NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Dave Dombrowski has jumped in. All in. With both feet.
MORE ON THE TRADE
- Red Sox acquire Chris Sale in blockbuster deal with White Sox
- McAdam: With a glut of starting pitchers on the roster, who's shipping out?
- Ortiz: My boy Sale to Boston? You guys got me thinking . . .
- Yanks GM: Red Sox are 'the Golden State Warriors of baseball'
- Dombrowski on trading prospects: 'You go for it'
- DJ Bean: Farewell to the prospects who were traded away
- Players and analysts react to the news
- Nightengale: Red Sox now prohibitive favorite in A.L.
For an executive with a reputation for making bold moves, Dombrowski may have made his boldest one yet Tueday by shipping arguably the organization's best position player prospect (Yoan Moncada) and its best pitching prospect (Michael Kopech), along with two others, to the Chicago White Sox for lefty ace Chris Sale.
Adding Sale to a rotation that already includes reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and David Price gives the Red Sox the American League's best rotation and makes the Sox the team to beat in the A.L.
Hired 17 months ago with a mandate to make the Red Sox winners again after three last-place finishes in the span of four seasons, Dombrowski has acted aggressively and decisively.
Since then, he's obtained Price, Craig Kimbrel, Carson Smith, Drew Pomeranz, Tyler Thornburg and Sale. That translates into three lefty starters and three back-end power arms in the bullpen.
Of course, all those moves have come at a significant cost. Dombrowski has gone through the Red Sox' minor-league system and shredded it, sacrificing Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Javier Guerra, and now, Moncada and Kopech.
The pitching, in particular, has been stripped bare, with Espinoza and Kopech representing the two best arms in the system. And in Moncada, the Sox gave up on arguably the single most talented propsect in the entire sport.
At a time when teams protect their best young players as though their existence depends on them, Dombrowski has demonstrated a willingess to move them for a chance to win now.
In exchange, the Sox have now built a super rotation, with three front-line starters, augmented by two other lefties (Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez) along with Steven Wright and Clay Buchholz.
It's a virtual certainty that the Sox will move one of those arms now, in a market where there's virtually no quality free-agent starters available.
Buchholz, who stands to earn $13.5 million in 2017, would give them payroll relief, while Rodriguez, because of his youth and upside, might give the team its biggest return.
Dombrowski's moves create a window for the Red Sox. Sale's deal runs through 2019, while Price has an opt-out in his deal after 2018.
That creates some urgency for the Red Sox to capitalize on the strength of their rotation and a nucleus of young position players -- Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Andrew Benintendi -- and win multiple titles in the next few seasons.
Anything less will be considered a failure.
It's championship-or-bust time at Fenway.