What exactly are the Red Sox hiding from?
The team parted ways with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski late Sunday night, which is a more polite way of saying the Red Sox “fired” him.
But that’s what they did. And they confirmed it in a press release on Monday morning, including quotes from principal owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, and president and CEO Sam Kennedy. However, their praise for Dombrowski in that press release doesn’t really answer any of the many questions that everyone outside the organization has about Dombrowski’s departure, and the timing of the move.
As of right now, Red Sox ownership refuses to hold a press conference to shed some light on the situation. They don’t care about our questions. At least, they don’t want us to hear their answers.
But why? I’m confused. What don’t they want us to know?
Dombrowski had one year left on his contract, and much like he rewarded several players with new big-money contracts after winning last year’s World Series, he probably wanted a new contract himself, for, you know, putting that World Series team together.
Red Sox ownership was obviously hesitant to do this. That much was said in a Boston Globe column this week, written by Alex Speier. In Speier’s column, he leads with a quote from an anonymous Red Sox source.
“Is Dave creative enough to get us through this?”
Speier says the question was asked — back in May — by “a member of the Red Sox organization” when discussing Dombrowski’s future with the club.
Seeing that The Boston Globe is owned by Henry, the speculation here is that he’s the anonymous source asking the question about Dombrowski’s creativity. It’s also speculation on my part to believe that the “this” he refers to when questioning Dombrowski’s creativity is “money.”
Later in the column, Speier points to several creative trades made by other MLB clubs this season that shed the salary of a big-money player while landing younger, less-expensive talent in return, all while still putting a playoff contender on the field. One of those examples was the job former Red Sox GM Mike Hazen did with the Arizona Diamondbacks at this year’s trade deadline.
Hazen dumped Zack Greinke’s huge contract by sending him to Houston for four prospects. But he also acquired 24-year-old starter Zac Gallen from Miami, in exchange for a prospect shortstop. Gallen is 2-2 with a 2.61 ERA in seven starts with the Diamondbacks, who are just 2.5 games out of a Wild Card spot in the National League playoff race.
Speier describes the Red Sox’ plan moving forward to be “parting ways with elite players to maintain what they consider a manageable and sustainable payroll as well as championship aspirations.”
That’s a bold claim. So bold, that it must be coming from ownership. The same ownership that just fired its president of baseball operations after questioning his “creativity” all season long. The same president of baseball operations that just put together one of the most dominant teams the league has ever seen.
What didn’t the Red Sox think he could do? Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back is how they all felt about Mookie Betts. There must’ve been a major disagreement on how to handle his upcoming contract situation. Because that’s a pretty big situation.
Betts has one more year left on his deal. He’s going to want at least $300 million. Clearly, Dombrowski and Red Sox ownership disagreed on how they should handle Betts’ contract situation.
In Speier’s column, he says that Dombrowski “put the Sox in a position where they’ll likely end up parting with J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts, or possibly even both this winter.” Another wild claim. But again, it has to be coming from ownership.
The takeaway is that somebody wanted to pay Betts, and somebody else didn’t. And it sure sounds like it’s the Red Sox that don’t want to pay him.
I’d be hiding from that too.
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