The biggest news of the 2015 season came out Saturday night and was confirmed Sunday -- Larry Lucchino is stepping down as president and CEO of the Red Sox.
"I believe the end of this year is a good time for this change," Lucchino wrote in a statement. "We would have preferred to announce all of our transition plans at once, including my new role, but I can tell you we all feel strongly that Sam Kennedy, who has been with me for 20 years, should be the next President of the Boston Red Sox. Sam will do a terrific job. He is able, well-prepared, and fiercely dedicated to the Red Sox and to Boston."
Lucchino spent 14 seasons with the Red Sox and has won three World Series titles during that time. The near 70-year-old won't just be remembered for those titles, but also the improvements he made in and around Fenway Park.
“He’s clearly been a main player in an unprecedented run of success here in Boston,” manager John Farrell said. “That will carry on not just in World Series trophies, but tangible things here with additions to Fenway and the renovation plans and programs that this ballpark went through. Still, the thing that will stand out most is the interactions that you had with him frequently whether it’s here at home, during spring training and just a driving force behind being the best that we could be.”
The biggest question now is how this will affect the baseball decisions. It's clear Lucchino had a major impact in them and it's being reported Kennedy will not have any say in those decisions, as he isn't a baseball guy and more of a sales guy.
This could give baseball operations, led by general manager Ben Cherington, more say in the moves the team makes. Lucchino was the main person who vouched for Bobby Valentine to replace Terry Francona as manager and it's been rumored Lucchino was the one who prohibited the Red Sox and Jon Lester coming to a new contract extension during spring training last year.
It would seem the Red Sox will be major players in the free agent market this coming offseason, as they will be looking for one or two front of the rotation starters. It will be interesting to see how Lucchino’s absence affects the way the organization approaches free agents and willingness to sign pitchers over 30 years old.
Regardless of how Lucchino has been perceived, it’s undeniable the lasting impact he will have on the franchise. Three World Series titles and all the improvements made at Fenway Park will never be forgotten and likely would not have happened without Lucchino.