It’s lonely at the top –– or if you constructed the most expensive team in baseball and it seems destined to miss out on the playoffs entirely.
Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has “increasingly isolated himself” in the front office, according to the Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy. The longtime columnist writes the decorated executive has “few friends inside Fenway’s walls” and primarily surrounds himself with friends Frank Wren and Tony La Russa, both of whom he brought into the organization.
Shaughnessy predicts Dombrowski will be the fall man for the Red Sox’ disappointing title defense, which has spiraled downward in the aftermath of their inactive trade deadline last week. Boston has lost five of six games since then and seven of eight overall.
The biggest reason for the Red Sox’ extended slide has been their atrocious starting pitching, and it is difficult to blame Dombrowski for that (though signing Chris Sale to a five-year, $145 million deal before the start of the season continues to look more disastrous with each passing day). But the trade deadline offered a clear opportunity to upgrade the Sox’ woefully undermanned bullpen. Dombrowski passed on the chance, just like he did all offseason.
On NESN Tuesday, Dombrowski downplayed the pen’s struggles. “I have gone through the blown saves, and I know we’ve had a number of them, but really it hasn’t cost us as many games as what you would think throughout the year. Our bullpen basically has been fine,” he said.
The Red Sox have blown 20 saves this season. It is the fifth-highest total in the league.
In an interview with Rob Bradford from London in late June, principle owner John Henry expressed dissatisfaction with his club’s lackluster performance, and appeared to place some of the blame on Dombrowski.
"We’re already over budget and we were substantially over our budget last year and this year. We’re not going to be looking to add a lot of payroll,” he said about the team’s prospects at the trade deadline. “And it’s hard to imagine fielding a better team. If we play up to our capabilities we’ll be fine.”
If the Red Sox do jettison Dombrowski this winter, Shaughnessy suggests they could hire executive vice president Eddie Romero, who’s served as the vice president of international scouting for many years. It could be the right choice, especially if the Sox are heading towards some sort of retooling.
Though Dombrowski’s contractual status hasn’t been confirmed, it’s expected he’s signed through next season.