BOSTON — For the Red Sox’ top baseball decision-maker, Monday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline might be a rather sobering dose of reality. Everything leading up to it probably has been, particularly because the team has looked rudderless since the All-Star Game.
Typically, the conversation about living up to contracts and lofty expectations centers on players. More and more in baseball, however, those sentiments apply to executives as well, especially big-name bosses in big markets.
Enter Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. Dealer Dave has a salary that is not to be sneezed at. He also has something resembling a mandate to get this team over the hump.
The trouble is that Dombrowski’s image and practicality do not seem in alignment at the moment. Here’s betting a deal gets done, because it’s what he’s supposed to do. But at the same time, it’d be virtually impossible to make a deal that catapults the Red Sox into a more clearly defined pole position. Not without jeopardizing the farm system.
Shortly before the Cubs were publicly known Sunday night to be finalizing a deal for reliever Justin Wilson, ESPN’s Buster Olney noted to CSN’s Lou Merloni that the level of bidding was just too rich for the Red Sox’ blood.
“Bidding situation. Not favorable for Boston under the circumstances,” Olney wrote on Twitter.
Discipline is to be applauded if continually exhibited by Dombrowski. A refusal to part with chips like Jay Groome -- or a piece who may now be indispensable to this year’s major league team, Rafael Devers -- is not insignificant.
Yet, it wouldn’t feel right if Dombrowski completed nothing on Monday.
“That’s kind of what Dave does,” David Price said Saturday when asked about the possibility of an addition. “That’s kind of what he’s known for. He’s always looking for ways to make the team better. I don’t think it matters if you’re in second place or you’re in first place in your division by seven or eight games. He’s always looking for ways to make our club better. That’s one of the good things about having Dave around.”
The question is whether or not Dombrowski, both to live up to his own reputation and give his team a small shot in the arm, need make another move. And whether said expected move will prove to be closer to last year’s deadline day pick-up, Fernando Abad, simply because of Dombrowski’s limited resources, both in terms of prospects and luxury-tax room.
The Sox front office and their scouting staff have been working hard. Anything that can boost this team without screwing up its future has been considered. That’s not lip service or an act.
Here’s betting some sort of trade is coming, too.
But the writing’s been on the wall for a while now. After all the other moves Dombrowski has made, there’s not a ton he reasonably can do. In the big picture, Dealer Dave is being forced to play Disciplined Dave on the day everyone is thinking about nothing but, well, deals.