With their next interview, the Padres went back to a familiar source: the Boston Red Sox. The last time the Padres interviewed for GM candidates it was 2009 and they chose Red Sox Assistant GM Jed Hoyer. Now in 2014 they have interviewed Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen. The organization has shifted since the Padres made that 2009 hire. The Red Sox promoted from within to fill their open GM position in 2011 and selected Ben Cherington. Shortly thereafter Cherington moved up Hazen from Vice President of Player Development and Amateur Scouting to Vice President and Assistant GM. Hazen had only recently been promoted to even that position as earlier in the year he was bumped up from Director of Player Development.
Scouting and player development seems to be a repeating theme among the interviewees for the open GM position and Hazen follows that trend. Here is what Baseball Prospectus said about him in a recent article about future GMs:
Current Role: Assistant General Manager (Red Sox)
Skill set: Hazen has come up through the baseball ranks with a heavy focus in player development. Prior to his current role, he served as Boston’s Director of Player Development, overseeing much of the young talent that has either appeared on the big club’s roster or used as chits in recent deals. In addition to Hazen’s eye for talent, he’s had vast experience coordinating, delegating, and relying on his eyes in the field to make key organizational decisions—much like a general manager does on a large scale. The Princeton grad has spent the past two seasons learning the business side of things, which helps round out his body of work and his qualifications for getting a shot as an organization’s leading man.
There are a fair number of glowing recommendations for Hazen, so you can tell people are enamored by him. I just want to present some thoughts to the contrary though when it comes to player development. The Red Sox have had a good farm system for years, but if you want to look at major league results things are quite puzzling at the moment. Right now you are looking at a team with home grown guys like Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks, Felix Doubront and Daniel Nava all struggling. Some of these players have shown flashes in previous seasons (as fellow farm system product Brock Holt is doing this year), but it brings up some questions about process that a future employer would like to hear some answers for. Given that the Padres have had some good farm system rankings with not a lot of results it is something that you would not like to continue under new management.
To be fair, the current crop of prospects are not the first to make it to the majors on Hazen's watch. During his time as Director of Player Development players such as Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and Jacoby Ellsbury made their debuts. And after being promoted to his current position the team did win a World Series with a number of home grown players helping the cause. It just so happens that the timing of this interview comes at a curious point for the Red Sox player development.