The Boston Red Sox are getting a total makeover.
Less than two years removed from a World Series title, Ben Cherington has stepped down as the general manager of the team. Of course, the move was triggered by ownership hiring Dave Dombrowski as the new president of baseball operations. Setting the 2013 championship aside for a moment (a big deal, I know), the move makes sense — the Sox are about to finish in last place in the AL East for the third time in the last four years. It was time to shake things up.
This leaves baseball fans with one big question — what does this mean for the Red Sox on the field?
Dombrowski is widely respected in circles around the league. He had options to take over plenty of other teams for a lot of money, but in the end, couldn’t resist the allure of Boston.
The Sox have taken some heat from the local media for possibly diving too deep into analytics when it comes to their baseball operations staff. Although that may be the future of the game, it’s also important not to lose focus of what your eyes tell you. Keeping a “baseball mind” around the organization can prove extremely valuable — and that’s exactly what Dombrowski is.
The Red Sox, at least in recent years, seem to be trying to win with a combination of their farm system and free agent signings. That middle ground hasn’t been working. Dombrowski’s reputation is to deal those prospects away for proven big leaguers — which now, obviously, would appear to be the direction the Sox will go in.
I spoke with one NL front office member who likes the move for Boston, but does have one concern. He hopes that Dombrowski, who still has to hire a GM, will go with someone that still airs more on the side of analytics. Since that’s the direction the game is trending, it’s important to keep a heavy focus on, but with a baseball guy like Dombrowski having final say, analytics still won’t drive the organization in the end. Dombrowski seems like he’ll be able to find the right balance.
In terms of the roster in Boston, the source expects a lot of activity (as is the general perception). The Sox have been somewhat hesitant to break ties with their top prospects in recent years. It now appears inevitable the majority of them will be dealt within the next couple seasons.
But the activity isn’t likely to stop there. The big league roster will be involved in a complete overhaul as well, and it sounds like nobody will be untouchable. The same NL front office member said he expects Mookie Betts to be as close to safe as possible, but after that, anyone could be on the move. That’s a pretty big statement to consider with players like Xander Bogaerts currently breaking out, and expected to be an All-Star for the next 10+ years.
Simply put, Dombrowski is a complete wildcard, but that’s not to say he doesn’t know what he’s doing. We need to wait and see what he feels needs to be done to steer the Sox back to success, but his decisions will be highly calculated. In the meantime, we sit here with anticipation.
Frankly, this is exactly what the Red Sox needed. And as fans, it’s going to be thrilling to watch such a high profile team take new form, not to mention the excitement that a flurry of player movement brings to DFS.
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