In case you missed the news, the Red Sox hired former Detroit Tigers Head of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski last night and finally made the decision to fire Ben Cherington. Well, they didn't technically fire him. The team announced that he would be "stepping down." Regardless, the guy we have wanted gone for months is out of the picture and the best possible replacement is getting ready to build a winner. Dombrowski is known for making big moves and for not being afraid to blowup a roster, so don't be surprised if we see a few major moves before next season. Here are the three major decisions that Dave Dombrowski needs to make before the offseason.
1. Do Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval have any part of the team's future plans?
If you ask me, and most of the Red Sox fanbase, this one is an easy no. When Ben Cherington was still running the team, it was very clear that the team's ownership group had a heavy hand in a lot of the decisions that were made. The signing of Hanley and Sandoval appear to be a perfect example of that.
Both of those guys are extremely marketable players, as Hanley is a former Red Sox prospect and MVP contender, while Sandoval has always been a likable guy and is known as "Panda." The ownership thought about their owns desires over the betterment of the baseball team, and that is a big part of why we are where we are with the 2015 Red Sox.
Hanley has proven that his horrific defense in the field cannot be made up for with his bat at this point in his career, meaning the only way he should see his name in the lineup is at the DH spot. That's not going to happen as long as David Ortiz is still swinging it well, and he certainly is. Sandoval is out of shape and not the big-money player the Red Sox are paying him to be. If the Red Sox want to get out of this mess, Hanley and Sandoval have to go.
2. Decide which ace the team will target in free agency.
If you remember this past offseason, you likely followed the Red Sox pursuit of free agent pitcher Jon Lester. The Red Sox clearly needed pitching, as Clay Buchholz was the set to be the team's "ace," but refused to match the Chicago Cubs very reasonable offer to the left-handed pitcher. They then turned around and essentially paid an unproven ground ball pitcher the same money that Lester received.
We will likely see part two of the Red Sox pursuit of an ace come free agency, and it is important for the new regime to figure out who that guy will be. David Price and Johnny Cueto are a couple of names who will be available, and Price has a history with Dombrowski, as they were both together in Detroit earlier this year.
The Red Sox have a lot of issues to sort out before the start of the 2016 season, and fixing the pitching staff is high on that list. The front office needs to identify who they think the team's ace should be, and they need to go all out to bring him to Boston.
3. Fire John Farrell.
This is a difficult topic to discuss, as John Farrell is currently away from the team battling cancer. I'll keep it brief, because it is a pretty cut-and-dried issue. We have all seen the managing errors by Farrell over the last two seasons as the team stumbles to its second straight last place finish. He consistently leaves pitchers on the mound for one inning to long, costing the Red Sox games on many occasions. He does not seem to have control of the guys in the clubhouse, and with a new core of players coming up, the Red Sox should look to hire a new manager to lead the young guys.
By Jacob Young, @DeflateThis