As bundles of excited energy reverberated through the state of Massachusetts late Sunday night, a result of the New England Patriots trouncing of the Pittsburgh Steelers, one man’s office light turned off for the final time in Boston amidst the noise.
The Boston Red Sox ownership terminated their partnership with former president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski after midnight. He brought the team three consecutive division titles and a World Series championship. Now, just months after hanging another banner over the Green Monster, he is packing his bags and being shipped out of Boston.
The ownership did everything in their power to bury the story it seems. First off, the story broke just after midnight on Sunday night, when few people are awake to see it. They also did not hold a formal press conference to discuss the decision and left manager Alex Cora to deal with the onslaught the next day. Their handling of the situation was cowardly. Dombrowski and the team deserved better than this.
When I first saw this, I was pissed. I thought they were hanging him out to dry and placing unnecessary blame on him for their failed season. However, the more I read into their situation and the path of the franchise; it did not seem like the worst idea to me. In fact, it may have been the right move in the end.
Dombrowski is an acquirer, mainly of wins but also incredible talent. He traded for one of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball history, Chris Sale. He signed big name free agents, with the additions of J.D. Martinez and David Price. He brought in a fantastic manager as Alex Cora led the team to 108 wins in his first season. Cora will reportedly be back next season, according to Dan Roche of WBZ Monday.
Now that the Red Sox seem to be in a transition period for the future, he may not be the man of the job. They have a ton of decisions to make regarding this roster this off-season.
Martinez can opt-out of his 5-year deal and look for more money or a better situation elsewhere. Former MVP and absolute stud outfielder Mookie Betts will be a free agent following next season, and all signs point to him being dead set on hitting it.
There were reports from Alex Speier of The Boston Globe that they will likely not be able to retain both Betts and Martinez next season. This may be Dombrowski’s fault, as he signed multiple players to bloated contracts over the past four seasons. It is also partially ownership’s as they have been reluctant to exceed the luxury tax.
There is real potential that they may have to trade Betts this off-season, and Dombrowski may not be the best guy for that. He is not a prospect hoarder; he is a prospect expeller.
Even without Betts and Martinez, should they both walk, which I think is quite likely as they may not want to stay without each other, this team has a strong core to work off. Third baseman Rafael Devers has emerged as a force in this lineup and Andrew Benintendi looks like he can be a solid hitter. Christian Vasquez has produced at the plate for the first time in his career and Xander Bogaerts is one of the best shortstops in the game.
The question marks arise with their pitching staff. Their starters are locked up for a while, as Sale and Price are both here for years to come. Rick Porcello and his league-worst ERA of 5.83 will likely be gone this off-season. The story coming into the season was their bullpen, which has not been all that bad as they have the 11th best bullpen ERA in the majors right now.
With Dombrowski’s firing, however, it seems as though ownership wants to take the team a different direction, perhaps toward rebuilding. That would likely mean either a full roster tear-down or a re-tooling. Considering Dombrowski’s ability to acquire impact players, a re-tooling may be out of the question, though. As they would have just kept him and moved forward, trying to remain in contention in the next few years.
If it is a complete rebuild, then this was the right move. He is just not the guy for it. Goodbye Mr. Dombrowski, thank you for the ring.
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com