Boston Red Sox

Dombrowski: 'You're always on the same page with your ownership'


Dombrowski: 'You're always on the same page with your ownership'

BOSTON -- Almost two full years into his tenure as the Red Sox' top baseball executive, Dave Dombrowski has done what he was brought here to do: Turn the Red Sox around.

His trades have been net positives to this point, and his best move will likely go down as the deal for the expected 2017 American League Cy Young winner, Chris Sale.


"I have no feeling one way or the other on it," Dombrowski said of his nickname ‘Dealer Dave.’ "It's been used for such a long time period. It makes no difference to me."

As Dombrowski sees it, the farm system is starting to regrow. The Sox president of baseball operations noted that new talent has come "behind the scenes" at the lower levels.

"Really, starting to build that back-end where they can continue to grow, that, if some of these players here at the major-league level a few years down the road decide to go free agency, or you end up contemplating making trades, I think you’re in a spot where right now you’re starting to get more of those players back within the system," Dombrowski said on the CSNNE Baseball Show podcast. "This past year, once we got through the winter meetings -- and of course we made the big trades, and traded a lot of players -- I thought at that point we had pretty much done what we needed from a big perspective.

"And I think what’s incumbent upon you, if you’re doing things the way you want to in charge of the baseball operations -- and again, sometimes you have to make adjustments because ownership’s at a different spot -- you’re not only worried about winning now, we want to win a world championship right now, but you are looking into the future."

The day of the trade deadline, Dombrowski noted there were some players “we chose not to trade, really is what it came down to.” He’s been talking this way for a while.

Per a report from Boston Sports Journal last week, Dombrowski was told by his bosses not to deal the organization’s top prospects. Dombrowski denied the event occurred, but the report noted a most plausible reality: There was no philosophical tension between Dombrowski and his bosses.

The topic leads to a broader question of control in the Red Sox organization, one that was prevalent in the Theo Epstein-Larry Lucchino years.

Think back to some words from Ben Cherington in early August 2015, shortly before he left the organization, and right when Larry Lucchino did.

“Everybody has got a boss,” Cherington said. “Unless you're the owner, everybody has got a boss.”

That never really changes. The concept of autonomy is far-fetched. Execs never act alone when it comes to big choices.

It's certainly possible Dombrowski doesn’t have to jump through as many hoops as Cherington did. No one’s going to overrule Dombrowski if he says, "Hey, we like Eduardo Nunez more than Jed Lowrie." But Dombrowski himself noted ownership’s involvement in the decision to cut Pablo Sandoval -- and that should be how it works. Sox president and newly named CEO Sam Kennedy runs the organization’s overall budget and is in constant communication with Dombrowski.

"I think I’ve probably have had as autonomous a career you can have as a general manager, president of baseball operations, whatever your title may be," Dombrowski said. “But I think you’re always on the same page with your ownership. You need to be . . . If we were making an option of a player [to send him to the minors], I would not call [ownership] and consult with them, that’s a day-to-day operation. But if you are making a big acquisition for your club or even from philosophical perspective, what you’re going to try to attempt, you always try to keep them in the loop. They own the team. They’re interested. They entrust you to do your job, but you do keep them informed of what’s taking place. I would never make a big move, and never [have] through out my career [without keeping ownership informed] -- and I’d say probably I don't think there’s a general manager in the game that would make a big move that would be in a position where your ownership wouldn’t be aware it was taking place.”

Dombrowski said he always sits down with ownership heading into the trade deadline to say how he sees the club improving.

“I’ve done that for 30 years. And for us [this year], we needed improvement at third base, we needed a little bit of an offense improvement, thinking about a bullpen arm -- great,” Dombrowski said. “And they know what’s taking place. Now, I would not and call them up and say -- and never have, really -- and say, ‘Well, and now Eduardo Nunez is the guy we’re thinking over x player, y player.’ They let you make that decision because that’s your job.

“But before we would announce Eduardo Nunez, I would always send them a note. So I think you just need to keep them in the loop. But as long as you’ve got your marching orders, you understand what they are, our guys let you make those types of baseball decisions on who you end up acquiring. But I think it’s incumbent upon you to make sure that they’re aware of what you’re thinking, and that’s part of your job as an employee. Even again, even though I’ve got a job that has a lot of autonomy attached and a lot of responsibility, I think that’s a responsibility of yourself, to make sure that your ownership knows what ’s going on.”

And would they ever say, ‘No, I don’t like this?’

“Yeah, maybe they would say they don’t like your plan,” Dombrowski said. “I don’t know that I've ever had that happen. But to bring you back . . . when it comes to big-dollar decisions, if you’re adding big dollars or signing a player to a long-term contract, you always get ownership involved in those type of decisions. They need to have input into those type of things.

“A couple years ago when I was with the Tigers, and we ended up really at the trading deadline making a move to trade some players which ended up being some big moves -- David Price, Joakim Soria, Yoenis Cespedes," he said. "At that point, well, I wouldn’t do that on my own without bringing them into play and saying, ‘This is where we are, this is where it goes, this is some of the impact,’ and then I'm given the blessing.’”


Drellich: In appreciation of a peculiar, throwback Red Sox offense


Drellich: In appreciation of a peculiar, throwback Red Sox offense

BALTIMORE — On the night Major League Baseball saw its record for home runs in a season broken, the team with the fewest homers in the American League took a scoreless tie into extra innings.

In the 11th, the Red Sox won in a fashion they hadn’t in 100 years.

Just how peculiar was their 1-0 win over the Orioles, the AL leaders in homers? The lone run came when Jackie Bradley Jr. bolted home on a wild pitch from Brad Brach. So? So, the Red Sox won, but did not officially record a run batted in on the day MLB’s greatest league-wide power show to date was celebrated.


The last time the Sox won an extra-inning game without recording an RBI was a century ago, in 1918. Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth played in that game. 

It’s a weird time for the Sox offense. A weird year, really. Because the Sox are in first place, and have been, but they don’t drive the ball. Their .408 slugging percentage was the fifth lowest in the majors entering Tuesday.

They’re also in the bottom third for strikeouts, the top five in steals and the top 10 in batting average (.260). That's the description of an effective National League offense. An old-school, move-the-line group that makes more contact than all but four teams in the majors. 

The rest of baseball is switching to golf swings to pound low-ball pitching. The Sox look like they could be on a black-and-white newsreel shuffling around the bags.

Should you have faith in that method come the playoffs? There's reason to be dubious.

But the construction should be appreciated for the sake of disparity, both in the context of recent Red Sox history and the sport’s home-run renaissance.

Alex Gordon of the Royals hit the season’s 5,964th home run Tuesday, besting the record mark set in 2000 — dead in the middle of the steroid era.

At present, the Sox lineup is particularly out of sorts because of injuries. Dustin Pedroia should be back Wednesday, but was out of the starting lineup Tuesday. Hanley Ramirez isn’t starting either. Eduardo Nunez’s rehab from a knee injury is coming along, but may not move quite as quickly as expected.

Even if all are healthy, this group remains strange. Because the Sox offense looks so different than what people expect of the Sox, the opposite of what people expect of an American League East-winning team. The opposite of what people expect of any American League team, period.

The arms are the driving force for the Sox, and must remain so if they’re to be successful in October. The sturdiness of the bullpen, tired but resolute, cannot be understated when the workload is extended in September. No team can go 15-3 in extra-inning games without stellar and timely pitching.

But the entirety of pitching coach Carl Willis’ staff has been wonderful. Drew Pomeranz didn’t have his best fastball velocity on Tuesday and was still effective in 6 1/3 innings.

The outfield play can’t be overlooked either. Bradley’s a brilliant patrolman in center field and his leaping catches to rob home runs — he took one away from Chris Davis Tuesday — have been their own attractions.

The Sox, meanwhile, just don't hit many balls far enough to be robbed.

If you’re cut from an old-school cloth, and didn’t really love those station-to-station, home-run powered offenses of yore, this Sox team is for you. There's something to be said for the experience of simply watching something different.


Red Sox score on wild pitch in 11th for 1-0 win over Orioles


Red Sox score on wild pitch in 11th for 1-0 win over Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Though they rank last in the American League in home runs, the Boston Red Sox have found plenty of other ways to win - especially in extra innings.

Jackie Bradley Jr. scored the game's lone run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach in the 11th inning, and Boston used six pitchers to silence the Baltimore Orioles' bats in a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.

Boston has won 10 of 13 to move a season-high 23 games over .500 (87-64) and draw closer to clinching a postseason berth. The Red Sox started the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

It was the second straight tight, lengthy game between these AL East rivals. Boston won in 11 innings on Monday night and is 15-3 in extra-inning games - tying a franchise record for extra-inning wins set in 1943.

In this one, pitching and defense proved to be the winning formula. After Drew Pomeranz allowed five hits over 6 1/3 innings, five relievers held the Orioles hitless the rest of the way.

"They've been able, to a man, hand it off to the next guy and continue to build a bridge until we can scratch out a run - tonight not even with an RBI," manager John Farrell said. "We find a way to push a run across."

With a runner on second and two outs in the 11th, Brach (4-5) walked Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who sidestepped a bouncing pitch from Brach that enabled Bradley to score without a throw.

Joe Kelly (4-1) worked the 10th and Matt Barnes got three outs for his first save.

"They've been unbelievable," Boston's Brock Holt said of the bullpen. "That's why our record is what is in extra-inning games, because of those guys."

The game stretched into extra innings in part because Bradley made a sensational catch to rob Baltimore slugger Chris Davis of a home run in the fifth inning. Bradley quickly judged the trajectory of the ball while running to his left, then left his feet and stretched his arm over the 7-foot wall in center field.

The finish came after Pomeranz and Kevin Gausman locked up in a scoreless duel that was essentially the exact opposite of Monday night's 10-8 slugfest.

Although he didn't get his 17th win, Pomeranz lowered his ERA to 3.15 and set a career high by pitching at least six innings for the 17th time (in 30 starts).

Gausman was even sharper, giving up just three hits over eight innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.

The right-hander retired the first 14 batters he faced before Rafael Devers singled off the right-field wall.

Baltimore threatened in the third inning when Manny Machado hit a two-out double, but he was thrown out by Benintendi trying to score on Jonathan Schoop's single to left field.

No one else got to third base until the sixth, when Baltimore had runners at the corners with two outs before Pomeranz struck out Mark Trumbo with a high, outside fastball.

The Orioles have lost 11 of 13 to fall out of contention.

"They're very frustrated right now," manager Buck Showalter said. "You can imagine grinding as our guys have since February and not being able to push a run like that across in some of these games when we pitch well. That's been a challenge for us. I feel for them because I know how much it means to them."


Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia, who left Monday's game in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his nose, did not start but was used as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning and grounded into a double play. Farrell said Pedroia will likely return to the starting lineup Wednesday. . DH Hanley Ramirez (left arm soreness) was out of the starting lineup for the sixth consecutive game. Farrell said Ramirez was available to pinch hit and is likely to start Wednesday.


Red Sox: Chris Sale (16-7, 2.86 ERA) will seek to match his career high in wins Wednesday night in the series finale. He needs 13 strikeouts to become the first AL pitcher with 300 in a season since Pedro Martinez in 1999.

Orioles: Wade Miley (8-13, 5.32 ERA) has lost his last three starts. The left-hander gave up six runs and got only one out against the Yankees on Friday night.