Red Sox

Dombrowski out of touch on Ohtani recruitment process

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Dombrowski out of touch on Ohtani recruitment process

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When it comes to the Shohei Ohtani pursuit, Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski sounds out of touch.

Dombrowski said at the winter meetings Tuesday he was surprised that the Red Sox did not become a finalist to meet with Ohtani, after all 30 teams had an opportunity to submit a presentation to convince Ohtani to then have a face to face meeting. The Sox were not granted a face to face meeting, and he signed with the Angels.

“It was something the organization worked on for a long time and a couple of people that really focused on it for years,” Dombrowski said. “Our presentation, we made a very thorough presentation, a very strong presentation, one that I looked at, I didn’t do the work myself, but people showed me. I thought the presentation was outstanding. So we were very invested.”

He didn't do the work himself? Delegation is one thing (and a good thing). But Dombrowski misread the field here.

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No East Coast team was a finalist. There likely was nothing the Red Sox could have done to convince Ohtani to gain a meeting. That's an important point here.

But as a matter of principle, as a vehicle for understanding Dombrowski's savvy and how it compares to his peers, it may be telling that Dombrowski thought he didn't have time to put together the Ohtani presentation — and that he thought all other GMs felt the same way.

“Well, I don't think that the time consumption of putting together that presentation, I mean, we had those guys spend over a couple weeks on that,” Dombrowski said. “I wouldn't think that any general manager would've put that together. In fact, I don't think anyone could. It was just way, way too much time spent on only that situation. Now, if we were making a presentation personally, I would've been there. 

"But to send a presentation — that's what they wanted; they wanted the presentation sent to them. Now, I was aware of what was in there and was shown there, but it would be way too much work for, I think, any general manager. In fact, I know there's not a general manager in the game that put that presentation together.”

Dombrowski is incorrect. 

One finalist team's GM told NBC Sports Boston they worked personally on their presentation and essay and felt the quality of the presentation, which was collaborative, helped land them the meeting, separating them from the pack. Another finalist team had their GM directly help put it together as well, and all of them may have.

But it wasn't just finalist teams that had GMs involved.

"We'd be emailing the presentation and they'd send it to me at 10 o'clock at night. I'd work on it for a couple hours and I'd send them comments at midnight," Reds general manager Dick Williams said, via MLB.com. "As it got closer and we knew we were going to have to send something, we really ramped it up.”

The people Dombrowski delegated the work to are highly respected and diligent. Among them, Allard Baird is a former general manager, Jared Banner is a future general manager. They followed Ohtani incredibly closely, devoting great time and effort well before any presentation was created. 

But why wouldn’t Dombrowski want to add to the man power of that great team, to prioritize this project himself once it came time to send the presentation? Leadership is about delegation, and it's also about knowing the right time to push full steam ahead with all available resources.

The Reds, of course, were not a finalist either, meeting the same fate as the Red Sox.

"We tried a few things. Didn't work," Williams said. "Those of us close to it that worked on it convinced ourselves that we had a very good case. We really wanted him to hear it and feel the same way we did."

But it was worth it.

The pursuit of Ohtani was an effort to convince a pitcher who could have been worth $200 million on the open market to sign with a club for roughly one tenth of that. Ohtani is an incredible bargain and rare talent that deserved every bit of focus and energy from the top of the organization.

As one GM put it recently regarding Ohtani, “It starts at the top.”

"We're not going to leave a stone unturned in the efforts to do it again if the opportunity arises,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in his podcast in late November. "We'll be responsible in how we do it, but we understand this is a one-time buying opportunity and you have to be prepared.

"To me, the worst thing we can be is sitting on the sideline being too conservative, sitting on our hands when an opportunity to change the history of the organization comes along. Because this is what this might be.”

What GM would have time for that?

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Report: Red Sox trade target Jeurys Familia close to A's deal

Report: Red Sox trade target Jeurys Familia close to A's deal

Earlier in the week, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reported the Boston Red Sox were among several teams inquiring about the availability of New York Mets reliever Jeurys Familia.

But it appears the veteran closer is likely headed to the West Coast, according to ESPN's Buster Olney:

In 40 appearances this season for the last-place Mets, Familia has posted a 2.88 ERA with 17 saves and a 1.23 WHIP. The Red Sox have been actively seeking to add another veteran arm to their bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline, a search that has included talks for Orioles closer Zach Britton according to FanCred Sports' Jon Heyman.

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Price, Red Sox win again by blanking Tigers, 1-0

Price, Red Sox win again by blanking Tigers, 1-0

DETROIT -- One run was enough for David Price and the Red Sox - but only after Boston escaped a couple of dicey jams.

Price pitched four-hit ball into the seventh inning and the Red Sox kept right on rolling in their first game after the All-Star break, beating the Detroit Tigers 1-0 on Friday night. Price worked out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out situation in the fourth, and reliever Matt Barnes maneuvered through a tough spot of his own in the eighth.

The Red Sox (69-30) have won 13 of their last 14, have baseball's best record and extended their lead to 5 1/2 games over the New York Yankees in the AL East. Price (11-6) walked one and struck out five in 6 1/3 innings.

"Any time you can win 1-0, that's a good game," Price said. "We got a run there in that first inning, and everybody did their job after that."

Steve Pearce hit an RBI double in the first, and the Tigers could never match that one run. Matthew Boyd (4-9) allowed a run and three hits in five-plus innings. He struck out six and walked two.

Barnes wriggled out of a jam in the eighth after the Tigers put a runner on third with one out. Craig Kimbrel worked the ninth for his 31st save in 33 chances.

Detroit has lost seven of eight.

Price has 97 wins from 2012-18, matching teammate Chris Sale for the most in the American League during that span. He retired the first nine batters he faced Friday, then got in trouble by allowing three straight singles to start the fourth.

"We had some chances, but he made a lot of good pitches in big spots and when he made a mistake, we fouled them off," Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He's a very good pitcher who can move the ball all over the plate, and he's been doing it to teams for a long time."

With the bases loaded, John Hicks flied out to shallow left field, starting a wild play that ended with Boston second baseman Brock Holt on the ground injured. Andrew Benintendi caught Hicks' fly and threw wildly toward the plate, but Detroit's Niko Goodrum stayed put at third. Jeimer Candelario took off from second to third, then had to go back when he realized Goodrum was still there.

The throw went back to second, but Candelario was able to slide in safely. Holt went down with a right knee injury after Candelario's slide, although he was able to walk off the field.

Price struck out James McCann and retired Victor Martinez on a flyout to end the inning.

Goodrum led off the eighth by reaching on a strikeout when Barnes threw a wild pitch on strike three. Candelario then struck out, but strike three bounced away again. Candelario wasn't allowed to take first in that situation, but Goodrum was able to go all the way from first to third.

Nicholas Castellanos followed with a one-out grounder to third, and Goodrum was retired in a rundown between third and home.

"That's 100 percent going on contact - you have to go there," Gardenhire said. "We hadn't scored a run and we wanted to try to make something happen. Even if it doesn't work, we still have a runner on second, so it is worth the chance."

After a walk to Hicks, McCann struck out to end the inning.

BACK IN MOTOWN

Boston slugger J.D. Martinez was back in Detroit after playing for the Tigers from 2014-17. He was traded to Arizona around this time last year, part of a rebuilding effort in which the Tigers later traded Justin Verlander, Justin Upton and Ian Kinsler.

"It was inevitable. I think everybody knew it," Martinez said before the game. "You can only be good like that for so long."

Martinez made a fine catch in right field while running into the wall in the third.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: Holt left with a bruised knee. ... LHP Drew Pomeranz (left biceps tendinitis) is expected to return Tuesday at Baltimore. ... Manager Alex Cora said 3B Rafael Devers (left shoulder inflammation) will be back and part of the roster Saturday.

Tigers: Detroit put RHP Michael Fulmer on the disabled list before the game with a left oblique strain, and Gardenhire said Fulmer will be "out for a while." OF Leonys Martin (left hamstring strain) returned from the DL and started.

UP NEXT

Boston LHP Brian Johnson (1-2) takes the mound Saturday night against Detroit RHP Mike Fiers (6-6).

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