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Potential Red Sox GM candidates to replace Theo Epstein

10.12.11 at 12:26 pm ET

With Dennis & Callahan breaking the news Wednesday that Theo Epstein has finalized a deal with the Cubs, the question arises as to who will replace the Red Sox general manager.

Epstein has had the most successful run of any Boston GM, guiding the team to two World Series in his nine years with the team. He was the youngest GM in the history of baseball when the Red Sox hired him at the age of 28 at the end of 2002. Epstein famously resigned after the 2005 season but was rehired in January of 2006. While Epstein will be remembered for the World Series victories in 2004 and 2007, he also will forever be linked to the Red Sox’ 2011 collapse.

There are a number of potential candidates to replace Epstein from both within and outside the organization. Here is a look at some of those possibilities.

Ben Cherington ‘€” Seemingly the heir apparent to Epstein, Cherington has been part of the Red Sox organization since 1998, when then-GM Dan Duquette brough Cherington into the fold. Cherington has served in a number of positions, including both amateur scout and international scout, before he was raised to assistant director of player development in 2002 when Epstein became GM. During Epstein’s brief hiatus in 2005, Cherington served as co-GM before being becoming vice president of player personnel upon Epstein’s return. Cherington was made assistant GM in 2009, where he gained experience in contract negotiations at the highest level. If Epstein does indeed go to Chicago, Cherington is widely considered to be the most obvious replacement. For a more thorough look at Cherington’s professional development, read Alex Speier‘s story.

Allard Baird ‘€” Another internal option for Boston, Baird is VP of player personnel and professional scouting. Baird joined Boston in 2006, when he was initially hired as assistant to the general manager. Before his time with the Red Sox, Baird was general manager of the Royals between 2000-06.

Jed Hoyer ‘€” Hoyer has been the executive VP and general manager of the Padres since October of 2009. Before that, Hoyer spent eight years with the Red Sox, serving first as assistant to the general manager before being named assistant GM in 2005. Hoyer joined Epstein in a visit to Curt Schilling‘s Arizona home in 2003 to persuade the pitcher to join Boston.

Josh Byrnes ‘€” Currently the VP of baseball operations for the Padres, Byrnes also has connections to the Red Sox front office. He served as assistant GM for the Red Sox under Epstein until 2005, when Byrnes was hired as GM of the Diamondbacks. Byrnes was fired from that position in 2010 after Arizona finished last in the NL West and was subsequently hired by the Padres to his current position.

J.P. Ricciardi ‘€” An executive with experience as a GM, Ricciardi was senior VP of baseball operations and GM of the Blue Jays from 2001-09. Before that, Ricciardi was a member of Billy Beane‘s front office in Oakland as director of player personnel between 1997-2001. Ricciardi currently serves as special assistant to Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

Gerry Hunsicker ‘€” Hunsicker has overseen two teams go to the World Series in his career. As senior VP of baseball operations for the Rays since 2005, Hunsicker is part of the front office that turned the team around, and he was there when Tampa went to the World Series in 2008. Before his stint with the Rays, Hunsicker was GM of the Astros between 1996-2004, a span during which Houston won the NL Central four times. Hunsicker moved to adviser to the Astros in the 2005 season, the year that Houston went to the World Series.

Andrew Friedman ‘€” One of the driving forces behind the revitalized Rays, Friedman is the executive VP of baseball operations and GM of the Rays, a position he has held since he was promoted in 2005 at just 28 years old. Friedman was named Sporting News Executive of the Year in 2008, the youngest to ever win the award in its 72-year history. After not reaching more than 70 wins in its first 10 years as a franchise, Tampa Bay has averaged 92 wins over its last four years.

Damon Oppenheimer ‘€” It seems unlikely that the Red Sox would be able to poach the Yankees front office, but stranger things have happened. New York’s scouting director since 2005, Oppenheimer also has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the openings with the Orioles and Angels, although there also is speculation he is being groomed to eventually succeed Brian Cashman as Yankees GM.

Thad Levine ‘€” Levine has been assistant GM of the Rangers since 2005. Before that, Levine worked for the Rockies between 1999-2005, when Levine served as assistant director, then director, then senior director for Colorado. The Rangers have been one of the most successful franchises in recent years, reaching the World Series last season before winning 97 games this year. They take a 2-1 lead over the Tigers into Wednesday’s Game 4 of the American League Championship Series.

Bill Geivett ‘€” Geivett has been senior VP of scouting and player development and assistant GM for the Rockies since January of this year. Before that, Geivett was the director of player personnel for Colorado from 2000-10. He also was named farm director in 2003, and the Rockies subsequently produced the Minor League Player of the Year (Jeff Francis) and Minor League Rolaids Relief Man (Ryan Speier) in 2004.

David Forst ‘€” Another Billy Beane associate, Forst has been assistant GM of the Athletics for the past six years. Before that, the Harvard grad served as assistant to the GM and coordinator of professional scouting for Oakland.

Kim Ng ‘€” The Red Sox front office would make quite a splash by hiring the first female GM. Ng interviewed for openings the past few years with the Dodgers, Mariners and Padres. In March, she left the Dodgers after a decade as assistant GM to take a job as senior VP of baseball operations with Major League Baseball under former Dodgers manager Joe Torre.

Jason McLeod ‘€” Currently the VP and assistant GM of the Padres, McLeod is the man who helped draft Dustin Pedroia for the Red Sox when he worked for Boston as director of amateur scouting between 2004-09. Before coming to the Red Sox, McLeod worked for San Diego in a number of capacities, starting out as an intern in the front office in 1994 before being hired as an assistant in the baseball operations department. McLeod then coached in the minors for three years before he returned to the Padres front office as assistant director of scouting and player development.

Billy Beane ‘€” Currently the GM of the Athletics, Beane, of course, is known as the man who changed baseball scouting using Sabermetrics to determine a player’s value. Using these methods, Beane managed to put together a competitive roster while keeping Oakland’s payroll as one of the lowest in the league. Between 2000-06, the Athletics never finished worse than second in the AL West, averaging just over 94 wins in those seasons. But Oakland has not had a winning season since that 2006 season. Beane was nearly hired by Boston as GM back in 2002, but Beane decided that he wanted to stay with his family in Oakland. Boston would go on to hire an up-and-comer by the name of Theo Epstein instead.

Read More: allard baird, Andrew Friedman, ben cherington, Billy Beane
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