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Red Sox lose possible GM option as Diamondbacks reportedly extend Mike Hazen

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The search for the next Red Sox general manager is still in its infancy after the surprising firing of Dave Dombrowski, but one notable option just got taken off the table.

The Arizona Diamondbacks have announced a contract extension for general manager Mike Hazen, Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed, though the extension will be reportedly added to the two years Hazen already had.

The 43-year-old Hazen was previously thought to be a natural possibility for the Red Sox GM search because of his past with the team.

Worked under 3 World Series-winning executives

Hazen was actually the Red Sox general manager already under Dombrowski, who held the higher position of president of baseball operations. Before his elevation to GM, Hazen had worked in the team’s front office under Theo Epstein and Ben Cherington.

The Diamondbacks hired Hazen away as their own general manager following the 2016 season, essentially promoting him since there was no decision-maker above him in the baseball ops department.

PHOENIX, AZ - OCTOBER 17: Arizona Diamondbacks General Manager, Mike Hazen, addresses the media during a press conference in regards to his new position on October 17, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)
Mike Hazen has done a solid job in three years with the Diamondbacks. (Photo by Sarah Sachs/Arizona Diamondbacks/Getty Images)

Since Hazen’s hiring, the D’backs have gone 250-221 with a wild card berth in 2017 and no losing seasons in three years. Meanwhile, the team’s farm system has improved from MLB’s No. 28 farm system according to Baseball America to No. 16 now.

The Dodgers (19.5 games ahead of the D’backs this year with the No. 5 farm) are still a problem, but it’s easy to see why Hazen might want to stick with what he’s built.

Per the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, the extension came early enough that the Red Sox hadn’t even requested permission to speak with Hazen, a Massachusetts native.

Hazen not the only option for Red Sox search

Another well-regarded executive with Red Sox ties got a boost on Wednesday, as the Cubs announced Jason McLeod had been promoted to senior vice president of player personnel.

McLeod goes all the way back to the Epstein years in the Red Sox front office, when he served as a scout from 2003-09. He also previously worked as assistant general manager of the San Diego Padres for two seasons.

Per The Athletic, McLeod didn’t deny he would listen if the Red Sox came calling about their top job.

Of course, it’s hard to say what the Red Sox want at this juncture. They just fired a general manager less than a year after he won them the World Series, which carries curious implications both for what they want in the future and the level of pressure Dombrowski’s successor will be facing.

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