Red Sox Thoughts: Dave Dombrowski Playing the Long Game

Photo Credit: Masslive.com

The Red Sox GM hit MLB radio last week to make a statement that drew the ire of every Red Sox fan listening. What Dave Dombrowski delivered was indeed a single word: Content.

As if Sox fans aren’t impatiently frustrated enough, this drew some immediate criticism.  Many pointed out the inconsistency of his position considering only three months ago he took the blame for not putting enough hitters on the roster.

Red Sox fans are not content.  With sky-high expectations, 93 wins and division title will never be enough in an era where Boston is expected to compete for a championship on an annual basis. Fans want a team built for the World Series and right now they’re pointing to one power outfielder as the solution.  It’s worth begging the question:

Is any team built for the World Series in January?

Just last season, the Astros weren’t ready on Opening Day.  They were coming off an 84 win season, went 4-4 out of the gate, and until the acquisition of 2011 MVP & Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, many questioned the team’s ability to make a deep postseason run with the staff they assembled.

Luckily, Verlander would go on to win four postseason games with a 0.82 WHIP, but prior to the trade he was pitching 1,300 miles northeast in Detroit. Take Marwin Gonzalez as an example. He raised his OPS from a sub-par .694 in 2016 to a startling .907 last year in essentially the same number of at-bats, yet he rode the pine in the Opening Day victory over the Mariners.

Houston started the campaign off with a 25 man roster that fielded eventual .666 OPS hitter Carlos Beltran in the 5-hole & Nori Aoki in the 9-hole.  By October, Beltran was a platoon and Aoki was in Toronto.

Dave is playing the long game, and he’s not building for the World Series at all. Instead, he’s building for July 31st.  At that point, this Red Sox roster could have be significantly different.  Someone will come out of nowhere to dominate for the first time.  Someone will have his worst season to date.  Someone will suffer a season-ending injury.

While Sox Nation agrees on one major need, could DD be six steps ahead of all of us?

Perhaps he’s planning for three gaping holes this team will inevitably have after it plays its first 100 ball games.

When the trade deadline approaches, the splashy President of Baseball Operations will be relying on two things: availability & flexibility.

With that in mind, consider that a $125 million free agent signing could significantly hamper the midseason flexibility of this team by pushing payroll well over the luxury tax.  Mark Feinsand of MLB.com quoted an anonymous General Manager who predicted that Mike Moustakas may sign for less than $40 million.  Providing that is true, the difference in that contract and the reported JDM offer would well exceed $10 million of the 2018 team salary.

Red Sox fans need to prepare themselves now by remembering:  The one who strikes first doesn’t always find success, but the one who strikes last usually wins the battle.

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