September 9, 2019

Red Sox Fire Dave Dombrowski


The Red Sox fired President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski late Sunday night. The news was announced by press release, not at a press conference.

While the decision seems oddly-timed, coming with only 19 games remaining in the season, it was, according to several reports, in the works for a while. Back on August 6, Dan Shaughnessy wrote that Dombrowski, who joined the Red Sox in August 2015:
has increasingly isolated himself with pals Frank Wren and Tony La Russa and has few friends inside Fenway's walls. ... He's clearly not the guy to oversee a much-needed farm system rebuild.
Evan Drellich, The Athletic:
Last year's World Series win says little about Dave Dombrowski's ability to run the Red Sox long-term.

The championship doesn't speak to a multi-year plan for the roster and payroll, to a vision to push the organization forward — to do exactly what American League powerhouses, like the Astros and Yankees, are doing year-in and year-out. To sniff a Dodgers-like run. ...

Talent, money and strong people in supporting roles can enhance strengths and cover up holes. But only for a time. Eventually, process matters — particularly in the modern baseball environment, which is ultra-competitive.

Little advantages, or disadvantages, eventually prove to be separators. There is a reason the Red Sox may miss the playoffs this year: not just bad luck, but a series of management decisions that played into one another.

Red Sox ownership had been grappling with Dombrowski's future for some time. More than once since winning the World Series, Dombrowski asked ownership for an extension and was rebuffed, a person with knowledge of the situation said in August. ...

The short version: Dombrowski is out because he spent a huge amount of money and was no longer delivering results.

The long version: Dombrowski's job is to control and direct processes, which are often unseen. And those processes during Dombrowski's tenure were sometimes chaotic. He did not take full advantage of the available information and resources. There were many days when functionality inside the Red Sox front office felt like a minor miracle to the people around him. That was true even as the 2018 World Series championship season unfolded.
Sean McAdam, Boston Sports Journal:
[S]oon, the Red Sox will employ their fourth top baseball executive this decade. ...

That's hardly the kind of stability to which a franchise aspires. ... It suggests chaotic leadership at the top and frequent philosophic shifts. ...

When a Boston Globe report earlier this summer strongly suggested that Dombrowski wouldn't return next season, the story was met with silence from the upper levels of management. That was the first suggestion that the story had merit. ...

The thinking is that Dombrowski was not fired for the job he did — three division titles and a World Series win in three of his first four seasons at the helm — but rather, for his unsuitability for the job ahead.

The Sox face a rash of big decisions in the next 15 months, not the least of which is the future of outfielder Mookie Betts, who is eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. Of more immediate concern is the possibility that J.D. Martinez, who has been stellar in the middle of the lineup in his first two years here, could opt-out after the current season.

Then there's the matter of the farm system, which has been depleted by a number of trades executed by Dombrowski. ... The team's minor league system ... is now ranked in the bottom third ...

[Principal owner John] Henry has [also] noted that ... the team was failing to turn a profit and failing to generate any revenues for its limited partners and minority owners. ...

It's likely that, as the pendulum swings back, the Red Sox will be looking for someone who prioritizes player development, thus enabling the franchise to field a competitive team at a more modest cost.
Manager Alex Cora, shortly after the team's 10-5 loss to the Yankees:
Surprised. I'm shocked, honestly. Right now, I don't have too much to say. ... It's one of those that they just told me, so I'm not ready to talk about it.
J.D. Martinez:
Just a shock. ... We had a good team and, I guess, like I said, ownership has their reasons. It's a business. That's their call.
Mookie Betts, whose next contract (or free agent departure) will be a top priority for DD's successor:
It doesn't really matter who's there, it's going to be the same answer. Nothing's gonna change. This is proof that this is a business. Like I said, I love it here, but definitely this is still a business.


calmNcents said...

The method might be considered harsh and absent of feeling for the effort he put in, but the obvious decimation of the up and coming prospects became truly apparent this year for the lack of talent able to be summoned. Not one available to fill in a starting role—see Oakland A’s for opposite example.

allan said...

SoSher ledsox: "Gammons was on MLB this morning and told a story of how he had a friend from the NL in Boston earlier this year hanging around the Sox. The quote from the friend was...'they all just got their rings and everyone is miserable'. It's kind of a shock but not a surprise. Time to move on."

Scooter Livingston said...

He sealed his date by not addressing the bullpen in the off-season or at the trade deadline. Kimbrel could've been re-signed after the season started as his price started to dip.

No doubt Dombrowski will end up someplace else (my money is on Philly) and the same thing will happen as it did in Detroit and Boston. He'll buld a winner and soon be out afterwards.

Jere said...

SoSher ledsox: "Gammons was on MLB this morning and told a story of how he had a friend from the NL in Boston earlier this year hanging around the Sox. The quote from the friend was...'they all just got their rings and everyone is miserable'. It's kind of a shock but not a surprise. Time to move on."

So if the Red Sox were 10 games ahead right now, he'd have gotten fired due to them being miserable?

allan said...

It's possible they would not have renewed his contract. ... Also, I doubt it's a barrel of laughs in the clubhouse as the team bottoms out and is playing out the string.