BOSTON -- Dave Dombrowski didn't have to go far in his search for a new general manager. As it turned out, his man was already in the office.
Dombrowski stayed in-house by hiring Mike Hazen as general manager of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. The promotion of Hazen from assistant GM is the first big move by Dombrowski since he took over as president of baseball operations in August and tries to rebuild a team that went from World Series champion to the AL East cellar, with a second straight last-place finish well on its way.
Hazen has been with Boston since 2006.
"He's been interviewing every day since I've been here, per se,'' Dombrowski said at a news conference at Fenway Park before the Red Sox faced the Tampa Bay Rays.
"I've been very impressed with Mike since I've been here.''
Dombrowski said he had a list of "about 30 names,'' but, in the end, decided it was best to hire from within.
"For me, what it came down to is the experience that he's had at the major league level, and he's part of the organization,'' he said. "You promote from within when you have good people.''
Hazen, 39, replaces Ben Cherington, who built the 2013 World Series champions but had the Red Sox headed for last place for the second year in a row. Cherington decided not to stay on when Dombrowski was brought in above him in August.
Hazen said Cherington backed his decision to go after the position.
"Nobody five weeks ago was proud of where we were,'' said Hazen, seated next to Dombrowski. "We aren't today. It's hard to see one of your good friends that poured his soul into this job, what happened. When we sign up for this line of work, we realize what the ramifications can be when the product on the field isn't what it needs to be.
"You don't think about (the opening) right away,'' he said. "As time went, Ben was really one of my largest supporters in this, and I appreciate that a lot.''
Hazen, a Massachusetts native, is the sixth Red Sox GM in a row with New England roots. He grew up a Red Sox fan, arguing with his dad "who was better between (Jim) Rice and (Dwight) Evans.
"Coming here to Fenway Park and watching Wade Boggs, Marty Barrett and Bruce Hurst -- memories that I take here in this job," Hazen said.
"Mike's leadership, work ethic and passion for the game are second to none,'' said Sam Kennedy, who is scheduled to take over as Red Sox president after the season, replacing the retiring Larry Lucchino. "His experience, combined with his local roots, make him the perfect choice to work alongside Dave as we head into 2016."
A two-time All-Ivy League outfielder at Princeton, Hazen was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 31st round of the 1998 draft. He played two seasons in the minor leagues before joining the Cleveland front office. After five years with the Indians, he was hired by the Red Sox as director of player development in 2006 and spent a decade in the front office.
He was promoted to assistant GM in 2012. Being just down the hall from Dombrowski helped him become Boston's new GM.
"I had the opportunity to get to know Mike over the last month,'' Dombrowski said. "I really didn't know him before that. It was a situation where I was impressed with him."