The Boston Red Sox fired president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski on Monday, just one year removed from a World Series championship.
The team said a search for his replacement will begin immediately. In the meantime, assistant general managers Brian O’Halloran, Eddie Romero and Zack Scott will lead the operations department, and senior vice president Raquel Ferreira will take on an expanded role within the transition team.
Ferreira is in her 21st year with the Red Sox and is already one of the highest-ranking women in a Major League Baseball front office.
“Four years ago, we were faced with a critical decision about the direction of the franchise,” said principal owner John Henry in a statement. “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.”
Dombrowski’s contract ran through 2020 and he was credited with building the 2018 World Series championship roster, including turning to Alex Cora as manager prior to last season. Dombrowski, 63, was hired in August 2015 and keyed the acquisitions of pitchers Chris Sale (via trade), David Price (free agency) and slugger J.D. Martinez.
“Surprised. I’m shocked, honestly,” Cora said Sunday night after hearing about the front-office shakeup. “Right now, I don’t have too much to say. We’ll talk about it tomorrow. This is a guy that gave me a chance to come here and be a big-league manager. It’s one of those that they just told me, so I’m not ready to talk about it.”
More monumental changes could be in store for the Red Sox from top to bottom. Boston (76-67) began Monday 17 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East and eight games behind the Oakland A’s for the second wild card spot.
Martinez can opt out of the final three years of his deal in November and 2018 MVP Mookie Betts is eligible for free agency in 2020. Because Betts is projected to fetch more than $25 million in his final season of arbitration, many team observers expect the Red Sox to trade him in an effort to restock a farm system depleted by the go-for-broke mantra Dombrowski followed for several seasons.
Whether Boston can maneuver to keep key pieces is uncertain largely because of a payroll exceeding $200 million. That includes Sale, who signed a five-year, $145 million deal in spring training but was shut down for the 2019 season with elbow issues. The left-hander went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA, the worst season of his career, before being placed on the injured list.
Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi signed a four-year, $68 million deal despite a steep history of injuries and has contributed little in 2019 after starting the year on the injured list. Price re-upped with the team after the World Series and the trio combined will cost Boston nearly $80 million per season the next three years.
–Field Level Media