As the president of baseball operations for the Red Sox, Dave Dombrowski is tasked with a job that sounds like a dream, but can be a thick slice of hell in reality. Being responsible for making the moves necessary to keep a team like the Red Sox not only poised to contend but poised to win is a job that takes a wealth of knowledge, an excellent front office team, and scouts feeding you the best information available. For Dombrowski, a loaded farm system and deep pockets are also a must. While it hasn’t been vogue for general managers to basically raze the farm system to bring in talent since the 1980s when Yankee owner George Steinbrenner operated that way, Dombrowski has taken a page out the Steinbrenner manual and done just that.
It can’t be said that neither lacked success in doing so. From 1976 through 1981, the Yankees went on to four World Series, winning a pair in 1977 and 1978. While they never won one throughout the 1980s, they still had the best overall record in baseball for the decade which is an honor of sorts. Similarly, Dombrowski has made the same system work for him. In Detroit, he traded almost every legitimate prospect in the organization that he could get value for. In doing so, he built teams that brought home a pair of pennants and four central division titles in a row.
In Boston, he took the same approach when he was hired to overhaul the team. No one was a sacred cow, and prospects are valuable trading chips. He dealt prospects to bring in the likes of Chris Sale, Drew Pomeranz, and Craig Kimbrel according to Boston.com. Right now, it appears to be working. Despite Dustin Pedroia being out and losing a revolving door full of pitchers throughout the season, Boston has kept chugging along on a pace to win 113 games according to the Boston Globe, which will be the most since the Yankees won 114 games in 1998.
The cost to the Red Sox in the moment is two-fold. On one hand, they really don’t have anyone to call up from the farm system to fill in any position for more than a few games should a rash of injuries strike them. They would be forced to bring in help from the outside. The second issue, which is only an issue to the front office and not on the field, is the payroll. Just like the days of George Steinbrenner, the Red Sox payroll is high. Currently sitting at $237 million for the season, they are stuck with a 62.5 percent tax on everything over the $195 million luxury tax threshold. Then they also lose 10 spots on their first pick in next year’s draft, so the farm system takes another hit.
Dave Dombrowski is looking like the smartest man alive this past week— Sox Lunch (@Soxlunch) August 4, 2018
As per Mass Live, Dombrowski was quite frank in talking about the hit the farm system has taken, but he believes it is probably going to be worth it.
“Our farm system has taken a hit. A lot of that’s my responsibility because we’ve traded a lot of guys. But it’s amazing. There was not a trade — even trades that were made — that we were eliminated from because of players. Now, eventually it might have gotten to the point where it would have happened but we were preliminarily in any conversation. This year, I don’t know what will happen, but we have a chance to win, so we’re all in.”