Posted on September 9, 2019, by Bryan Zarpentine
With their playoff hopes dwindling, the Boston Red Sox have made a rash change of course less than a year after winning the World Series. The team fired President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski late Sunday night. The move came soon after the Red Sox lost their second game in a row to the Yankees. The club will make a formal announcement regarding the decision to part ways with Dombrowski on Monday. But it sent shockwaves through the organization when the news was reported shortly after midnight.
“I mean, I just found out,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said late Sunday night. “Surprised. I’m shocked, honestly. 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.”
Sunday’s game dropped the Red Sox eight games out of the second Wild Card spot. After winning last year’s World Series, the Red Sox look destined to miss out on the postseason in 2019. While World Series hangovers are not uncommon, Red Sox ownership clearly finds the drop-off unacceptable and is looking for a fall guy. Dombrowski, who helped put together last year’s championship team, is apparently the scapegoat after putting together a team in 2019 that has failed to live up to expectations.
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Specifically, Dombrowski is blamed for not putting together a competent bullpen. Boston’s lineup has scored the fourth-most runs in baseball to this point of the season. The young talent the Red Sox possess offensively is the envy of almost every team in baseball. However, the pitching staff has struggled, specifically the bullpen, which lost Craig Kimbrel and Joe Kelly from last year’s team. Dombrowski failed to adequately address the absence of those players from the bullpen, which has undoubtedly been the team’s downfall this season.
“Just a shock. We’re trying to think about the game and stuff and then we just get hit with that so it’s just, you know, wild,” Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez said after Sunday’s game. “We had a good team and, I guess, like I said, ownership has their reasons. It’s a business. That’s their call. We’re here, we have a job to do, we have to just keep chugging away.”
With Dombrowski out of the picture, the Red Sox will use a team of executives to make decisions until a permanent replacement can be found. Raquel Ferreira, who currently serves as Boston’s senior vice president of Major and Minor League operations, will be part of that group. She will be joined by a trio of assistant GMs in Eddie Romero, Brian O’Halloran, and Zack Scott.
Of course, Dombrowski will likely be a wanted commodity for any team looking to fill a GM opening this winter. Dombrowski was the architect behind the Marlins winning their first World Series in 1997. He also spent over 13 seasons with the Tigers, helping the team win four straight division titles from 2011 to 2014 before being let go in 2015. Dombrowski then put together three straight division winners with the Red Sox, culminating in last year’s world championship.
Despite this year being a disappointment, it’s still surprising to see the Red Sox part with Dombrowski with a little over a year left on his contract. His track record speaks for itself and one bad season doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how to put together a winning team. Nevertheless, the Red Sox have decided to go in a different direction as they chase another championship in 2020 and beyond.