Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski made the right call -- no amount of help could save the 2019 Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski made the right call -- no amount of help could save the 2019 Red Sox

One way to view the trade deadline is to pinpoint it as the moment when Dave Dombrowski lost his clubhouse.

Another is to say he made the right call.

Of the many lessons to take away from the last week, the primary one might be this: the defending World Series champions did not deserve the help. They've spent most of the season on the outside of the playoff race, mired right in the middle of the American League.

Dombrowski deciding not to throw away future resources in the service of a lost cause will ultimately go down as the correct long-term move, even if it costs him the clubhouse and maybe even eventually his job.

But considering the lack of mental toughness the Red Sox have exhibited over seven straight losses, it's hard to blame Dombrowski for making a cold, dispassionate evaluation and deciding that nope, a couple of relievers won't make a difference.

The low point came on Saturday, when the Red Sox let their petty frustrations boil over in a doubleheader sweep against the Yankees. Game 1 featured ace Chris Sale and manager Alex Cora being ejected after screaming about Mike Estabrook's inconsistent strike zone, as if a couple of missed calls were the difference between Sale going seven effective innings and allowing the nine hits and eight runs that ended up torpedoing his outing.

For a manager and ace who preach accountability, it was a terrible look, made worse by their respective postgame comments. It's OK to be frustrated, but it's borderline disgraceful to put this on anyone other than the guy staring back in the mirror.

"We didn't agree with the strike zone, and I let him know," Cora told reporters.

"There's got to be something that can be done about this," Sale added.

Ugh.

But this just heightens a general feeling of discombobulation as the ship sinks. There's the Cora team meeting that wasn't, followed by the players-only team meeting that was, followed by yet another loss in Saturday's nightcap. There's Mookie Betts arguing strike calls, which he almost never does, and Xander Bogaerts throwing his bat repeatedly after missing pitches. There's starters who can't go four innings and hitters who transform from 19-run machines one week to meek three-hit lambs the next.

"We're searching," Cora said. "It's not like we're just OK, we're hoping for the best. On a daily basis we're looking for everything."

They now trail the Yankees by 13.5 games and the Rays by 5.5 games. They're four games behind Oakland for the second wild card. They haven't been this far out of first place since the final day of the 2015 season, when they finished 15 games out in last place. GM Ben Cherington didn't even survive August of that season, replaced by Dombrowski.

And this brings us back to Dombrowski's trade deadline approach. He admitted that if the team were closer to first place, he would've acted more aggressively. Now it's clear why. The Red Sox were already in the process of laying down when July 31 came and went without making a move.

Now that they're finishing the job, they're revealing their true character, at least for 2019. And the way they're going now, no closer, middle man, or combination of secondary pieces was going to be enough to save them.

TOMASE: Sox may be gone before the summer is>>>

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Ian Kinsler 'doesn’t see any form of punishment' coming for Red Sox 'flawless' sign-stealing system

Ian Kinsler 'doesn’t see any form of punishment' coming for Red Sox 'flawless' sign-stealing system

The Boston Red Sox are still anxiously awaiting the results of an MLB investigation into sign-stealing in 2018, part of a scandal that has marred the team and all of baseball the past two months.

The allegations against the Red Sox led to the departure of manager Alex Cora. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros have been hit with some harsh penalties for a sign-stealing scandal of their own. They fired their manager, A.J. Hinch, after he was suspended for a year by MLB. Cora was a part of Hinch's staff in 2017 as bench coach when the scheme to use real-time video to steal opponents' signals began.

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MLB's delays in the Red Sox investigation have led some to speculate that the probe may not find much. And in a recent interview on 1310 The Ticket in Dallas, former Red Sox second baseman Ian Kinsler said that MLB wouldn't find "anything close to what's going on [in Houston]."

"I don’t know what [MLB] is going to find, but in my opinion, it’s not anything close to what’s going on [in Houston], Kinsler said, as transcribed by MassLive.com's Chris Cotillo. “The Red Sox were just a very tight-knit group. When I was injected into that team in the middle of the season, it was a lot like the Rangers clubs I was on, where it was just a very tight-knit group and their system was flawless. They just had a very good system of relaying from second base to home plate. That was it. Honestly. We’ll see what happens with the commissioner’s report.”

This is the most detailed that any Red Sox player has been about the allegations to date, and with good reason. Kinsler is retired, so he doesn't stand to lose anything by talking now.

While Kinsler's depiction of the Red Sox sign-stealing is far from damning, he did acknowledge that while watching his previous at-bat on tape, he would check out the signs to see if he could de-code them.

“If there’s a video and you’re going to check out your at-bat and while you’re checking out your at-bat, there’s a runner on second base also, and you look through your at-bat to see your personal flaws and what you’re trying to fix for the next time… I’m going to go back again and check out the signs and see if I can crack them,” Kinsler said. “If I can, I can. If I can’t, I can’t.”

That's somewhat of a gray area, as all MLB teams have access to video in-game. So, it will certainly be interesting to see what the MLB rules on this aspect of the allegations and what they may do to curb in-game video going forward.

Still, as Kinsler said, he doesn't think that the Red Sox are going to get anything more than "a small punishment," as the league won't find anything "substantial".

“I’m interested to see what happens with this whole report because I truly believe they’re not going to find anything that’s substantial,” he said. “They might throw a small punishment out there because they did a report. I don’t know. I don’t know where they stand on this whole thing. We saw where they stood on the Astros thing. I just really don’t see any form of punishment coming to the Red Sox. It was a very good team.”

Brock Holt: 'I never expected to wear any other uniform but a Red Sox uniform'

Brock Holt: 'I never expected to wear any other uniform but a Red Sox uniform'

Brock Holt has left the Boston Red Sox, but it certainly doesn't seem like he wanted to.

The super-utility player became a free agent and the Red Sox opted not to re-sign him as they looked to cut costs ahead of the 2020 season. So, Holt, who turns 32 in June, lingered for a while on the free-agent market after seven seasons with the Red Sox before ultimately agreeing to a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday.

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And in an interview after arriving at the Brewers camp in Arizona, Holt spoke about wanting to remain in Boston and never expecting to go anywhere else in his career.

"I was with Boston for so long and I honestly never expected to wear any other uniform but a Red Sox uniform," Holt said in a video captured by Scott Grodsky. "I loved it there. I loved playing at Fenway, I loved the fans, I loved the city. I was a huge part of the community so it was tough for me to come to the fact that I wasn't going back.

"But like I said, everything happens for a reason. I'm excited to be here."

Holt's former Red Sox teammate Travis Shaw, who played for the Brewers from 2017 to 2019 before signing this offseason with the Toronto Blue Jays, helped convince Holt to join the Brewers.

“[Holt] actually reached out to me about a week or two ago saying that the Brewers had some interest and that they were starting to talk,” Shaw told The Wisconsin Sports Zone radio station. “He was just asking about how the organization was and I gave him nothing but positive things.

“Brock is one of my favorite teammates that I’ve ever played with," Shaw said. "He keeps it loose in the clubhouse. Obviously he is a great player, he can play all over the diamond, but just his presence in the clubhouse and in the dugout, he keeps things loose and he keeps things fun.”

Holt was a fan favorite and a great force in the Red Sox locker room and community. He will certainly be missed by the team, and it is fair to wonder why Sox management decided not to at least try to match the one-year deal Holt got from Milwaukee. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Holt made $3.575 million with the Red Sox last season.

After all, they opened up some room under the luxury tax by trading Mookie Betts and David Price. So, why not use some of that to re-sign Holt?

Holt will now suit up for the Brewers and as he communicated to reporters, he is very much looking forward to playing at Fenway June 5-7 when the Brewers visit for an interleague series.

And he's sure to get a warm welcome when he returns.