If the Red Sox do decide to move on from Dave Dombrowski, the team’s president of baseball operations since Aug. 2015, this offseason, it will come as a definite shock to the 63-year-old executive.
“Well, I don’t want to say too much about it, but I am surprised,” Dombrowski told USA Today in a sit-down interview. “At least a little bit. I mean, we did win three divisions and a World Series.”
To Dombrowski’s point, the Sox have certainly seemed to succeed under his leadership.
Dombrowski acquired Craig Kimbrel and Chris Sale, addressing two massive needs for the team right off the bat, and helped bolster the eventual 2018 World Series champion Red Sox with the deadline additions of Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce. Eovaldi would prove to be an invaluable weapon for the Sox, both as a starter and out of the bullpen, during their run to a title, while Pearce nabbed MVP honors in the team’s five-game World Series win over the Dodgers.
All under first-year manager Alex Cora, who was (obviously) hired by Dombrowski, too.
…But there’s also no dancing around the situation that the 2019 Red Sox found themselves in on Dombrowski’s watch.
The team opted to let Kimbrel walk and did not spend any real money on their bullpen as a whole (the highest payroll in baseball somehow managed to enter the year with a $6 million bullpen), Dombrowski handed Sale a five-year extension before knowing if Sale had a clean bill of health following injury struggles in 2018, and did not upgrade the team’s aforementioned mediocre-at-best bullpen at the league’s trade deadline.
“This is a tough market. It’s been known as that,” Dombrowski, who has worked in baseball since 1978, acknowledged. “Growing up in this game, I was always told there are three markets that are different than everywhere else: Boston, New York and Philadelphia. And I’d have to say it’s probably lived up to be true.
“If you don’t have thick skin, you’re not going to survive in this game. You won’t survive in this market for sure.”
Whether Dombrowski survives another year in this market, which is more than likely ending with the Red Sox finishing in third place in the American League East, is anybody’s guess.