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Thursday, December 10, 2020

Phillies set to hire Dave Dombrowski as team president

Dave Dombrowski has been offered to become the Philadelphia Phillies president of baseball operations, and barring a last minute change of heart, plans to accept the position, according to a person with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the contract is not finalized – but confirmed The Athletic’s report that the parties are in the advanced stages of talks.

Dombrowski, 64 who was building a home in Nashville and working with a group to bring an expansion franchise to the city, has been engaged in extensive talks with Phillies owner John Middleton this past week.

They are hoping to finalize a contract by Friday, a high-ranking Phillies official told USA TODAY Sports.

Dombrowski, who led the Boston Red Sox and Miami Marlins to World Series championships – and the Detroit Tigers to two American League pennants – is the only executive to lead three different franchises to World Series appearances in modern baseball history.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 10, 2020 at 03:29 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dave dombrowski, phillies

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 10, 2020 at 04:08 PM (#5993602)
An interesting hire. DD has been good at the long, slow build (Expos, Marlins II, maybe Tigers II) and he's been good at the "damn the torpedos, spend what you want, let's win it this year" (Marlins I, Tigers I, Red Sox). He's been not so good at spending big but wisely (post-Tigers II, Red Sox post-WS). In short, lots of titles but also some major albatross contracts (Miggy, Price, maybe Sale), some bad rebuilding years and expensive mediocrity.

On paper, the Phils already have some aspects of the post-WS DD team -- two big long-term contracts in Harper and Wheeler, a few ending large-ish contracts in Segura, McCutchen, Nola. Not sure what their farm system looks like. Or those are the aspects of a team primed for a one-time go for it splurge. What they aren't is a team at the start of a rebuild.** Is DD gonna spend to win it all? Will it work if he does? Even if it works, don't be surprised if some Phils' fans are asking whether still having Trevor Bauer and Bryce Harper on the books was really worth it. (Answer is yes.)

** DD was the youungest GM at 31 back in the Expos days. He's now 64. Seems unlikely he'd be interested in a team looking for a (re-)build at that age and his track record. Unless maybe it was as part of an ownership group in Nahsville or wherever.
   2. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 10, 2020 at 04:39 PM (#5993613)
damn the torpedos, spend what you want, let's win it this year" (Marlins I, Tigers I, Red Sox).


I see no reason to think this isn't where the Phillies are. They've already spent (Harper, Wheeler) and presumably DD is on board to take the next step.
   3. bfan Posted: December 10, 2020 at 05:00 PM (#5993620)
The Phillies owner is on record as being willing to spend money stupidly. That seems right in DD's wheelhouse.

I assume this is a complete reversal of the attitude which led to the whispers of trying to trade Wheeler to reduce payroll.
   4. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 10, 2020 at 05:44 PM (#5993632)
He's been not so good at spending big but wisely....


I'm hard pressed to think of any GM type with some time at the decision-making helm who has done well in this regard. I am confident someone will correct me if there are any I'm forgetting.
   5. Jay Seaver Posted: December 10, 2020 at 05:54 PM (#5993636)
4 - I hate to say it, but Cashman? The Yankees have stayed right up around the tax threshold for as long as there's been one and have never been out of contention for more than a year or two.

They seem to be doing okay out in Chavez Ravine as well.
   6. asinwreck Posted: December 10, 2020 at 06:17 PM (#5993642)
"Hi, Dave? It's Rick. Congratulations. Say, any interest in trading Joe for Tony?"
   7. "bothsidesism" word 57i66135 Posted: December 10, 2020 at 09:48 PM (#5993664)
this is not a clear and obvious mistake. i'll take it.
   8. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: December 10, 2020 at 09:56 PM (#5993667)
@5: Jacoby Ellsbury?
   9. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: December 10, 2020 at 10:15 PM (#5993668)
Because of Walt's comment I went to look at Miggy's contract:

$30M Vesting Option Option vests if Cabrera finishes in the top ten of MVP voting in 2023


And I'm glad I did, because 2020 has been so light on humor.
   10. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: December 10, 2020 at 11:30 PM (#5993675)
Dave casts a weary eye over Theo's CV and says "pffft, I'm going for 3 different franchise WS titles, suck on that Epstein!"
   11. Jay Seaver Posted: December 11, 2020 at 09:19 AM (#5993695)
@5: Jacoby Ellsbury?


If the standard is going to be perfection, then, no, nobody has "done well". I suppose Ellsbury illustrates that Cashman has done well enough at the rest of his job that his contract hasn't really hurt the team and that the Yankees have advantages other teams don't to mitigate it.
   12. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 11, 2020 at 09:27 AM (#5993697)
If the standard is going to be perfection, then, no, nobody has "done well".


I think if you are talking about the big money FA signings the "nobody has done well" path is probably the right one. The reality is most FAs are signed for what they've done rather than what they will do. Excluding deals signed in the last couple of years the biggest contracts ever are;

Stanton - 2015-2027
A-Rod - 2008-2017
Cabrera - 2016-2023
Pujols - 2012-2021
Cano - 2014-2023
Votto - 2014-2023
Price - 2016-2022
Kershaw - 2014-2020
Fielder - 2012-2020
Scherzer - 2015-2021

That's a lot of dead weight in there. One thing that seems to be happening is that in the last few years the uber-elite are reaching free agency or signing extensions younger. The first A-Rod deal is a good match for deals like Mookie, Trout, Machado in that it was genuinely worth the money largely because the Rangers (then Yankees) got a good chunk of his prime. The second deal wasn't.
   13. GregD Posted: December 11, 2020 at 12:32 PM (#5993722)
Every long contract looks terrible at the end for reasons people have posted about. Teams prefer a seven year $210 million deal over say four years $180 million. And they offer the contracts on the grounds that the early years will be worth far far more than the salary and the later years far far less.

Do our calculations change if we use that standard? Some of the contracts that end up looking awful turn out to be meh in retrospect, once the sour taste of the last years fades , if I recall.
   14. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 11, 2020 at 02:42 PM (#5993736)
@BNightengale
Dave Dombrowski said that #MLB told him that the timetable for expansion likely would be moved back, which is one of the reasons he changed his mind about staying in Nashville and joined the #Philies.


I would have guessed if anything, the pandemic would accelerate the timetable for expansion.
   15. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: December 11, 2020 at 02:57 PM (#5993739)
I would have guessed if anything, the pandemic would accelerate the timetable for expansion.


I would guess it has accelerated MLB's interest but also decelerated the interest of potential investors leaving MLB with the option of waiting or lowering their asking price. Since the latter would have caused MLB owners to break out in hives...
   16. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 11, 2020 at 03:07 PM (#5993741)
Plus the appetite for publicly financed stadiums will probably take a backseat to, you know (gestures in general direction of everything)
   17. bfan Posted: December 11, 2020 at 03:57 PM (#5993748)
Plus the appetite for publicly financed stadiums will probably take a backseat to, you know (gestures in general direction of everything)


While that might be true for an existing team with an existing perfectly good stadium that just wants a new one, I do not think that is true for a city that wants to attract a franchise.
   18. Walt Davis Posted: December 11, 2020 at 06:21 PM (#5993762)
#13 ... sometimes. Cano's a good example. The PED suspensions screw everything up in terms of deciding on final overall value/$ (and of course whether he needed the PEDs to achieve what he did) but put all of that aside. In Seattle, he put up 23 WAR for $120 M ... which included the first suspension which also saved Seattle $12 M so $108. In theory, that 23 WAR was worth $180 M give or take. That was pretty much right where he was supposed to be -- certainly 30 WAR for $240 M would be just fine so he needed just 7 WAR over the last 5 seasons for that contract to break even.** And frankly even if that 7 WAR never arrived, he'd given the Ms what they most wanted, being useful for the last 5 years would just be icing on the cake really (recognizing that cake without icing is often a bit dry and less flavorful so you almost always want icing).

Naturally when a team like Seattle decides to trade a player like Cano in the middle of the contract, the receiving team realizes that they missed out on the nice part of the deal and so the trading team generally has to eat a lot of money ... in this case roughly equal to the excess value gained which Seattle did by eating the contracts of Bruce and Swarzak and tossing in some extra money too. Cano flopped in his first season with the Mets, was good but injured a bit this year, now suspended which saves the Mets money. Add it all up, put the suspensions and covid discounts in and seems like he'll still produce at least 24.5 WAR for about $190 which is a perfectly fine deal.

Of the contracts in #2 ... Stanton did pretty much what he was supposed to do in Miami but that included a ton of excess value. The Marlins had to (tentatively) eat most of that excess value. The Yanks got Stanton at a price that refelected what I roughly projected he'd be worth over the remainder of the contract (10/$265) while giving the Marlins pretty much nothing in return. Pretty much a straight "would you like to take over my mortgage" "sure as long as you make that balloon payment that's coming up" kind of deal. Unfortunately the guy just can't stay healthy and it's unlikely the Yanks will get the 30+ WAR they were looking for. Anyway it was originally a contract of the Trout, Mookie, ARod I variety and we can certainly question whether Stanton was good and consistent enough to deserve that sort of contract but mainly it's a lesson that injuries can derail any deal -- if Mookie gets only 150 PA in his age 29-30 seasons, that deal's not gonna look great either -- key difference being Stanton already had a track record as a bit fragile.

ARod II was clearly too long at the time but still worked out to 23 WAR for about $250 M (suspension) which is bad but not disastrous. Miggy II was just a bad idea given it was signed 2 years before FA covering very risky ages. Pujols was a couple of years too long but otherwise I thought it was fine at the time but clearly has worked out poorly. I questioned the length of the Votto extension but he's already produced 28 WAR so even if he produces nothing for 4 years that's OK for $225. Fielder was pretty clearly a mistake but the Tigers made a great deal to get out of it then I think most of the Rangers' costs ended up covered by insurance -- if your big-money FA is gonna get hurt, better financially if it's a Fielder/Belle/Wright career-ending, can't take the field at all type of injury.

Pitchers I mostly conveniently stay out of. It's almost all about injury. Otherwise pitcher age-related decline seems a funny thing to me and, if healthy, most of them seem to deliver at least useful value such that it's not a disaster and of course some age extremely well. (I also trust WARpit a lot less although that's gut feeling, not analytics.) And pitcher injuries are more likely to take out an entire season or an entire career. But Kershaw 14-20 was 34 WAR and one CYA so no complaints. Scherzer is already at 37 WAR and 2 CYA. Price didn't work out of course -- injuries and maybe decline have limited him to 10 WAR for $120 M so far and those should have been the surplus value years from the team perspective. But with the Red Sox money, he has a chance to produce enough to break even for LA.

I'm trying not to be too 20/20 hindsight here. My memory is I was fine with the original Stanton deal, noted its heavily deferred structure and, when he was on the block, pretty much pegged what he was traded for and how much money the Marlins would have to eat and thought the Yanks got him at a fair price. I never understood how the Yanks or ARod got to the point of actually opting out and pretty much everybody was scratching their heads when he somehow pulled off that deal. I was quite critical of the Miggy extension, the Fielder contract and thought Detroit made a great trade. I originally didn't like the Cano deal but the more I looked at him and his comps, I kept getting a projection around 30 WAR which made it just right and he's not quite gonna get there but close enough. I recall making jokes about the Reds paying Votto into the 2nd Ted Cruz administration (spooky eh). And my memory is that I pegged Pujols to about 8/$200 in real time -- which would have also turned out badly but not nearly as badly as 10/$240.

Anway ... Votto, Kershaw and Scherzer have been good contracts for the teams; Cano has been fine; Stanton might make it back to fine but probably will end up in the "bad not disastrous" cateory with ARod; Miggy, Pujols, Fielder all disasters; Price I'll wait to see it finish but probably bad. Fielder is really the only one I'll say clearly doesn't belong -- i.e. he was never a good enough player to justify that risk.

Lessons? (1) Everything after age 36 should be considered strictly as deferred money and any actual value is just a nice to have. That means it will almost never make sense to sign a player (at least a position player) through ages 38-40 when they are already in their 30s (dependent on how heavily discounted the AAV is of course). I don't imagine we'll see it again anytime soon. (2) possibly focus on the more athletic players. It's a mixed bag here -- Cano good but ARod was in great shape, Stanton and Pujols were good all-around players while Votto is not a very athletic guy (but also doesn't seem to be aging well). I expect Mookie and Trout to work out just fine; probably Machado too; Harper I'm not so sure about but definitely the least athletic of those 4.

** Give or take. It was signed a long time ago when maybe $8/WAR waasn't the best working figure at signing.
   19. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: December 12, 2020 at 12:18 AM (#5993782)
I never understood how the Yanks or ARod got to the point of actually opting out and pretty much everybody was scratching their heads when he somehow pulled off that deal.


All season, Cashman had said if ARod opted out NY wouldn't bring him back. No matter what anyone might say about Cashman, he's straightforward. Heck, he sat on the stage at the press conference introducing Rafael Soriano and admitted he argued against the signing.

Anyway, during the World Series, we got the notorious opt-out announcement from Boras. After all the posturing—including Hank (not Hal) Steinbrenner giving the standard Steinbrenner kind of response: "It’s a shame, but we are all in agreement: myself, my dad, my brother, all the baseball people. If you don’t want to be a Yankee and paid what you’re being paid, we don’t want you, that’s the bottom line. You’d be hard-pressed to argue that point. If you don’t understand the magnitude of being a Yankee and understand what that means, and being the highest-paid player in baseball, I think it’s pretty obvious.”—ARod finagled a meeting with Hank and said whatever was necessary to placate Steinbrenner. Then Hank gave ARod the new deal. I never heard of another NY contract with any player being done that involved Hank and we've only heard about Hal since that ARod deal (to say nothing of Hank dying earlier this year).
   20. Jeff Francoeur's OPS Posted: December 12, 2020 at 06:24 AM (#5993783)
Dombrowski can bullshit with the best of them. He took the job because Middleton wrote him a $20M check. It had nothing to do with the Nashville venture.
   21. GregD Posted: December 12, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5993797)
Thanks Walt! That’s a great take
   22. puck Posted: December 12, 2020 at 03:38 PM (#5993816)
Wasn't there a period where Cashman got himself into some trouble (maybe when the Giambi/Teixeira contracts were the bad value phases) and the Yankees were somewhat constrained by being over the cap?

It seems like he learned from that with their recent efforts to remain under the cap.

Though it seems like they and the Dodgers (and the Red Sox too?)could smash the cap every year even with the fines. I guess the loss of bonus money would be bad though. At least Cashman doesn't seem to have to trade good players to get rid of the bad contracts.
   23. Hank Gillette Posted: December 13, 2020 at 09:39 PM (#5993956)
I think the best thing you can say about Dombrowski is that the Phils know what they are getting.

That is also the worst thing.
   24. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 14, 2020 at 10:09 AM (#5994030)
Wasn't there a period where Cashman got himself into some trouble (maybe when the Giambi/Teixeira contracts were the bad value phases) and the Yankees were somewhat constrained by being over the cap?

Here's the Yankees in 2011 announcing they need to avoid the luxury tax by 2014. In 2014 they indeed were under $200 million for the first time in 7 years. However this was due to the Deus Ex Machina of Alex Rodriguez being suspended for the entire 2014 season, and they still weren't at their goal of sub-$189 million anyway.

As of 2011 the Yankees' big contracts were all set to expire by the end of 2013 except The Rod, Sabathia and Teixeira. However by that time, the likes of Rivera, Posada, Cano, AJ Burnett, Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher had been replaced by Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann, Beltran, Ichiro, Tanaka, and Kuroda. Net savings: nil.

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