Sam Kennedy

Sam Kennedy on M&F: 'We certainly hoped that [Ben Cherington] would have stayed,' but understand he wanted 'clean break'

August 19, 2015 - 9:46 am

Red Sox vice president/COO Sam Kennedy joined Merloni and Fauria on Wednesday as part of the Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon to talk about the Red Sox' partnership with the Jimmy Fund and Dana Farber as well as the coming changes to the organization. To hear the interview, go to the Merloni and Fauria audio on demand page. Kennedy described the opportunity to bring Dave Dombrowski into the organization as a "rare and unique" one, emphasizing how the new president of baseball operations is a "proven winner." He, along with John Henry and Tom Werner, didn't want interim manager Torey Lovullo to find out from the media, so the group went down and told him. Later, he, Lovullo and assistant general manager Mike Hazen addressed the team and told players about both Dombrowski joining the organization and Ben Cherington stepping down as general manager. Kennedy said he had hoped Cherington would stay on but understood his decision. "John and Tom and I met with Ben," he said. "We had a great conversation that was completely open and honest. And I think there was disappointment but an understanding that he didn't want to remain in the in the general manager position. We certainly hoped that he would have stayed, but we also understand that he felt it was best to make a clean break. So we've got to move on, got to focus on what's in front of us not what's behind us, and I'm really excited for what's ahead of us given the caliber of the executive that we've just added to our team." Kennedy said that Dombrowski's introduction on Wednesday afternoon again signifies that he, Henry, Werner and the entire Fenway Sports Group are committed to winning. "We are here with that central mission of playing meaningful baseball games in October, and we need to do everything in our power to strengthen that baseball operation," he said. "We've got great people here in the organization, bringing in a man of Dave's caliber with his experience. I think he came into baseball in 1978, been in the game 37 years. He is a baseball man through and through. I'm excited to work with him, I'm excited to see his style of leadership, and we're going to begin that process [Wednesday]." Dombrowski isn't necessarily an analytics type of guy, which is something the Red Sox have put a fair amount of stock into over the years. Kennedy said that though that philosophy might be relatively different, the ultimate philosophy is the same. "If you look at philosophy in baseball operation, I think you have to think about what matters at the end. What matters at the end is winning," he said. "We need to win baseball games at the major league level, year in and year out. Of course we need to build a robust farm system at every level through scouting, player development, through the draft, but Dave Dombrowski's philosophy, I can tell you from observing him from afar, is winning. He shares the same philosophy that Ben Cherington, Mike Hazen, [director, professional scouting] Jared Porter, [senior vice president/player personnel] Allard Baird, all of our guys share. "Unfortunately we haven't had that success at the major league level the last couple years, and that's been very, very disappointing. This is an opportunity to bring someone in that can help us get back to where we need to be. I think good baseball executives use all of the tools and their toolbox, whether that's data analytics, old school scouting, the eyeball test, gut instinct feel. You have to use all of those resources, and I think that we have had a reputation for using data, using analytics. I can tell you that the right mix is to use all of the tools in your toolbox to get it done, and that's what we intend on doing." Kennedy added that Dombrowski is going to have authority over all baseball matters, making him responsible for building an organization, constructing a major league roster "designed to contend each and every year." "I think he's going to probably take some time, come in, get to know the organization, get to know the great people that we have here in this organization," he said. "I look forward to being his partner in that process, looking through the the resources at all levels of the organization and figuring out how he wants to structure things. That will be his call. He'll collaborate with ownership, with me with the others."