By Matt McCarthy, 985TheSportsHub.com
Dave Dombrowski has never shied away from trading his top prospects.
Expect him to do more of the same this winter.
Dombrowski has a 30-year track record of moving young players for established big leaguers. He famously traded Randy Johnson while running the Expos. He packaged Andrew Miller to Florida in the deal that sent Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. He moved on from Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech, Manuel Margot and a lengthy list of secondary prospects during his time in Boston to bring in Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel.
He won’t stop trading young players now after building a World Series champion. His approach worked and he will double down this offseason.
And it makes all the sense in the world for Dombrowski to dip into what’s left in his prospect pool to improve his major league club again. The status of his farm system should encourage him to make another move.
It’s no secret the Red Sox don’t have the strongest minor league system in baseball. Most of their top prospects have either graduated to the big league roster or have been shipped out of town.
But Dombrowski does have some tradable commodities to work with, and they all happen to play the same position.
The Red Sox top three hitting prospects are all third basemen: Bobby Dalbec (no. 1), Michael Chavis (no. 2) and Triston Casas (no. 5), all of whom are seemingly blocked by 22-year-old Rafael Devers in the big leagues.
There isn’t room for all of them. Somebody’s going.
The Red Sox will likely look to bolster their bullpen this offseason. There is a good chance closer Craig Kimbrel will depart in free agency, meaning the Sox will need to find a new closer either on the open market or via a trade, assuming they don’t turn to an internal option like Matt Barnes or Ryan Brasier to fill the role.
Dombrowski has been burned trading for relievers in the past (Tyler Thornburg and Carson Smith say hello), but he will certainly consider trying his luck again if Kimbrel departs.
The Sox also lack MLB-ready starting pitching farmhands, so Dombrowski could look to trade some young hitters to invest in his rotation again, especially if Nathan Eovaldi signs elsewhere.
It is possible the Red Sox could move one of their young third baseman to first base to look for a long-term solution when Mitch Moreland’s contract ends following the 2019 season.
Defensively, questions remain about Devers at third base. He could be a candidate to move across the diamond if one of the prospects develops into a big leaguer.
Chavis has been seeing time in the minors at first base, and that could be his most likely path to the majors if he stays with the Red Sox.
Casas is in the low minors and could move to the right side of the infield full-time as he advances through the system.
Dalbec is considered a quality fielder at the hot corner and has a strong arm, so scouts might view him as a third baseman long-term.
But make no mistake about it: it’s likely at least one of those third baseman will be packing their bags this offseason, no matter if they move positions or not.
History will tell you that Dombrowski won’t hesitate to trade young players. Look for Dealing Dave to find a trade partner for one of his top prospects again.