Red Sox Fire Dave Dombrowski Less Than A Year After World Series Win
The Red Sox fired President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski and will be "replacing him with four assistants on an interim basis," according to Peter Abraham of the BOSTON GLOBE. Dombrowski was fired "minutes after" yesterday's home loss to the Yankees and "less than 11 months after the Sox won the World Series." Red Sox Exec VPs & Assistant GMs Brian O'Halloran and Eddie Romero, Senior VP/Major League & Minor League Operations Raquel Ferreira and Senior VP & Assistant GM Zack Scott will run the team until a replacement is named. Dombrowski "made a series of unexpected decisions that contributed significantly to the disappointing season, chief among them electing not to bolster the team's bullpen." Dombrowski also "made no moves before the trade deadline," to which the Red Sox "responded with eight consecutive losses and fell out of contention." Romero and Scott are "expected to be among the candidates to replace Dombrowski." Team ownership "also could be interested" in D-backs Exec VP & GM Mike Hazen, who was with the Red Sox from '06-16 in "different capacities" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/9). USA TODAY's Bob Nightengale notes no "permanent replacement is expected until after the season." The Red Sox will then be "hiring their fourth president of baseball operations in the last 10 years" (USA TODAY, 9/9).
NOT A SURPRISE: In Boston, Dan Shaughnessy writes "fair or unfair, this felt inevitable." Dombrowski "did exactly what he was hired to do when the Sox brought him on board" in '15. He signed big name free agents, "threw around contract extensions like fun-sized Halloween candies," and "ignored a lot of the people who worked at Fenway Park." Dombrowski and Red Sox Principal Owner John Henry "know one another well," and the Red Sox "won every year until this year." But when the team "flopped this season ... somebody was going to have to pay." Shaughnessy: "You cannot have the top payroll in baseball and fail to qualify for a playoff field of 10 teams" (BOSTON GLOBE, 9/9). ESPN's Jeff Passan said, "Inside of baseball circles, this isn't particularly shocking. It's something people have been talking about a lot behind the scenes the last few weeks." Passan said the Red Sox have had a "disappointing year, no question about it, but this is a guy who was the architect of their fourth championship in 15 years" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 9/9). In Boston, Michael DePrisco writes considering the "amount of resources Dombrowski poured into the starting rotation and bullpen," the Red Sox' "shortcomings have left a stain on his tenure in Boston" (NBCSPORTSBOSTON.com, 9/9).
ROCKING THE BOAT: In Boston, Sean McAdam writes this is "hardly the kind of stability to which a franchise aspires." The thinking is that Dombrowski "was not fired for the job he did," but rather, "for his unsuitability for the job ahead" (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 9/9). SI.com's Jon Tayler writes this season's results "clearly outweighed the process for Red Sox ownership, especially since those previously mentioned financial commitments may impact the team's ability" to keep RF Mookie Betts (SI.com, 9/9). The GLOBE's McAdam takes a look at what went wrong for the Red Sox this season under Dombrowski (BOSTONSPORTSJOURNAL.com, 9/8). NBC Sports' Ahmed Fareed writes the firing "shows yet another incentive for teams to not spend in free agency: if you're a GM and your big bets go wrong, you're done" (TWITTER.com, 9/9).
BEGINNING OF A PROCESS: In Boston, Jason Mastrodonato writes what "happens next" for the Red Sox is what is "most important." This is a "matter of fit," and the "new challenges facing this franchise call for a new style of leadership." Dombrowski's replacement will "need a more deft touch," and it "must be someone capable of nuance at a time when the team won't be simply adding or subtracting All-Star talent, but doing both at the same time" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/9). THE ATHLETIC's Chad Jennings writes Dombrowski "brought a sledgehammer and an excavator to the job." He made "massive, bold moves with big prospects and even bigger paychecks." Whoever "takes it from here" will have "immediate challenges." Henry has "committed massive amounts of money to the game's largest payroll," but he has been "clear that such spending is not sustainable." Cutting payroll "might be in the cards" (THEATHLETIC.com, 9/9).
TOUGH DAYS AHEAD: YAHOO SPORTS' Jack Baer writes between the team's "current financial obligations, the need to retain its young talent" and Dombrowski's firing, his successor will be "dealing with a high-pressure situation from Day 1" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/9). ESPN's Passan wrote the Red Sox are in a "tenuous position going forward because of financial commitments made under Dombrowski." The team's "farm system is considered among the thinnest in baseball." Issues with a $200M payroll are MLB's "definition of a first-world problem, though they don't lessen the difficulty of what Dombrowski's successor will inherit" (ESPN.com, 9/9).