The Boston Red Sox are putting the finishing touches on a disappointing follow-up to last year's World Series championship. It was easy to predict some changes would be coming in Boston. Those changes started overnight, following a loss to the New York Yankees (box score). The Red Sox fired president Dave Dombrowski on Sunday. The team announced the move Monday morning:
"Four years ago, we were faced with a critical decision about the direction of the franchise," said Henry. "We were extraordinarily fortunate to be able to bring Dave in to lead baseball operations. With a World Series Championship and three consecutive American League East titles, he has cemented what was already a Hall of Fame career."
The Red Sox did not provide official reasoning for Dombrowski's dismissal and will not hold a press conference to discuss the move. Dombrowski, for his part, issued the following statement:
1/Text to me from Dave Dombrowski: "Not much to say.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) September 9, 2019
However, appreciative of my time here. Boston is a great baseball city. Had an exciting few years, however, this season did not go as
we all planned. Enjoyed working with the personnel in our
Dombrowski had been in charge of the Red Sox since August 2015. In three full seasons prior to this one, Dombrowski had fielded teams that had won 93, 93, and 108 games. Even this year's group -- poor relative to the heights reached last October -- is on pace to win 86 games. Nonetheless, Dombrowski won't have the opportunity to right the ship come the offseason.
Dombrowski has been one of the most successful executives in MLB during his career. He first became a general manager with the 1988 Montreal Expos. Three years later, he took over as the first GM in then-Florida Marlins history. It was there that in 1997 Dombrowski won his first World Series. A few years later, Dombrowski would take over the hapless Detroit Tigers, a club he guided to a pair of pennants, albeit no World Series victories. If this is the end for Dombrowski, who turned 63 in July, then it's the completion of a fantastic executive career -- one that will likely see him enshrined in Cooperstown some day.
As for the Red Sox, they'll now turn to a decision-maker-by-committee approach -- at least for the time being. The Red Sox's four-person interim group includes Rachel Ferreira,:
Assistant GM Eddie Romero is going to be part of a group of executives taking over baseball operations with the Red Sox, including Brian O'Halloran and Zack Scott, a source tells ESPN. They are three of the top decision-makers with the Red Sox right now and will work together.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 9, 2019
As with most disappointing teams, the Red Sox have a number of holes to fill this offseason -- at more than $220 million.. The difference is that only the Red Sox have the highest payroll in the league,
Dombrowski's approach last offseason was essentially to keep the band together. He re-signed Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce, and opted against making notable external additions. (He did permit Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly to leave town.) That strategy hasn't paid off -- at least not to the extent that the Red Sox would have liked it to this season.
The question now for Boston is what comes next. Already Mookie Betts, who is just over a year away from free agency. The Red Sox have numerous high-quality players in place -- be it Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Chris Sale, or whomever else -- and so a total rebuild would seem to be a mistake. Still, if there's one thing for certain about the Red Sox right now it's this: Dombrowski won't be the one pulling the strings.