John Henry and Tom Werner were disappointed, but understood Ben Cherington's decision. (WEEI.com)

John Henry, Dave Dombrowski wanted Ben Cherington to stay, but knew 'substantial risk' he wouldn't

Ryan Hannable
August 19, 2015 - 12:51 pm
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On Aug. 4 when the Tigers and Dave Dombrowski parted ways, John Henry and Tom Werner had interest in him, but they knew there would be some risk involved. After all, general manager Ben Cherington had been with the Red Sox for the last four years as general manager and 17 years as a full-time member of the organization after two as an intern. But, that was a risk they were willing to take. "Over the summer there's been much discussion about strengthening baseball organization internally," Henry said during the press conference introducing Dombrowski in a prepared statement. "On Aug. 4 when the Tigers announced a shakeup of Dave leaving, I spoke to Tom [Werner] and Ben [Cherington] about having a conversation of Dave. Tom and I wanted to see if there was a fit for Dave within the Red Sox organization. Ben did not object. Would our philosophies coincide in the present day? "Tom, Mike Gordon and I subsequently met with Dave on Aug. 13 at the Chicago owners meeting and had a long discussion about the future, about baseball philosophy and whether or not there was a fit. We all left there thinking he would substantially strengthen the organization with Dave as president of baseball. We realized that our baseball views were in fact indeed the same, that Dave intends to balance scouting, data analytics, player makeup and all the tools in his toolbox. We hoped that Ben Cherington would remain as general manager, but we knew there was a substantial risk he would not. This was our decision to make. "Tom and I have an obligation to do everything we possibly can to win for this city of Boston and Red Sox fans everywhere. As owners we're ultimately responsible for the poor results we've had over the past two years and for results going forward." Cherington ultimately decided against staying with the organization, saying he couldn't be "all in." The former general manager said he didn't hear about the organization speaking to Dombrowski until last Saturday, not Aug. 4 like Henry had stated. "John [Henry] and I, we're disappointed with his decision, but respect it," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said. "We think the world of Ben. As we've said, he was the chief architect of our success in 2013 and has built a strong nucleus going forward. He's been in the organization for 18 years and we're disappointed, but respectful of his decision." Dombrowski also said he wished Cherington would have stayed, but also made clear he would be the person having the final say in decisions. "When I was hired and talked, it was a situation where John and Tom had asked me of my thoughts of Ben and I said I would love to have Ben want to remain. I think it's important to know in the transition that me coming in as the president of baseball operations, is that the final decisions when it comes to trades or the personnel aspects need to fall into my hands. "Now, of course you're not going to be in a position that you go out and sign a free agent player of large dollars, we will work very closely together on those things and remain a collective decision. As far as the day-to-day decision in that regard and I had hoped Ben would stay because I have known Ben for a long time. I have respect for him. They left that decision up to me. "I really felt that way. I thought very highly of him and would loved to have had him on board, but he ultimately felt that it was in the best interest of the Red Sox and everyone else involved to move on. Tremendous professional respect for him."