When the theme of Dave Dombrowski's future with "Red Sox" was broken over the last few months, it did not seem to be trimmed and dried by any stretch of the imagination. Cases can be filed for the president of baseball operations to stay and get the shoe.
But in the end, it was much less complicated than many wanted to do.
The Red Sox are heading to one of the most important seasons in recent memory, with significant decisions to be made regarding Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., the starting rotation and the integration of several soon-to-be important leagues. Who should have made this election a better person to be in the lead for at least the next few years, as we see how this all unfolds. Dombrowski was headed in the final year of his contract.
To study mathematics.
If the Red Sox wanted Dombrowski to be the one to pull the strings after that sad trombone of a season, then someone would have thought they would have to extend his contract beyond 2020. If they were reluctant to commit to the president of baseball operations after next season, you certainly couldn't have a cutie duck to guide the future of the franchise, thus having to part ways.
It wasn't complicated. Dombrowski would not be considered by this group of owners as this long-term person, so it was time to move on.
No need to wait. Whether it was in early September or after the regular season, it was an inevitable reality.
But there are some elements of this equation that must be mastered when they realize why John Henry, Tom Werner, and Co. did not choose to look at Dombrowski as someone who should the ship has been operated for another three, four or five years.
Remember that Henry said just days after the Red Sox won the World Series that his next business was to find a way to keep Dombrowski around while. So when and how did this mood change?
Let's revisit the main owner's comments on WEEI.com in London.
First, there was the remark about the best way to get to the list after winning everything.
"My opinion is that it may not be the best thing in the world to bring the same team back together," Henry says. "You don't want to tear down a team. But maybe a few changes won't hurt. But the feeling is always different after you win, obviously."
This, of course, was not the approach taken by Dombrowski, who uses very little of his off-season resources to return Nathan Eowaldie and Steve Pierce after the season. Both were more part of the problem than the solution throughout 2019.
Then came the quote of the money… literally.
"It's not a luxury tax issue, it's a question of how much money we want to lose," Henry explained. "We are already over budget and significantly exceeded our budget last year and this year. We will not be looking to add much payroll . And it is hard to imagine that we will have a better team if we play to the best of our ability That's the question: Is it? We're halfway through and we don't have … It's a decent team because we've invested. For two years in a row, we have the highest salary. It's not a question of investment, it's a matter of fact. If we play to the best of our ability, we can easily make the playoffs m. "
If you are looking to crack the code when it comes to the decision on Sunday night, start with these comments.
Henry was basically saying, "He told us that spending all this money would be worth it, not it." That was brief. This is the kind that will fire anyone.
The easy story is that Dombrowski did what many expected him to do, winning in the short term while leaving the farming system barren. But given the list of prospects he shared, it really can't be the impetus for the end-of-season transition to Eddie Romero, Zack Scott, and Brian O'Halloran. Dombrowski was usually able to identify the correct juvenile leagues to include in the transactions. Maybe there was a lack of creativity to bring back some young talent or too much willingness to add an extra body or two. But here we have to be honest.
The organization was approaching a crossroads, similar to when Dombrowski was hired. That was the right move at the time, in part because the Red Sox needed one vote, a dynamic the Red Sox were starving for after a series of dubious approaches to the roster and contracts. There will now be different priorities.
There is no doubt that the Red Sox will be digging from a hole that was made in large part because of Dombrowski's allocation of resources. What the team owned wanted to make sure was that they would not go deeper into the abyss, as happened with the Tigers after leaving their previous general manager.
Dombrowski's approach – viewed from within and outside the organization – has come under increasing criticism, and that not making a postseason with this type of payroll will always set a goal on your back. But this is not about keeping the result of chronising the good and the bad. It was more about what was about to happen than what had already happened.
The future is now for these Red Sox, and this has not affected the man who was still leaning on the past.