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Monday, September 09, 2019

Dave Dombrowski Fired

I don’t have a lot to say on this at the late hour but the title kind of covers it and it deserves a thread. After four plus seasons, three division titles and 108 win season capped with a World Series title the Sox have let GM (I don’t care what his title was, that’s what he was) go. Eddie Romero (not that one) will take over for now.

What the next step will be is obviously the big question. The first job of the next person will be to make Mookie Betts unspeakably rich. Beyond that the person will inherit a talented roster and money to spend so presumably this will be a job that is likely coveted by many. For now all I’ll say is well done Dave. You can’t do much better than he did in his time here and while 2019 has been a downer he’s always getting a thumbs up in my book. While he made a lot of moves and worked through the minor league system the reality is he didn’t miss too much when choosing which players to unload and which ones to keep.

Onward we go.

Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 09, 2019 at 12:16 AM | 27 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. villageidiom Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:28 AM (#5877707)
For now all I’ll say is well done Dave. You can’t do much better than he did in his time here and while 2019 has been a downer he’s always getting a thumbs up in my book. While he made a lot of moves and worked through the minor league system the reality is he didn’t miss too much when choosing which players to unload and which ones to keep.
This is absolutely true and was his biggest strength, IMO. He also did (IMO) a great job at identifying which players to pursue. Unless there's some secret knowledge about which pitchers are most likely to get injured that he's missing out on, he brought in the right guys to get the job done in the short term.

Having said all that...

I was telling folks earlier this year about my old fraternity chapter, that went from this small but spirited group to a behemoth of positive energy. The key was to overhaul the recruiting program and teach them about the chapter not according to how it was, but how we wanted it to be. In 18 months everything was different, as the people who we brought in and trained had become the majority and set the expectations for everyone else. That momentum continued for the last 25+ years and is amazing in retrospect. But the one guy who overhauled the recruiting program didn't get much credit for it, because at the time we didn't know the long-term impact his work would have. Do things that pay off in the long run, you seldom get recognized for the value you produce. Do things that look good in the short run but give little attention to the long-run stuff, you get praised.

While Dombrowski did a great job of identifying which prospects to keep and which to trade... He wouldn't have had so many of either without Ben Cherington's work. And while I'm thrilled with the championships we've had, it's very easy to laud Dombrowski for short-term success when we haven't felt his long-term impacts quite yet.
   2. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 09, 2019 at 11:00 AM (#5877730)
I feel pretty good about this. I never felt Dombrowski was meant to be a long term solution, he was meant to do what he did. Come in, win a bunch, then move on. Assuming they can get it right on the next hire, and the track record there is good even if I'm not as positive about Cherington as vi, then things should be fine.
   3. jmurph Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:25 PM (#5877775)
1. The team (apparently, according to Drellich) isn't hosting a press conference today, the day after they fired their PBO.
2. From Speier:
In re-signing Eovaldi and then reaching a long-term deal with Chris Sale, Dombrowski put the Sox in a position where – based on their payroll projections and a significant desire to get under the luxury tax threshold sometime in the next two years to reset the penalty structure – they’ll likely end up parting with J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, or possibly even both this winter.


Not great.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5877778)
In re-signing Eovaldi and then reaching a long-term deal with Chris Sale, Dombrowski put the Sox in a position where – based on their payroll projections and a significant desire to get under the luxury tax threshold sometime in the next two years to reset the penalty structure – they’ll likely end up parting with J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, or possibly even both this winter.


You can't tell me that ownership didn't sign off on the Sale deal.
   5. jmurph Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:32 PM (#5877780)
You can't tell me that ownership didn't sign off on the Sale deal.

The Athletic story has Dombrowski having to "push" the owners to sign off on Sale. So it seems like that's now been held against him.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:37 PM (#5877781)
The Athletic story has Dombrowski having to "push" the owners to sign off on Sale. So it seems like that's now been held against him.

Sounds like scapegoating.
   7. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:47 PM (#5877786)
I suppose one can make an argument that age and being mostly limited to a DH role means not paying much, if anything, to buy out J. D. Martinez’s opt out (which he might not even exercise), although you’d think the Red Sox would know a top hitter in that role can produce considerable value. But how do you let Betts walk, or trade him, rather than paying him fair market value? His kind doesn’t come along that often. It seems like they’re setting it up to blame Dombrowski for overpaying others, thereby precluding resigning Betts.
   8. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:54 PM (#5877788)
No I think this move clearly puts responsibility for any Betts extension (or not extension) on their shoulders and on the new guy's. If Betts-related negotations/contract goes bad or good, no one is going to blame or praise someone who wasn't involved in the most important part of the negotiations.
   9. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 09, 2019 at 01:59 PM (#5877791)
The one constant throughout the last 18 years has been ownership. I fully expect the Sox to continue us to be very good, to spend lots of money and to re-sign Mookie. The pieces beyond that will move around a bit but that’s my expectation.
   10. pikepredator Posted: September 09, 2019 at 04:20 PM (#5877841)
The one constant throughout the last 18 years has been ownership. I fully expect the Sox to continue us to be very good, to spend lots of money and to re-sign Mookie. The pieces beyond that will move around a bit but that’s my expectation.


agreed. outside of eovaldi (who got a contract based on what he did, not what he could be expected to do) and the failure to bolster the bullpen (which was an obvious misstep during the offseason), I'm happy with this team's players and $$ situation. Lots of talent, this year just didn't pan out like it might've.

Dombrowski delivered the goods. I can't imagine this did anything to tarnish his image in the baseball world and he should be able to take the helm of another team on the cusp of success. Red Sox need someone to do a "restock-while-winning" strategy, which isn't DD.

   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 04:49 PM (#5877854)
Red Sox need someone to do a "restock-while-winning" strategy, which isn't DD.


Didn't he do that for a long time in Detroit?
   12. villageidiom Posted: September 09, 2019 at 06:26 PM (#5877883)
You can't tell me that ownership didn't sign off on the Sale deal.
The Athletic story has Dombrowski having to "push" the owners to sign off on Sale. So it seems like that's now been held against him.
Sounds like scapegoating.

If Dombrowski had to work extra hard to convince ownership that extending Sale was the right thing to do, and they eventually trusted his judgment, you think it shouldn't be held against Dombrowski? I'm not saying ownership is blameless here, but if it was Dombrowski's idea, and he advocated for it, and he needed to convince them that it was a good idea, then he should abso#######lutely be held accountable for it.

I recall the feeling here was that Sale was a big injury risk but was so good when healthy that he was worth the risk. It's easy in retrospect to say he wasn't. Regardless of whether it was a good idea or not, it worked out poorly for 2019. The rotation was babied at the start of the season, to minimize injury risk after the extended 2018. They lost a lot of games out of the gate. As the season went on they had the injuries the babying was supposed to prevent. In terms of strategy - sign injury-prone players, then ease them into the season - was an abject failure for this season. I doubt that gets laid at the feet of ownership. Maybe it was Cora's plan, or maybe Cora was executing Dombrowski's plan. I don't know, but yesterday's firing gives me an idea of who it might have been.
   13. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 09, 2019 at 06:30 PM (#5877884)
Didn't he do that for a long time in Detroit?


He did. This notion that DD does not know how to build a contender while restocking with prospects is bunk. The guy is smart. He was paid to win now and he did. I can see with one year left on the contract why the Red Sox maybe wanted to change direction. Whatever the reasons are for the firing, I don't think anyone of us thought this was going to happen this way at this time.

We all know the Betts negotiations are going to be tough and expensive, however DD did get Xander locked in and that is looking like a bargain so far! I wasn't a huge fan of the Sale contract as his durability issues will continue to present themselves throughout the contract.

Maybe DD was the one who insisted on easing the pitching staff into the season? They started like cr*p and have just not been able to make up the ground against some really strong teams this year.Not sure who's idea that was but I'd suggest going into 2020 the SP will have a few more innings in those arms before the season starts.
   14. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 08:59 PM (#5877914)
If Dombrowski had to work extra hard to convince ownership that extending Sale was the right thing to do, and they eventually trusted his judgment, you think it shouldn't be held against Dombrowski? I'm not saying ownership is blameless here, but if it was Dombrowski's idea, and he advocated for it, and he needed to convince them that it was a good idea, then he should abso#######lutely be held accountable for it.

Sounds to me like the owners deflecting blame onto the guy they just fired.
   15. Nasty Nate Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:27 PM (#5877926)
Blame in general is implied by them firing him right now. It's not some hidden thing.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:29 PM (#5877928)
Blame in general is implied by them firing him right now. It's not some hidden thing.

I mean the "he pushed us to sign Sale" thing. There's no need for that. It's petty.
   17. The Yankee Clapper Posted: September 09, 2019 at 09:50 PM (#5877933)
Blame in general is implied by them firing him right now. It's not some hidden thing.
True, but it’s rather strange for a team to issue a press release providing no reason for the firing, and stating there will be no further press availability on the matter.
   18. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:06 PM (#5877935)
True, but it’s rather strange for a team to issue a press release providing no reason for the firing,


I agree. Why not just release the generic statement consisting of platitudes like the team wanting to explore a different direction, etc.? The whole thing is just odd.

I'm still banking on photos and someone's partner being involved in some shenanigans, at least that makes for a far more entertaining story.
   19. Joe Bivens, Slack Rumped Rutabaga Head Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:21 PM (#5877938)
Funny, but as a Red Sox fan, I don't feel I'm owed an explanation for the firing. It was a business decision, AFAIC, and that's that. How much I or many other fans pay attention to the team going forward depends on how interesting they are to watch. If they suck and they're boring, I'm less inclined to watch. So, it's on them to entertain me, and beyond that, I have no say in how they decide to do it. My only recourse is to watch or not watch.

This ownership has given us 4 championships. Before 2004, we would have given our left nut for one. Now, we're a bit spoiled. They have been competitive most every year since 1967, with a few exceptions. We have zero to complain about, yet we do. And by "we" I mean you pants pissers (you know who you are).
   20. Toby Posted: September 09, 2019 at 10:55 PM (#5877945)
I was fine with hiring Dombrowski and I am fine with firing him. When you fire someone so unceremoniously, it seems clear the relationship had broken down.

The thing that keeps coming back to me is that when this ownership group took over, they pledged to be a “$100 million player development machine.” This caused some people around here to panic because they focused on the $100M part. The payroll was already around $100M and they thought it signaled a plan to have a self-imposed salary cap rather than try to compete like the big market franchise it is. Others focused on the “player development machine” and were encouraged that the Sox would try to be like the A’s, only with a boatload of resources.

I think the latter view has been borne out, at least until Dombrowski. He did what he was hired to do. He was what we thought he was. But he was in no way a “$100M player development machine.” We have neither developed players nor stuck to a restrained budget.

I liked it when we did.
   21. villageidiom Posted: September 10, 2019 at 09:16 AM (#5878012)
True, but it’s rather strange for a team to issue a press release providing no reason for the firing, and stating there will be no further press availability on the matter.
Is it?
   22. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:34 AM (#5878052)
We have neither developed players


Of the top 12 players in WAR this year;

9 are homegrown (Mookie, EdRod, Devers, Bogaerts, Workman, Benintendi, Bradley, Walden, Vazquez)
1 was acquired in trade using homegrown players (Sale)
2 were free agents

The Sox have done a pretty remarkable job of developing talent. I realize the minor league system isn’t currently magnificent but part of the reason for that is that they’ve emptied it out.

There is a level of doom and gloom in the wake of Dombrowski’s firing that confounds me. This is a team that won 108 last year and still has oodles of talent. Unless you are assuming that Price and Sale are completely cooked and/or that ownership is suddenly going to be unwilling to spend money the Sox are well suited going forward.
   23. Nasty Nate Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:39 AM (#5878055)
There is a level of doom and gloom in the wake of...
...every significant Sox news, ever? ;)
   24. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:44 AM (#5878057)
Fair point. I blame Larry Lucchino.
   25. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5878058)
There is a level of doom and gloom in the wake of Dombrowski’s firing that confounds me. This is a team that won 108 last year and still has oodles of talent. Unless you are assuming that Price and Sale are completely cooked and/or that ownership is suddenly going to be unwilling to spend money the Sox are well suited going forward.

That's what makes the firing odd. If the team was in the ditch, sure, bring in a younger guy you want to shape the next 10 years. But Dombrowski has a long history of being an excellent trader, and maintaining good teams.
   26. Jose is Absurdly Unemployed Posted: September 10, 2019 at 10:58 AM (#5878064)
I don’t think it’s that odd. I mentioned it elsewhere over the weekend (before the firing) that letting DD go would be kind of the administrative equivalent of the axiom of letting a guy go a year too early rather than a year too late. I’d have been content keeping Dombrowski but if ownership didn’t want to with just one year left on his deal this is probably the time to do it. That Dombrowski has historically been very good doesn’t mean he’s going to continue to be very good.

If it was me I wouldn’t have fired him on performance alone but it seems clear there is some kind of personal issue at work here as well.

With all that said the Sox have hired three GMs under this ownership group (well four if you count the one MikePort season) and frankly they’ve done a hell of a job. Two of them are Hall of Farmers and the third, while not a guy I was a huge fan of, did a more than credible job. If the low end of things is Cherington-quality the Sox are in good hands.

The Sox have frankly in my mind entered that Yankees/Cardinals level of performance where they should be expected to know what they are doing. The track record since JWH bought the club is damned good.
   27. Toby Posted: September 10, 2019 at 01:27 PM (#5878112)
Jose, I mean under Dombrowski we have not developed players.

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