BOSTON – Earlier this summer, it was reported that the general manager of the Boston Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski, was growing increasingly isolated from the ownership group of the Red Sox, which is led by John Henry. Yesterday morning, we finally saw the fallout from such a divide, as it was announced that Dombrowski had been fired from his position as the president of baseball operations.
Since Dombrowski was hired as the GM of the Sox, the Red Sox won three consecutive division titles from 2016 to 2018, including a season in which they had their best record of all-time. 2018 obviously also led to a World Series championship. This year, Boston fell short of expectations as they currently have a 76-68 record, are eight games back of a Wild Card spot, and have a 0.1% chance of making the post-season, according to ESPN.
This was enough for Henry to dismiss the 63-year-old in a statement reading, "Four years ago, we were faced with a critical decision about the direction of the franchise. We were extraordinarily fortunate to be able to bring Dave in to lead baseball operations. With a World Series Championship and three consecutive American League East titles, he has cemented what was already a Hall of Fame career." Henry later avoided any sort of media or press in the aftermath of his decision. However, manager Alex Cora said he was surprised by the decision.
I was certainly surprised, too. While I get that Dombrowski made a number of foolish decisions since winning the World Series, chief among them refusing to bolster the bullpen in any way, I did not think he deserved a dismissal less than one year after bringing a championship to the city.
He went all in on some big contracts, like Chris Sale and Nathan Eovaldi, but the injuries, while a factor, could not have possibly been foreseen to the extent that they have impacted the season. However, one of the main concerns from the Boston ownership group, reportedly, is that these contracts have come at the expense of a farm system that now ranks last in baseball and the potential inability to retain both J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts this off-season.
However, I still have questions. Boston is a big market team. Why not just sign them both to the contracts they deserve? They can certainly afford it. I understand the temptation to trade Betts to reinvigorate the farm system instead, but if the owners are so disappointed that Dombrowski might have leveraged the right fielder's future in New England, then why won't they shell out the money for both players? After all, Rick Porcello, Steve Pearce, Brock Holt, and Mitch Moreland will all be free agents this off-season and while they are beloved, some money can certainly be saved by not bringing some back.
To me, it seems like another example of instant gratification in the Boston sports landscape. The team just won a championship, and Dombrowski did exactly what he was hired to do, including big trades and massive signings, most of which paid off for the team. (The Xander Bogaerts extension looks better by the day.) But with one disappointing season that was led largely by a lackluster pitching staff, Dombrowski, one of the best GMs in baseball, is out.
Can we not be grateful for anything in Boston? I certainly want to wish Dombrowski all the best.
Of course, I felt this way when Ben Cherington was booted, too, and I was proven wrong. The fact of the matter is, the owners of a baseball team probably have more information than I do. I just wish they showed Dombrowski more respect is all.
He is one of the best general managers in baseball so now the question becomes: who do you replace him with? Who is going to do better than Dombrowski did? Currently, Raquel Ferreira, Eddie Romero, Brian O'Halloran, and Zack Scott have been called up as acting leaders for the remainder of the season, but Boston does not seem to be seeking a successor internally, per reports.
Ideally, they would find a general manager who can merge Dombrowski's eye for trades and free agents with Cherington's eye for a talented farm system. But that man is named Theo Epstein. It remains to be seen if there's another Theo out there.