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Report: Sox to go with two-headed GM12/09/2005 5:10 PM ET
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
BOSTON -- The Red Sox might soon have a resolution to their ongoing search for a general manager, and it is one that would provide stability to the organization through the rest of the offseason.
According to a report in Friday's Boston Herald, the Red Sox are expected to "announce a restructuring of the baseball operations staff in which Ben Cherington and Jed Hoyer will share responsibilities as general manager."
The report indicated that the announcement would occur "within the next several days," stated that Hoyer and Cherington would head the front office throughout the 2006 season and the club would probably re-evaluate things from there.
Hoyer and Cherington have taken on increasingly important roles since Theo Epstein decided not to return as general manager on Oct. 31.
For the last few weeks, the baseball operations staff has worked as a group, with baseball veteran Bill Lajoie serving as the point man in a group that has also included Hoyer, Cherington, Craig Shipley and senior advisor Jeremy Kapstein.
Under this setup, the Red Sox have had a productive offseason, making a blockbuster trade for Josh Beckett, landing second baseman Mark Loretta in another deal and sending Edgar Renteria to Atlanta for Andy Marte, who is regarded as one of the best prospects in the game.
If the report in the Herald is accurate, this same group would be able to proceed along with plans that have been in motion for weeks and not have to regroup with a new general manager in place.
For instance, the Red Sox have already had several trade talks with teams involving superstar slugger Manny Ramirez and left-hander David Wells, both of whom have stated a preference to be dealt.
The Red Sox are also in the midst of negotiations with free agent center fielder Johnny Damon.
Lajoie, prior to leaving the Winter Meetings on Thursday, noted how much he enjoyed working with this group and sounded as if he was hoping for a setup in which he could stay and continue to mentor the executives he's been working so closely with over the last few weeks.
While Lajoie, 71, would certainly be qualified to serve as the general manager, he said that he preferred that club president/CEO Larry Lucchino give the job to someone else. Lajoie also noted that he wasn't interested in being an interim general manager.
"I feel, not an obligation, but I like the people in Boston and I would like to continue to be around them in some capacity, because they are all aspiring young men, and they went to meetings with us and learned things -- not that they needed to learn -- but they learned different GM styles," said Lajoie.
If such a restructuring is announced, Lajoie will likely take on a key role as an advisor, which he has essentially done since Epstein hired him three years ago.
Cherington's strong suit is player development, as that is the department he has been in charge of for the last several seasons. However, Cherington has gained a deeper knowledge of the Major League system while working with the committee since the beginning of November.
Hoyer, who turned 32 earlier this week, knows the inner workings of Boston's baseball operations staff as well as anyone, given how closely he worked with Epstein in his role as assistant to the general manager.
Both men seem comfortable in their dealings with the media, which would certainly help in a market such as Boston.
As for external candidates, the Red Sox have interviewed Nationals GM Jim Bowden and former Orioles and Expos exec Jim Beattie multiple times. Former Dodgers GM Dan Evans, who currently works for the Mariners, was interviewed at the Winter Meetings.
Dave Wilder, the director of player development for the White Sox, needed to know his fate by Dec. 4. When things were still uncertain, it was believed that he pulled himself out of the running so he could focus on his duties with the White Sox.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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