mind as they scour the ranks to fill their vacant GM role. Don't let the fact that name after name after name after name after name after name -- most of them number twos seeking promotions! -- are turning them down over instability fears or familial concerns cloud your judgment.
When the dust settles, Boston won't be hiring a bumbler. It could be Kim Ng, fresh off a heaping helping of disrespect in Miami. It could be Thad Levine of the Twins (and, given the choice, backing Boston to hire the white guy named Thad is always the safer bet). But one person it will not be is former Astros architect James Click, who became the latest to reject John Henry on Wednesday.
Click crafted the 2022 World Series champion Houston Astros after taking Jeff Luhnow's handiwork to the next level, partnering with Dusty Baker in a successful attempt to transcend America's hatred and channel it into the production of a Win Machine. It worked ... and then, for whatever reason, Click clashed with team owner Jim Crane. He found himself out of a job just a few weeks after bringing his 'Stros past the finish line.
What was the squabble? Was it "analytics vs. old-school"? Was it an old-fashioned power struggle? Whatever the case, Click's and Crane's ideologies coexisted perfectly, until they didn't, leaving a highly successful executive up for grabs.
In 2023, Click was buried in an advisory role somewhere within the Blue Jays' front office (wonder what his thoughts on the Daulton Varsho trade were). Is he ready, willing and able to receive a promotion in 2024 to return another recent AL power to glory? Eh. Maybe. But not in Boston; he turned Sox leadership down this week due to "family considerations." And, may I say ... phew.
Red Sox GM Search: Yankees nightmare James Click is out
Click and Chaim Bloom worked together with the Rays (of course they did). Click and Bloom worked together at Baseball Prospectus. Click and Bloom both attended Yale. Click is basically Bloom with a killer instinct.
But ... those damned family considerations. It would seem, from an outsider's perspective, that Click and his family weren't too keen on moving to Boston, being screamed at by thousands of fans daily for three years, then being dismissed after three years, regardless of results. Wonder if his old friend Bloom reached out for an off-the-record consultation at some point.
Currently and candidly, Levine and Ng seem to be the most likely to take the throne, but other names like former Pirates GM Neal Huntington and several internal candidates (assistant GM Mike Groopman, scouting VP Paul Toboni) are also in the running.
The Sox going internal seems like the best-case scenario (for people who'd like to see them fold in on themselves like a tent without poles). After all, whatever this group tried to put together from 2020-2023 resulted in a flukey run that came up short and three of the funniest seasons in Boston baseball history. Even internal candidates, like Raquel Ferreira, are ducking out of the running, citing similar familial concerns. "Ok, ok, fine, we'll go lower on the org chart" is likely the external dream, at this point.
But, again, the most likely outcome is that Boston thumbs someone smart, despite the entire search going haywire 35 different times (Brandon Gomes of the Dodgers and Sam Fuld of the Phillies both turned the Sox down while this column was being written). After all, this organization trips ass-backwards into success every single time things appear to be at their bleakest. They'll probably do it again. But they won't be doing it with Click's Astros-flavored efficiency. And that's a pretty big win.