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Monday, September 09, 2019

Boston Red Sox firing Dave Dombrowski sends shockwaves through Fenway Park

BOSTON—Shortly before the first pitch of Sunday night’s Red Sox-Yankees game, Dave Dombrowski was honored on the Fenway Park field with some of the team’s longtime employees. Wearing a mustard-colored jacket, he exited the field through a gate behind home plate and climbed the steps between sections 17 and 18 in the grandstand, stopping to take pictures with some fans who had spotted him.

It turns out those fans captured the fleeting moments of Dombrowski’s tenure as Boston’s president of baseball operations. As the Red Sox wrapped up their 10-5 loss to the Yankees on the field, word of a major shakeup started traveling around Fenway. At 12:07 a.m., team spokesman Kevin Gregg addressed a group of reporters, saying that Dombrowski had been fired and that an official press release would come Monday morning.

Ownership did not address the decision after it broke. Manager Alex Cora, who informed his players of the news after the game, was left to serve as the organization’s public face.

“I’m surprised and shocked, obviously,” Cora said. “Right now, I don’t have too much to say.

Anyone else getting the feeling that this sort of decision-making could wind up backfiring severely for the Red Sox?

 

QLE Posted: September 09, 2019 at 04:41 AM | 105 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dave dombrowski, firings, red sox

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   1. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: September 09, 2019 at 07:48 AM (#5877656)
I'm sure he got a nice golden parachute.

Maybe this will give him more time to be the rich, old white man leading MLB's diversity task force.
   2. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:18 AM (#5877661)
W.T.F.!
Did anyone here suspect this? 1 WS title, 3 AL East crowns. They hired him to win now and he did. Am I missing something? Yeah I know his M.O., but they knew that going in.

Were there naked photos somewhere?
   3. GGC Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:25 AM (#5877663)
Is this the end of the line for dombrowski? Will he have a legacy as a player friendly executive? Was he good for the game?
   4. Scott Ross Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:34 AM (#5877664)
They hired him to win now and he did.


Yeah, I think that's kinda the point. The ace is hurt, the DH is about to opt out, one former Cy Young is worthless, the other is worth maybe 60 cents on the dollar, the minor leagues have been stripped mined, the face of the franchise is a year away from free agency, there's no 2B to speak of... this is not a job for Dave Dombrowski. I'm a Sox fan and I bear him no ill will, but I get why he was canned -- though I don't think much about the way it was handled.
   5. Sean Forman Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:48 AM (#5877665)
I've found the Red Sox interesting because their four World Series titles were won with basically four different teams, both on the field in the front office. There was little overlap among the teams that won.

I don't know if owning Liverpool has affected John Henry's thinking, but this looks more like a European soccer model where turnover in management is a constant.
   6. Answer Guy. Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:50 AM (#5877666)
Concur with all of the above. I do feel like waiting until the end of the season would have made more sense. I'd still be concerned about taking a job in this organization if I had no existing ties to it.
   7. . Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:50 AM (#5877667)
I'm sure he got a nice golden parachute.

Maybe this will give him more time to be the rich, old white man leading MLB's diversity task force.


It's bizarre that there are so many here who can't help but make any story an OTP story.
   8. GGC Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:05 AM (#5877668)
#7 I think that's why Don Malcolm is no longer here. He still blogs occasionally but I mainly recall him railing at neosabermetrics as a cost control measure.
   9. PreservedFish Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:11 AM (#5877669)
I'm amused by the suggestion that Dave Dombrowski would be incapable of leading the Red Sox through some sort of minor retooling era. As if the only thing he can do is trade prospects for veterans, like he doesn't understand that there are other ways to build a team.
   10. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5877670)
Yeah, I think that's kinda the point. The ace is hurt, the DH is about to opt out, one former Cy Young is worthless, the other is worth maybe 60 cents on the dollar, the minor leagues have been stripped mined, the face of the franchise is a year away from free agency, there's no 2B to speak of... this is not a job for Dave Dombrowski.

I disagree. This is still very much a win-now team. How can it not be when you have Betts, Bogaerts, Devers, and Benintendi still in their primes? If you go the tear down route, no way Betts sticks around.
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:12 AM (#5877671)
. I do feel like waiting until the end of the season would have made more sense.
Out of curiosity, why? There are very few GM duties between now and then, and this way both parties have more time to plan for the future.
   12. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5877673)
If you go the tear down route, no way Betts sticks around.
Independent from keeping/firing Dombrowski, I think there's zero chance they do a tear-down this offseason.
   13. The_Ex Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5877674)
Maybe with one year left on his deal, he was pushing for an extension. The Red Sox said no and things escalated from there. That's often why these firings happen out of cycle.
   14. bfan Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5877675)
I am outside the Red Sox universe, but I must admit, as an outsider, I am shocked. I have thought of the Red Sox as one of the better run franchises out there, and one which understands that they have abundant resources and that they ought to deploy them. If his prior performance is not good enough, that is quite a high bar they are setting. What MLB GM has done tangibly better than this guy, in his tenure?
   15. PreservedFish Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5877676)
#13 is plausible.

If they fired him because his performance was unacceptable, they're insane.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:23 AM (#5877678)
Independent from keeping/firing Dombrowski, I think there's zero chance they do a tear-down this offseason.

Then why wouldn't you keep Dombrowski? He's got to be one of the very best trading GMs of the last 30 years.
   17. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:26 AM (#5877680)
I don't know.
   18. bfan Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:33 AM (#5877681)
I'm sure he got a nice golden parachute.

Maybe this will give him more time to be the rich, old white man leading MLB's diversity task force.

It's bizarre that there are so many here who can't help but make any story an OTP story.


I think this is called "trolling", for which the adequate response is just to smile and move on.
   19. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:46 AM (#5877687)
It's hard to do when you're in an "academic" field that has in recent years come to consist largely of trolling.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:52 AM (#5877688)
And you do this on a day you "honor" him. (In quotes more because I'm not sure I buy that intro.) Anyway, at least chat with him beforehand, let him know he's canned and give him the opportunity to instead "resign" with a nice thanks to the fans ... or allow him to duck out of this "honor" on the day you're firing him.

Dombrowski built his rep building teams from scratch ... which pretty much includes his Det teams too. Then trying to win something before Illich died, he went for it ... and now he has the rep as a vet-loving prospect trasher. In a win now situation with Boston, he wins now (then doesn't win).
   21. jmurph Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5877690)
This is just baffling to me. As a Red Sox fan I was A. disappointed with this year and B. not even remotely worried about them going forward. Barring completely unexpected roster maneuvering elsewhere, who enters next year in the AL as bigger favorites? Houston and possibly the Yankees? That's pretty much the best you can hope for.
   22. PreservedFish Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5877694)
If I owned the Red Sox, I'd likely still have Theo and Francona on my team. I know that some of it is driven by fan and media agitation, but I don't get why team owners embrace the constant cycle of controversy and churn. If I had the opportunity to break that cycle - like, by extending the guys that just won me a goddam world series - I'd take it.
   23. GGC Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5877696)
My original post was typed while I was stuck in traffic. I was musing about Dombrowski and his free agent signings and whether or not they were good for the players, good for the game,vor good for society in general.

As I get older I think that society puts too much emphasis on sports. Hence, I am not here that much these days. But sports do still have some grip on me.
   24. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5877698)
. . . but this looks more like a European soccer model where turnover in management is a constant.
There was a time when I thought any Red Sox Manager or GM who won a World Series would have a job for life, or at least a decade. It’s been quite the opposite, suggesting management wants it that way.
   25. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:11 AM (#5877699)
Weird move. I had to go back and check that I wasn't just imagining they had won the World Series last year.
   26. eric Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:22 AM (#5877704)
Maybe with one year left on his deal, he was pushing for an extension. The Red Sox said no and things escalated from there. That's often why these firings happen out of cycle.


That's my guess. And/or the Red Sox are smart enough to know that management talent is not quite as rare or unique as ballplayer talent. If Dombrowski is pushing for a healthy extension/raise and things get testy, just fire him, promote his top assistant at a cheaper price, and save some money to spend on actual players.

I, too, am shocked that a very successful exec got canned, but then again, the management churn does not appear to be negatively affecting the Sox in any way. Perhaps through staving off complacency, keeping a fire lit under everyone in the front office, and finding the exact correct person for their exact current situation, they are really behaving optimally. Emphasis on perhaps.
   27. puck Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:25 AM (#5877705)
Timing looks bad, too, at the end of the a loss to the Yankees. Makes the firing seem...Steinbrennerian.
   28. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:28 AM (#5877706)
Lucchino called them up and said "Look, everyone around the country is talking about the Patriots, there's only one way to get the Red Sox back in the news this week..."
   29. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5877719)
Well, DD did have a perception issue. I know a lot of Sox fans who weren't so much ready to can him because of team performance this year, but just the way it happened.

The team had weaknesses going into the off-season that were apparent. They didn't address them all off-season or at the trade deadline. I think that there was a feeling that he was really complacent heading into this season that nobody would catch up.

Also, there was the whole thing with resting starters more at the beginning of the season and basically openly punting April games to be fresher in the playoffs, which in retrospect looks terrible.

I think I wouldn't have fired him, and it jumped the gun, but you guys are ignoring that they kinda took the playoffs this year for granted and it hurt them.
   30. PASTE, Now with Extra Pitch and Extra Stamina Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:49 AM (#5877721)
Meanwhile, Kansas City went 58-104 last year and will do about the same this year--a depth reached only once in the Allard Baird Dark Age--and Dayton Moore and Ned Yost are still there, basking in the glory of four years ago.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:51 AM (#5877722)
The team had weaknesses going into the off-season that were apparent. They didn't address them all off-season or at the trade deadline. I think that there was a feeling that he was really complacent heading into this season that nobody would catch up.

They were probably maxed out on payroll (ownership's decision not Dombrowski) and had limited prospect wealth to spend.

They took some risk, but this team was plenty good enough to make the playoffs, things just didn't work out. It's really hard to overcome your top-3 pitchers (who you are paying $70M) suck or get hurt, or both.
   32. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:57 AM (#5877725)
This is what Rob Bradford wrote today at WEEI.com and I think he kind of hits it (this is a long excerpt but not the whole piece);

The Red Sox are headed into one of the most important offseasons in recent memory, with significant decisions to be made regarding Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., the starting rotation and the integration of a few soon-to-be major leaguers. Whoever was to make those choices better be the person at the helm for at least the next few years while we see how this whole thing unfolds. Dombrowski was headed into the final year of his contract.

Do the math.

If the Red Sox wanted Dombrowski to be the one pulling the strings following this sad trombone of a season than one would think they had to extend his contract beyond 2020. If they weren't willing to commit to the president of baseball operations beyond next season then you certainly couldn't have a lame-duck decision-maker guiding the future of the franchise, thereby necessitating a parting of the ways.

It wasn't complicated. Dombrowski wasn't going to be viewed by this ownership group as that long-term guy so it was time to move on.

   33. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5877726)
Timing looks bad, too, at the end of the a loss to the Yankees. Makes the firing seem...Steinbrennerian.


I suspect the Sox took advantage of the Pats raising their banner last night with a blowout of the Steelers as a good time to bury the news a bit. Rather than making this THE story of sports radio today it is going to split time.
   34. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5877727)
They were probably maxed out on payroll (ownership's decision not Dombrowski)
Well, his past decisions led to the payroll situation. And he did leave himself $20+ million to play around with for 2019.
   35. base ball chick Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5877728)
maybe there was some other much more exciting reason

like dombrowski was having sex with mrs henry. or her nubile daughter. or HOTTTTT son

younevahknow
   36. villageidiom Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5877729)
#7 I think that's why Don Malcolm is no longer here. He still blogs occasionally but I mainly recall him railing at neosabermetrics as a cost control measure.
People's priorities change. Yours has; mine have. I know almost nothing of Malcolm but I'd think it's more likely that his priorities changed than that the environment pushed him away.
Timing looks bad, too, at the end of the a loss to the Yankees. Makes the firing seem...Steinbrennerian.
Yankees twitterverse seems enchanted with the notion that "The Yankees winning a September series got Dombrowski fired!!!!!1111!!!!oneone!!!" I mean, if Boston had played NY more evenly this year they'd only be 13.5 out with 19 to go, instead of 17.5 out. Boston's problem is that they needed to do better against almost everyone. Nobody got fired because of this one series, which is so obvious that anyone who can't see it isn't even trying to look.

All that said, the Steinbrennerian move would have been to fire Cora. And maybe re-hire him. And fire him again.
   37. DCA Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5877731)
The three teams in a close AL wild card race have RD of +138 (A's), +105 (Rays), +100 (Indians). Red Sox are at +90 (basically the same as Rays/Indians) but are 9 games behind the Rays and 6.5 behind the Indians.
   38. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:01 AM (#5877732)
They took some risk, but this team was plenty good enough to make the playoffs, things just didn't work out. It's really hard to overcome your top-3 pitchers (who you are paying $70M) suck or get hurt, or both.


Well, I'm a Braves fan who remembers Medlen and Beachy going down within days of each other. I'm sympathetic. That's why I called it a perception problem. If your going to play the hare from the fable you have to win or you look like an idiot.
   39. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:04 AM (#5877735)
Bradford's probably right in general, but I find the "most important offseason" laughable. The local media says that every offseason, and it definitely isn't true for this one.

And they don't have to make decisions on Mookie and JBJ.
   40. PreservedFish Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:08 AM (#5877737)
And they don't have to make decisions on Mookie and JBJ.


But when they do, THAT will be the most important offseason.
   41. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:18 AM (#5877739)
And they don't have to make decisions on Mookie and JBJ.

Why are these two lumped together? Betts is one of the top-10 players in baseball. Bradley's just a guy. Teams add or subtract players of Bradley's quality multiple times every season.
   42. GGC Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:19 AM (#5877741)
That's true, Vi. I think that Don's more into French film noir now. I was thinking of him recently because he once wrote a scathing review of the NBJHA here once and I have not been able to to find it for years. I'm not sure if the Way back machine ever archived it
   43. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5877743)
Why are these two lumped together?
Just to pump up his claim that this offseason is so important.
   44. Avoid Running At All Times- S. Paige Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:26 AM (#5877745)
Pretty remarkable turn of events. I mean, the guy assembled the greatest team in franchise history just last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was some personality issue.
   45. GGC Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5877746)
I also had Don on the brain because of Dombrowski's ties to the Marlins and Don's prescient hyping of that team in '03. Yeah, I do tend to live in the past.
   46. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 09, 2019 at 12:19 PM (#5877755)
The interim arrangements are a bit unusual:
The Boston Red Sox fired president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Sunday and have elevated senior vice president Raquel Ferreira and assistant general managers Eddie Romero, Brian O'Halloran and Zack Scott to jointly lead their baseball operations department for the rest of the season.
Perhaps the temporary arrangement isn’t intended for long, or all won’t have equal voices, but a 4-person committee of folks whose own roles going forward may be uncertain seems unlikely to accomplish much.
   47. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 12:45 PM (#5877760)
The Athletic: Dave Dombrowski’s success with the Red Sox masked difficulties behind the scenes

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. A $145 million extension for Chris Sale this spring required a push from Dombrowski to ownership in order to get done, a push that, The Athletic has learned, Dombrowski did not handle smoothly.

The short version: Dombrowski is out because he spent a huge amount of money and was no longer delivering results.
   48. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5877762)
Perhaps the temporary arrangement isn’t intended for long, or all won’t have equal voices, but a 4-person committee of folks whose own roles going forward may be uncertain seems unlikely to accomplish much.


This sounds quite familiar to me,..

Narrator: it didn't work.
   49. Moses Taylor, aka Hambone Fakenameington Posted: September 09, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5877764)
I won't quibble with any of the content in that article, but it's transparently obvious who sourced it.
   50. jmurph Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:08 PM (#5877766)
So the Red Sox are apparently not holding a press conference today, which is embarrassing for them.
   51. DFA Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:10 PM (#5877768)
Dan Duquette is available!
   52. . Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:19 PM (#5877771)
The short version: Dombrowski is out because he spent a huge amount of money and was no longer delivering results.


That "short version" doesn't remotely follow from the "longer" version preceding it.
   53. GGC Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:22 PM (#5877773)
O'Halloran was good in Clerks.
   54. Srul Itza Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5877784)
Perhaps the temporary arrangement isn’t intended for long


I think that is clearly implied by "for the rest of the season", which is less than a month (not counting a post-season which does not include the Sox).

There may be some planning taking place for the future, some options outlined, but actual decisions probably can wait. Maybe they didn't want to name anyone "Acting" President, and then have to take it away if they hire someone from outside.
   55. bfan Posted: September 09, 2019 at 06:07 PM (#5877879)
The short version: Dombrowski is out because he spent a huge amount of money and was no longer delivering results.


I will say this; the dodgers approach of taking a really smart guy (Andrew Friedman)with a background of no resources (the Rays) and putting him in an environment where there are abundant resources, has worked out really well.

Yes, I know, count the rings and all, but the dodgers spent half what the red sox did, for this season? The Dodgers also seem more set up for longer term success right now than the red sox, if neither team dabbles in free agency.
   56. phredbird Posted: September 09, 2019 at 06:32 PM (#5877886)

I think that Don's more into French film noir now. I was thinking of him recently because he once wrote a scathing review of the NBJHA here once and I have not been able to to find it for years. I'm not sure if the Way back machine ever archived it


huh, i hope he has a subscription to the criterion channel. it's all kinds of awesome.
   57. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 09, 2019 at 07:07 PM (#5877895)
It wasn't complicated. Dombrowski wasn't going to be viewed by this ownership group as that long-term guy so it was time to move on.


Why did they hire him if he isn't a long-term guy for the position?

Ok, I get it, opinions change over time, and he's not what they thought he was or their needs aren't the same as when they hired him. It's just weird that it took winning a World Series to realize you don't have the right GM anymore..
   58. winnipegwhip Posted: September 09, 2019 at 07:18 PM (#5877899)
Yes, I know, count the rings and all, but the dodgers spent half what the red sox did, for this season? The Dodgers also seem more set up for longer term success right now than the red sox, if neither team dabbles in free agency.


You have to also give credit to the Dodgers for choosing a division and league without the Yankees, Astros and Indians.
   59. Walt Davis Posted: September 09, 2019 at 07:27 PM (#5877902)
Raquel Ferreira

The first female 1/4 GM??

Still hard to tell if it's a "personality" thing or a (perceived) performance thing or a you're not the guy we want long-term (and he is 63). It's strange that, if they're paying him anyway, he wasn't just shifted to a more honorary/admin role with a (owner-selected) "protege" coming on to take over full reins in 2021. But that's consistent with any of those explanations plus that maybe DD would rather move on while he still has time to get another meaningful job before age 70.

Still, the timing seems more consistent with the existence of a single recent, heated incident. There just seem to have been a lot of reasons on both sides to make this at least appear to be an amicable separation yet here we are.
   60. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 07:56 PM (#5877908)
Yes, I know, count the rings and all, but the dodgers spent half what the red sox did, for this season? The Dodgers also seem more set up for longer term success right now than the red sox, if neither team dabbles in free agency.

Huh? The Dodgers spent $196M and the Red Sox $236M (that's opening day payroll, Cots doesn't have year end, obviously). That's not even close to half.

Nobody knows anything about long term in baseball. The Red Sox have 2 rings in the last 6 years.
   61. . Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:41 PM (#5877912)
It's likely something interpersonal with egotistical, want-to-win ownership. Each of his last two jobs has wound up almost exactly the same way -- a disappointing year following a bunch of really good ones; underachieving expensive guys on the payroll; a relatively passive, if not concessionary, trade deadline in the disappointing year; unceremoniously shitcanned well before the year-end "evaluations." Once his bosses sour on him, it goes Defcon 5 sour in the blink of an eye.

Which means that there's almost certainly some kind of personality flaw there that shows up in down times. Best guess is that he either isn't saying the right things or acting the right way around ownership, which means he probably isn't taking enough of the blame or just generally isn't acting the way a subordinate is supposed to act when the most recent evaluation period has been a failure. He's probably good at politicking and butt-kissing when things are going well, far less so when things aren't. Which means he doesn't react to adversity well in an office politics sense. The owners have basically said he was too pushy asking for an extension which translated means "He didn't put enough of the crow on his plate." Put that together with, "And he's costing me a ####-ton of money for this dreck" and there's pretty much your Defcon 5.

He's really good at convincing ownership to loosen the checkbook, but ownership seems to get more pissed than expected when the purchases don't work out which means he's really bad at convincing them not to blame him when the loose checkbook doesn't work out. Those two usually don't go together. It's a pretty interesting dynamic, really. His loosening sales pitch probably carries within it the seeds of resentment -- probably something like threatening to leave if he doesn't get his way, or overpromising.
   62. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 10, 2019 at 12:15 AM (#5877964)
He's really good at convincing ownership to loosen the checkbook, but ownership seems to get more pissed than expected when the purchases don't work out which means he's really bad at convincing them not to blame him when the loose checkbook doesn't work out. Those two usually don't go together. It's a pretty interesting dynamic, really. His loosening sales pitch probably carries within it the seeds of resentment -- probably something like threatening to leave if he doesn't get his way, or overpromising.


This is kind of how the business world works in general isn't it? If I tell my boss "hey we need to spend huge money on Project X" then Project X is a bust I'm going to get fired.
   63. ReggieThomasLives Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:35 AM (#5877977)
How can Project X be a bust if it led to the most successful year in company history, and even now one year later in its “bust” year is still solidly profitable?
   64. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:08 AM (#5878004)
How can Project X be a bust if it led to the most successful year in company history, and even now one year later in its “bust” year is still solidly profitable?

"Phase 1 of Project X is complete, but we already spent the entire budget for Phases 1 to 3 and we haven't really started Phase 2. We need more money. Oh, and extend my contract, I think I'm worth a bunch more given Phase 1 was such a success."
   65. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:13 AM (#5878008)
How is Sale a bust? He signed a reasonable contract, because of the injury risk, and had one mediocre season. There's still 4 years plus an option yet to make good on the deal.
   66. PreservedFish Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:14 AM (#5878009)
If we're going to stick with this metaphor, let's acknowledge that Phase 1 was a marvelous, mind-blowing success, the type that most CEOs only dream about and will never achieve.
   67. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5878011)
If we're going to stick with this metaphor, let's acknowledge that Phase 1 was a marvelous, mind-blowing success, the type that most CEOs only dream about and will never achieve.

Yeah. If Phase 1 is developing the iPhone, I think you get a pass when the Apple Watch doesn't do so hot.
   68. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:23 AM (#5878018)
How is Sale a bust? He signed a reasonable contract, because of the injury risk, and had one mediocre season. There's still 4 years plus an option yet to make good on the deal.

Right, this is the bizarre thing, people are saying things like "Dombrowski isn't the guy for the retool." But I bet if they did almost literally nothing in free agency this winter they'd still project as a wild card team entering next year. They don't exactly require a dramatic makeover to be competitive next year and beyond.
   69. PreservedFish Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:27 AM (#5878020)
Right, this is the bizarre thing, people are saying things like "Dombrowski isn't the guy for the retool."


Plus, zero evidence for this, and it's senseless. It's hilarious to suggest that Dombrowski somehow is the right guy to take a good team to the world series but is intellectually incapable of slightly pivoting strategies. Dude was building the Expos and the Marlins up from nothing before any of these hot GM prospects even had their first fantasy baseball team.
   70. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:48 AM (#5878028)
Dude was building the Expos and the Marlins up from nothing before any of these hot GM prospects even had their first fantasy baseball team.

Not to mention a 10 year run with Detroit than yielded 4 division titles, 5 playoff appearances, and 2 Pennants.
   71. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:54 AM (#5878031)
Are you guys saying that ownership is wrong for apparently thinking that, or that ownership doesn't think that and there is some other reason for the firing?
   72. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:59 AM (#5878034)
But I bet if they did almost literally nothing in free agency this winter they'd still project as a wild card team entering next year. They don't exactly require a dramatic makeover to be competitive next year and beyond.


Arb-eligible players this offseason:

Mookie Betts
Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Eduardo Rodriguez
Andrew Benintendi
Brandon Workman
Heath Hembree
Matt Barnes
Steven Wright
Sandy Leon

Free agents this offseason:

JD Martinez (can opt out this year or next)
Brock Holt
Mitch Moreland
Steven Pearce
Rick Porcello
Andrew Cashner (team option, vests to guaranteed if he pitches enough, which he won't)
Jhoulys Chacin

Arb eligible after 2020:

Rafael Devers
Eduardo Rodriguez
Andrew Benintendi
Heath Hembree
Matt Barnes
Brian Johnson
Marco Hernandez
Ryan Brasier

Free agents after 2020:

Mookie Betts
Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Brandon Workman
Steven Wright
Sandy Leon

Like, they can do literally nothing in free agency this winter, and they're still going to trade off a bunch of players this year or next. Panda Fund money isn't going to cover arbitration costs for this year alone, never mind next year.

Ultimately the trade talk is just to get JD Martinez to opt out this year. He probably sees "will trade at least one of Mookie & JD" and he assumes he's the one to get traded. Which, if you are on a 3yr/$65m deal and you're JD Martinez, you probably figure you can do better and choose your destination if you opt out.
   73. PreservedFish Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:01 AM (#5878035)
Are you guys saying that ownership is wrong for apparently thinking that, or that ownership doesn't think that and there is some other reason for the firing?


I'm saying that Red Sox fans are wrong for saying "good, he can't retool anyway."

I haven't paid much attention to what the Red Sox have said about the matter. I suspect that the move had less to do with team-building philosophy or competence than interpersonal issues and bickering over the extension.
   74. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:03 AM (#5878036)
Are you guys saying that ownership is wrong for apparently thinking that, or that ownership doesn't think that and there is some other reason for the firing?

I don't know. It would be stupid to think Dombrowski can't re-tool the team, but a CEO believing stupid things before it fuels his ego, or confirms his bias, happens ten times a day before lunch.

Or there could be something else, and this is just the excuse. The single most likely reason for any senior executive to get fired is he openly disagreed with the boss, and made the boss look bad, by being right.
   75. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:05 AM (#5878037)
Cool, thanks.
   76. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5878049)
Yeah, what PF said. The team hasn't really said anything (though they appear to have been the source in the Drellich article at The Athletic).
   77. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5878051)
Andrew Cashner (team option, vests to guaranteed if he pitches enough, which he won't)

Spotrac has him as vested already, is that incorrect?

EDIT: Oh yeah he won't get there. I either misread that or it's wrong (you hover over the money for next year and it says "vested").
   78. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5878054)
Like, they can do literally nothing in free agency this winter, and they're still going to trade off a bunch of players this year or next. Panda Fund money isn't going to cover arbitration costs for this year alone, never mind next year.

Porcello and Sandoval combine for $35 million off the books. That's pretty helpful.

I obviously agree that there are moves to be made, a rotation to strengthen, a bullpen to strengthen, etc. Of course. But Betts/Benintendi/Devers/Xander is just a tremendous starting point to remain a contending team. If JD sticks around that's outstanding, otherwise that's an additional $23.75 million off the books. The financial situation is just not that bad.
   79. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5878107)
Panda Fund money isn't going to cover arbitration costs for this year alone, never mind next year.
is it being suggested that the Boston Red Sox can’t even afford to pay players worthy of keeping the less than fair market value salaries produced by the arbitration process? It’s one thing to say that Dombrowski should be fired for bad budgeting - although it seems to have been approved at the time and only look questionable now due to injuries - quite another to say that the Red Sox can’t absorb those salary commitments without moving the heart of the team.
   80. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5878120)
The owners have been pretty clear that they will limit the money around the tax threshold, and are OK with going above in the short term if needed but not the long term, and want to be perennial winners. Their behaviors have backed up their words. They want "win now, and win later". We've had 17 years of this philosophy now.

So why are people saying they were in "win now" mode? Why would anyone think that's what they wanted, when they've always been clear about what they want? I can think of two main reasons.

1. It's what people thought when DD was hired. They perceived him as a "win now" specialist.

2. People are looking at the state of the Red Sox right now, and conclude based on the results that the objective must have been "win now".

So, first of all, anyone in the former camp needs to step up and argue with the people who now insist he's not a "win now" specialist.

Second, if you want to argue DD was capable of maintaining a winning MLB roster while also stocking the minors with the next generation of winning players - "win now, and win later" - then tell us why his results don't show it. He's had the opportunity already, and it hasn't gotten done.

They said they want "win now, win later". He won now, and seems to have no solution to "win later" that doesn't involve being above the threshold for the long term. This is not what ownership has said they want, nor what they've demonstrated they want. He has failed at a significant part of his job. They fired him. Their actions back up their words, and their prior actions, and everything we know about them. He didn't do his job. He did part of it, and it was the part I enjoy in the short term. But he failed at the other half, and earned a firing.
   81. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:48 PM (#5878125)
Porcello and Sandoval combine for $35 million off the books. That's pretty helpful.

$10m Mookie Betts
$ 7m Jackie Bradley, Jr.
$ 7m Eduardo Rodriguez
$ 5m Andrew Benintendi
$ 3m Brandon Workman
$10m Heath Hembree + Matt Barnes + Steven Wright + Sandy Leon
----
$42m arbitration salary increases

And they still have to replace Porcello, and Holt, and both halves of their 1B tandem.
   82. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 02:10 PM (#5878129)
The owners have been pretty clear that they will limit the money around the tax threshold, and are OK with going above in the short term if needed but not the long term, and want to be perennial winners. Their behaviors have backed up their words. They want "win now, and win later". We've had 17 years of this philosophy now.

And I want to eat my cake and have it too. Real life involves trade-offs. You don't get Chris Sale without sacrificing lots of expected future value.

Those 17 years include a lot of mediocre and even poor years. 4 WS in 10 playoff appearances is extraordinary good fortune. This regime's reputation is built on a lot of post-season luck.
   83. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 02:18 PM (#5878131)
Snapper, #82 doesn't seem related to the post it's responding to? He's talking about their goals and philosophy, not their reputation. And he doesn't claim that "never trade future value for immediate value" was part of that philosophy.
   84. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5878134)
Snapper, #82 doesn't seem related to the post it's responding to? He's talking about their goals and philosophy, not their reputation. And he doesn't claim that "never trade future value for immediate value" was part of that philosophy.

I didn't quote his whole post, but this is mostly what I'm responding too.

They said they want "win now, win later". He won now, and seems to have no solution to "win later" that doesn't involve being above the threshold for the long term. This is not what ownership has said they want, nor what they've demonstrated they want. He has failed at a significant part of his job. They fired him. Their actions back up their words, and their prior actions, and everything we know about them. He didn't do his job. He did part of it, and it was the part I enjoy in the short term. But he failed at the other half, and earned a firing.

If the Red Sox owners think they can be good every year without consistently spending a ton of money, and always having a stocked farm, they're delusional. Maybe that's why they keep getting rid of really good GMs.

There's also no evidence the Dombrowski has "no solution" to "win later". He won the division 3 straight years, and a WS, and had one downish season. Dombrowski's among the guys I'd most want in charge of making some savvy trades to plug holes on a contender.
   85. Zonk Rocks You Like a Sharpiecane Posted: September 10, 2019 at 02:37 PM (#5878138)
Meh.... There are worse ways to be fired than "not waiting until the end of the season".
   86. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: September 10, 2019 at 02:45 PM (#5878140)
Meh.... There are worse ways to be fired than "not waiting until the end of the season".
Indeed. Just ask Lorth Needa.
   87. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:16 PM (#5878148)
If the Red Sox owners think they can be good every year without consistently spending a ton of money, and always having a stocked farm, they're delusional.
Nobody has said that. Try again.
   88. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:22 PM (#5878153)
Nobody has said that. Try again.

Whether intentionally or not, your post #80 certainly reads that way. Win now and win later without going into the tax regularly.
   89. PreservedFish Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:27 PM (#5878155)
So why are people saying they were in "win now" mode? Why would anyone think that's what they wanted, when they've always been clear about what they want? I can think of two main reasons.


Because the owners approved of a bunch of moves that were obviously "win now." Are we saying that Dombrowski was hired to "win forever," flagrantly ignored that mandate, and ran amok with the team's future, to the surprise and horror of the owners?
   90. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5878156)
What if we scale it back to this: Win now and win later, generally have a good farm system, and spend a lot but only sometimes go over the luxury tax.

Overall, they've been successful along those lines. So it's far from "delusional" to keep trying for those goals. That also seems like the general plan of the Dodgers and Yankees. It doesn't mean they were right to fire Dombrowski, but it seems like a sound philosophy and has served them well.
   91. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:38 PM (#5878158)
What if we scale it back to this: Win now and win later, generally have a good farm system, and spend a lot but only sometimes go over the luxury tax.

Overall, they've been successful along those lines. So it's far from "delusional" to keep trying for those goals. That also seems like the general plan of the Dodgers and Yankees. It doesn't mean they were right to fire Dombrowski, but it seems like a sound philosophy and has served them well.


Right, but none of that means you won't occasionally have a mediocre or bad season or two. One mediocre season seems to be the only season Dombrowski has "failed" to meet those goals you cite.
   92. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:44 PM (#5878161)
One mediocre season seems to be the only season Dombrowski has "failed" to meet those goals you cite.
I agree. And it's a .525 team, not an absolute disaster.
   93. jmurph Posted: September 10, 2019 at 03:46 PM (#5878163)
What if we scale it back to this: Win now and win later, generally have a good farm system, and spend a lot but only sometimes go over the luxury tax.

Overall, they've been successful along those lines. So it's far from "delusional" to keep trying for those goals. That also seems like the general plan of the Dodgers and Yankees. It doesn't mean they were right to fire Dombrowski, but it seems like a sound philosophy and has served them well.

Sure that's fine. And I'd add that I don't see any case that Dombrowski couldn't have reigned the spending back in sometime soon. I mean it would be odd to find out that Dombrowski, just on principle, was insisting on an ever-increasing payroll into perpetuity.

I think snapper and PF (and I'm in this camp, too) are saying it might have been fine to move on from Dombrowski because perhaps he demanded a new contract that they weren't interested in giving him, or perhaps there were other interpersonal factors, and that's fine. But others, definitely vi, seem to be making the case that Dombrowski actually failed/deserved to be fired for performance reasons.

EDIT: round of cokes
   94. . Posted: September 10, 2019 at 05:31 PM (#5878189)
Big picture, it's time to face reality -- the Moneyball/Saber gang got co-opted by the rich guys who are using the fundamental Moneyball/Saber idea that you don't have to spend money to win to put a nice shiny "intellectual" gloss on them putting a bunch of money in their pockets. That toothpaste is never going back in the tube.
   95. Dr. Vaux Posted: September 10, 2019 at 06:02 PM (#5878193)
The teams actually are making smarter decisions.
   96. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 07:09 PM (#5878220)
There's also no evidence the Dombrowski has "no solution" to "win later". He won the division 3 straight years, and a WS, and had one downish season. Dombrowski's among the guys I'd most want in charge of making some savvy trades to plug holes on a contender.

In 2017 Boston had 7 drafted players in the BA top 100 prospects. Of them:
- Benintendi & Devers were promoted.
- Moncada & Kopech were traded for Sale.
- Espinoza was traded for Pomeranz.
- Margot was traded for Kimbrel.
- Groome is still in their system, but at the end of 2019 was promoted out of rookie league, and is no longer considered a top prospect.

They have nobody in the top 100 at the start of this season, so let's assume any trade that would have taken a top-100 pick wouldn't happen. Of the rest of his significant trades since joining the Red Sox, these are the ones that remain from his track record with the team:

Got up to 4 years of "Tyler Thornburg" for Travis Shaw, Mauricio Dubon & others
Got 2 months of Eduardo Nunez for Shaun Anderson & others
Got 2 months of Addison Reed for Stephen Nogosek & others
Got 2 months of Steve Pearce for Santiago Espinal
Got 2 months of Nathan Eovaldi for Jalen Beeks
Got 2 months of Ian Kinsler for Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez
Got 2 months of Andrew Cashner for others
Got up to 6 years of Marcus Wilson for Blake Swihart

So yeah, he can probably fill the holes pretty well if they're in contention at the end of July. They need him to start plugging holes in November. His past trades to get something more than a 2-month rental have involved sending away BA top-100 prospects, which he doesn't have. He hasn't accomplished much on restocking the system. In retrospect, the above track record suggests he can't do it. If he could have, surely he would have.

He can certainly trade top-level prospects for good players, and he can certainly sign free agents to top-level contracts. He has constrained the team on both fronts.

Whether intentionally or not, your post #80 certainly reads that way. Win now and win later without going into the tax regularly.
They are already consistently spending a ton of money. They are comfortable consistently spending a ton of money, as evidenced through their words and actions. They have also made clear that they do not believe consistently going into the tax is a sound business plan. Occasionally, sure. Consistently, no. None of this should have been a surprise to DD when he took the job, and it shouldn't have been a surprise a decade before he took the job. If he has no plan other than that, then he has failed at that part of the job. If he waited until now to think about this aspect, then he has failed at that part of the job.

They have expressed a desire to have a "player development machine" with their farm system. Whether that means fully stocked or sometimes productive I don't know, but it does not mean barren. It does not mean zero top prospects. Nate has all this more in line with what I'm saying.

Right, but none of that means you won't occasionally have a mediocre or bad season or two. One mediocre season seems to be the only season Dombrowski has "failed" to meet those goals you cite.
As I've said before in another thread, if you evaluate him on what he's accomplished, and not on the future ramifications of what he's done, you'd laud him. There are ramifications for what he's done. It's been a year and a half since I'd pointed out that they would not be able to keep the team together and stay under the threshold, that they would have some hard choices to make, that JD Martinez was going to make those choices harder, and that he might not be the player to whom that kind of financial commitment should be made given the financial moves they'd have to make around the rest of the roster. 2020 was the year all the costs from decisions in 2015 through 2017 were going to come due. The 2017 and 2018 off-seasons made it harder, not easier. DD treated this as a problem to be solved later, and clearly they're not impressed with whatever his proposed solution was.
   97. GGC Posted: September 10, 2019 at 07:38 PM (#5878232)
#94, that's what I was asking about vupthread. Was Dombrowski's relative generosity with contracts good for the game?
   98. GGC Posted: September 10, 2019 at 07:47 PM (#5878234)
#94, that's what I was asking about vupthread. Was Dombrowski's relative generosity with contracts good for the game?
   99. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 07:58 PM (#5878237)
They have expressed a desire to have a "player development machine" with their farm system. Whether that means fully stocked or sometimes productive I don't know, but it does not mean barren. It does not mean zero top prospects. Nate has all this more in line with what I'm saying.

Everyone has that desire. Everyone can't have a top-5 farm system every year. The Yankees are similarly barren of top prospects after promoting Sanchez, Judge, Torres, Frazier, etc. It's a cycle. Every team goes through it.

If you get a World Series and 4 or 5 young All-Stars out of depleting all your top-prospects, it's well worth it.
   100. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 10, 2019 at 08:23 PM (#5878244)
The Yankees are similarly barren of top prospects after promoting Sanchez, Judge, Torres, Frazier, etc. It's a cycle. Every team goes through it.
The Yankee still have 3 players in the MLB Pipeline Top 100, #s 62, 63 & 68, while Boston has just one, #86.
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