Olney: Why nobody might want to be Boston's GM

Team president Sam Kennedy, manager Alex Cora, owner John Henry and former head of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski in happier times. Greg M. Cooper/USA Today Sports

CLEVELAND -- Ben Cherington followed Theo Epstein as general manager of the Boston Red Sox after the 2011 season, and over the next three years, the team fostered what might have been the best farm system in baseball. Matt Barnes, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, all developed effectively, with infielder Xander Bogaerts just ahead of them.

Meanwhile, at the big league level, a series of short-term free-agent signings paid off, and the Red Sox won the 2013 World Series. For all of that success, Cherington was demoted in the summer of 2015 -- effectively fired as the head of baseball operations.

His replacement was Dave Dombrowski, who did the bidding of ownership and worked aggressively to augment the team, using assets from Cherington's fertile farm system and the team's substantial financial resources and adding Chris Sale, Craig Kimbrel, David Price and others. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018, after 119 wins and arguably the greatest performance in franchise history. And less than a year later, Dombrowski was fired.

Two World Series titles in six years, and two executives -- with two very different personalities, operating very differently -- both dismissed. These decisions loosely frame the industry perception of the Red Sox as a chaotic company, a miserable place to work. Boston owner John Henry needs to understand this, because it is why some of the people he'd probably love to consider as possible replacements for Dombrowski privately dismiss the idea out of hand.

They saw what happened to Cherington. They saw what happened to Dombrowski.