The Red Sox just got swept by the Cleveland Indians. The Sox were the superior team which really makes what happened unacceptable. Go ahead. Say it was a successful season because they finished in last place two seasons in a row and they won the division this year.
Blah – blah – blah!
The expectations changed as this team became the clear-cut best team in the American League in September. This team failed miserably over the past week at the most crucial time. The players played below expectations in the playoffs. The manager was clearly out managed and overmatched by a manager who went for the kill in every game. Remember having that guy?! The front office failed to get the pieces in the offseason and during the season to put the team over the top. This last point is one that is being debated.
Surely, the Red Sox had the talent to win. However, how did Dave Dombrowski’s moves impact this season? When the Red Sox hired Dombrowski to take over Baseball Operations during the 2015 season, it was said that he was going to make immediate moves to help the team short-term and preserve the long-term future of the team. He was going to go for it! Has he done that?
Let’s take a look at the main players Dave Dombrowki brought in his first full year with the Red Sox. We’ll provide a grade to each player based on his expected contributions to the team.
David Price – D+ : The Red Sox gave Price a seven-year, $217 million dollar contract this offseason. Let’s be clear. Dombrowski had the resources to pursue Price as the ownership needed to make a big splash. Unlike Ben Cherington in the previous season in his pursuit to sign Jon Lester (oops!), Dombrowski was basically given an open checkbook and he lured Price. Price signed with the Red Sox for one reason. Money. The performance? Below expectations. After leading the AL with a 2.45 ERA in the previous season, Price went 17-9 with a 3.99 ERA. So, a run and half higher per game to go along with an absolutely brutal start in Game 2 of the ALDS. Price is now 0-8 as a starter in the postseason in his career. Anyone confident this is going to turn around?!
Craig Kimbrel – C+ : Dombrowski went after Kimbrel to fill a need at the end of the bullpen and traded prospects including Manuel Margot. This worked out for the most part. Despite Kimbrel’s struggles in games that the Red Sox didn’t have a lead, he posted a 3.40 ERA with 31 saves. His ERA was by far the worst of his career, but he played an important role in the success of the team. He was good. Not great.
Chris Young – B+ : Dombrowski signed Young to a two-year deal to be the fourth outfielder. It was expected that he would be a platoon player who would start most of the time against left-handed pitchers. Despite a mid-season hamstring injury, Young played into this role very well. He hit .276 with nine home runs and had an .850 OPS. This one worked out.
Carson Smith – INC : Smith was signed to be the set up man for Kimbrel. He was injured for virtually the entire season. There was a lot of excitement when this move was made, but that will need to be tabled until next season.
Aaron Hill – F : .218 with two home runs and nine RBI in 124 at bats. Enough said. Goodbye!
Brad Ziegler – A- : Ziegler came to the Sox in a trade in midseason when there was a desperate need to help the bullpen. He came in an helped solidify what was a weak bullpen at the time. Ziegler had a 1.52 ERA in 29.2 inning pitched. Interestingly, John Farrell didn’t use him a lot in key situations despite his success.
Drew Pomeranz – F : That’s right, this one was a giant failure. Pomeranz was an All Star for the Padres and then came to the Red Sox and immediately became a borderline #5 starter. 3-5 with a 4.59 ERA for the Red Sox which was by far the worst of the team’s five starters in the second half of the season. And how about giving up a two-run bomb to Coco Crisp in Game 3 of the ALDS to lose that game as well? Brutal!
Fernando Abad – F : A 6.39 ERA in 12 innings pitched. How about the home run to Robinson Cano to lose the game right after they brought him in? Yeah. That was great…
That’s a total of eight major moves by Dombrowski since he took over. Three have been complete failures. Three have worked out in Young, Kimbrel, and Ziegler. Price contributed, but not nearly to the level that was expected for $31 million a year.
When the Red Sox brought in Dombrowski last year, if you were told the good moves he was going to make over the next season were going to Brad Ziegler and Chris Young, what would you have said? So, what exactly has Dombrowski done to improve this team? He has plenty of money to spend and plenty of prospects to works with. Yet, we’re sitting here talking about a 4th outfielder and a 7th inning bullpen arm that was rarely used as the big roster wins.
Any chance the Red Sox can get Ben Cherington back? His moves in 2015 with Porcello and Hanley don’t look so bad now, do they?
But, hey, at least we get John Farrell back for another year. Expecting big changes by Dombrowski? Think again. As long as the seats are filled and the fans are happily singing Sweet Caroline in the middle of the 8th, all is good on Yawkey Way.