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Red Sox Facing Uncertain Off-season after Dombrowksi Firing

Steve Shoup

 

The Boston Red Sox made the surprising decision to part company with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski with the team on the verge of failing to defend their World Series crown. It was less than a year ago when the Red Sox were crowned MLB champions for the fourth time in the last 14 years.

Dombrowski’s bold decision making was key in securing the title, landing Chris Sale and David Price along with JD Martinez. Smaller moves to sign Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi also paid dividends, working in tandem with first-year manager Alex Cora to bring the World Series crown back to Fenway Park. Cora and Dombrowski were widely heralded for the success and much was expected in the new campaign given the team’s dominance in the 2019 campaign.

However, their struggles in the 2019 season have resulted in his firing with six weeks remaining in the campaign. Dombrowski has carried the blame for the poor performances over the course of the term as one of his decisions has come back to haunt the Red Sox. He opted not to re-sign closer Craig Kimbrel, leaving a void at the position. Boston’s pitching problems have been the source of their issues, blowing 27 saves over the course of the campaign – only the Oakland Athletics have been worse from the bullpen this term.

Although Dombrowksi has been fired, the Red Sox are not completely out of the running for the Wildcard spot, at least in the American League, being backed on the MLB odds on bet365 at +3500 to win the league and advance to the World Series. It’s a long shot given how much Boston would need results to swing in their favour, prompting the response from owner John Henry along with chairman Tom Werner and team president Sam Kennedy.

Cora’s position appears to be safe from scrutiny at the moment, although he will be aware that his predecessor John Farrell also won a World Series, but was then removed from his position four years later. The 43-year-old has tried a number of ways to get his team firing this term, but they’ve failed to find a formula that has proven to be successful. The presence of the New York Yankees in the AL East has not helped matters given their excellence on the field this season, winning 13 of their 18 meetings between the sides.

Dombrowksi has taken the fall this year, especially given that Boston have the highest payroll in the league. Henry and the hierarchy have been brutal in their decision making, although it has been true to form as previous managers and executives can attest to. Terry Francona ended the club’s World Series drought of 86 years when Red Sox triumphed in 2004 and they would reach the MLB summit once again in 2007. However, two titles and breaking the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ was not enough to spare him from the axe after a collapse at the end of the 2011 campaign.

 

Boston’s ownership have been brutal in their bid to remain the dominant team in the MLB since Henry’s arrival in 2002. No team has won more crowns since the Red Sox in that period, and he has been assertive to ensure that failure is not tolerated. It’s a warning shot for the rest of the staff and players in the organisation, while the next man in charge of personnel will face difficult decisions regarding the futures of key players, including Mookie Betts, Martinez, Sale and Price. Not for the first time, the Red Sox are heading into an off-season of change.



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