By Gerard Lombardo – @wickedlinedrive
Ben Cherington wasn’t a bad general manager. But there were always questions as to who may be pulling the strings; him, or ownership. Bobby Valentine is a good example of someone that Cherington never publicly lobbied for, yet ended up being hired; only to manage the team to a dismal losing season.
“The right man at the right time,” John Henry referred to Bobby V as.
Big Ben and the boys were a part of constructing three time world champions, with Cherington being an integral part of the front office since 1999, as an area scout. Much like Tito, Cherington’s ship simply ran its course. He was relieved of his duties in favor of Dave Dombrowski when the Red Sox fell to 11 games below .500 in 2015, which was met with general satisfaction by the public, media, and organization.
Dombrowski came to Boston with a heck of a track record. He led the then-Florida Marlins to a 1997 World Series title, which concluded in a free agent fire sale, resulting in many consecutive losing seasons, and the subsequent firing of DD. But he recovered nicely, leading the Tigers to four straight division banners, just a few seasons removed from the organization losing a pathetic 119 games. But once again, the GM was given the heave-ho, after delivering a pair of pennants to the city of Detroit, but falling short in both World Series appearances.
The aforementioned moves have led the 61 year old Illinois native to his current role with the Boston Red Sox, as general manager/president of baseball operations. He’s been incredibly active on the transactions front, which has been his modus operandi throughout his executive career. What the team has done under him is well documented, as you’d be hard pressed to find a Red Sox fan who hasn’t been made aware of back to back division titles of identical records; with a whopping one playoff victory.
But if that isn’t sufficient enough to retain John’s job, why should it be allowed to save Dave’s? Certainly, his personality isn’t responsible for his job safety.
“That’s really something I’m going to keep to myself,” Dombrowski said, when pressed at his presser for reasons of firing Farrell.
“It went fine,” DD told the Boston Herald, in regards to Alex Cora’s managerial interview.
What is this guy, a fucking Roomba? Even Popovich throws the media an occasional bone; same with Belichick. Personality doesn’t win championships. It doesn’t hit a ball over the Monster, nor does it reduce time on a disabled list stint. But it’s not going to hurt your cause, either.
So here we are, Sox Nation, watching the championship series’ without a dog in the fight for the fourth consecutive season. This time, with significant weaknesses from both a leadership and talent standpoint. On top of no current manager, nary a cleanup hitter, and perhaps most significantly, much of a farm system.
How long, exactly, does the president of baseball ops have to build a championship here, in a region where we are finally used to winning? Forget the 86 year drought; the Red Sox of the 2000’s are expected to be annual championship contenders. That’s the result of three World Series’ since the dawn of the millennia. Yes, his trades and signings have brought good, if not great players to Boston. A true two this year, Drew Pomeranz, was acquired for a pitcher who’s now undergoing TJ surgery. Travis Shaw won’t be missed thanks to Rafy Devers, plus Chris Sale and Craig Kimbrel are perennial all-stars. Even Doug Fister graced us with a one hitter.. but a majority of the transactions have been responsible for decimating the A level affiliates, leaving the upcoming decade in the hands of Devers, Jay Groome, and Michael Chavis, at least for the time being.
Has Dave Dombrowski benefited the organization, to the point of earning himself job security through the 2018, 2019, or even 2020 season? I don’t know. I’m personally not enamored with the direction the franchise is heading in. Boston is constantly in win-now, but continue to build for the future mode. The problem is, we’re not winning. We’re not building for the future. The front office is continuing to sign and acquire hefty contracts, while simultaneously failing to develop pitchers in the minor leagues, or make a deep playoff run. Yes, that is on the players, manager, and coaching staff. It’s also the responsibility of John Henry and the rest of the front office; but with the dismissal of Manager John, the organization is out of scapegoats.
If New York, Houston, Cleveland and the Cubs can win games, sign quality free agents, draft well, and play deep into October, Boston needs to as well if they want to compete not just today, but tomorrow too; I wouldn’t say Dave’s quite on the hot seat yet, but things might start to get toasty soon.