Red Sox

Dave Dombrowski's worst moves since Red Sox won 2018 World Series

Dave Dombrowski's worst moves since Red Sox won 2018 World Series

The ax was expected to fall on Dave Dombrowski at some point, but after midnight, less than an hour after the Patriots opened their season with a win over the Steelers? Now that's a surprise.

But the writing was on the wall for the embattled president of baseball operations of the Red Sox, who saw almost nothing go right for the team after it rolled to a World Series title in 2018.

And though he claimed to be "surprised" he might be on the hot seat as recently as a couple of weeks ago, when you look at his myriad questionable-at-best moves over the last year, it's easy to see why the team is parting ways with Dombrowski. Here are some of his biggest missteps from the past 12 months: 

Going without a closer entering 2019: Not forking over big money for Craig Kimbrel in the offseason? That actually turned out to be a smart decision. The former Sox closer signed a three-year, $43M deal with the Cubs in June and has managed to rack up a 5.68 ERA in 21 games -- and oh yeah, he's on the injured list right now. But after Kimbrel and Joe Kelly both left in free agency, Dombrowski basically did nothing with the Boston bullpen.

He struck out with Adam Ottavino and others in free agency, then hoped Matt Barnes, Brandon Workman, Ryan Brasier and company would be able to get the job done. There's no point even mentioning Tyler Thornburg, who's one of Dombrowski's biggest misses in Boston. The Red Sox have 28 saves and 27 blown saves this season, a big reason why they could be eliminated from AL East contention as soon as Monday.

Re-signing Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce: Eovaldi and Pearce were among the feel-good stories of the 2018 postseason, but that didn't carry over into the new year. Eovaldi inked a four-year, $68M contract in December -- a big deal for a pitcher with a lengthy injury history -- and he lasted just four starts this season before needing yet another surgery. He's back now, but he also owns a 5.77 ERA in 19 games.

Pearce has fared even worse. Instead of going after more bullpen help, Dombrowski signed the World Series MVP to a one-year, $6.5M deal in mid-November, and Pearce has delivered a grand total of one home run and a .180 average in 29 games.

Extending Chris Sale: Chris Sale still had a year left on his contract when the Sox signed him to a five-year, $145M extension in spring training. The lefty got off to a bad start after the Sox brought him along slowly during spring training, and his season ended prematurely when his injury issues cropped up again. And while Tommy John surgery has been ruled out for now, Sale's health issues are a gigantic question mark for the team's presumed ace.

No backup plan for Dustin Pedroia: What was the Red Sox plan at second base this season? 120 games from Dustin Pedroia? Eduardo Nunez as a backup? Pedroia played six games -- potentially the last games of his major league career -- and Nunez was released in midseason.

Trading for Andrew Cashner: With the Sox scuffling and in desperate need for pitching help, Dombrowski went out and picked up... Andrew Cashner. The righty had a 3.83 ERA for the lowly Orioles, but he's been a disaster in Boston, with a 6.28 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in 15 games.

To be fair, those moves aren't the only reasons that the defending champs find themselves eight games out of the second wild card spot with 19 games to play (we're looking at you, Chris Sale, David Price, and Rick Porcello). And Dombrowski has also made many good moves over his tenure in Boston.

But when a team goes from 108 wins and a World Series to out of the playoffs despite one of the best offenses in baseball and the game's biggest payroll ($228M), a change has to be made. And in the dead of night Sunday, that change was Dombrowski.

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MLB Rumors: What return could Red Sox get back in a Mookie Betts trade?

MLB Rumors: What return could Red Sox get back in a Mookie Betts trade?

As baseball's GM meetings roll on in Scottsdale, Arizona, one of the biggest headlines continues to be Mookie Betts' uncertain future.

With the former MVP entering the last season of his contract — and the Red Sox looking to shed payroll — one of the biggest decisions facing Boston's chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom is whether to keep Betts around in 2020 or deal him away for as much as he can find on the open market.

But what type of package could Boston receive in exchange for Betts?

In an article for The Athletic, former MLB Executive of the Year Jim Bowden, now an analyst for MLB Network, looked at three possible trade partners and what they could offer in a Betts trade. Bowden considered what the Diamondbacks received in exchange for Paul Goldschmidt last offseason, knowing that Betts should fetch more in a trade, and for the purposes of this exercise, he stayed away from players who would be on 25-man rosters right now.

Here's what he came up with for potential destinations and returns (all prospect rankings courtesy MLB Pipeline):

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Catcher Keibert Ruiz: #3 prospect in LAD organization; 20 years old, .261 BA, 6 HR, 34 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019
Middle infielder Jeter Downs: #5 prospect in LAD organization; 21 years old, .276 BA, 24 HR, 86 RBI in A & AAA in 2019
RHP Josiah Gray: #4 prospect in LAD organization; 21 years old, 11-2 record, 2.28 ERA, 147 K in 130 IP in A & AA in 2019

Bowden posits that the Dodgers would likely put pitchers Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin as well as middle infielder Gavin Lux in the off-limits category for a rental player like Betts.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Outfielder Randy Arozarena: #10 prospect in STL organization; 24 years old, .344 BA, 15 HR, 53 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019 (.300 BA in 19 MLB games in 2019)
Third baseman Elehuris Montero: #4 prospect in STL organization; 21 years old, .194 BA, 7 HR, 18 RBI in rookie league & AA in 2019
Catcher Andrew Knizner: #3 prospect in STL organization; 24 years old, .276 BA, 12 HR, 34 RBI in AAA in 2019 (.226 BA in 18 MLB games in 2019)

Like the Dodgers, Bowden has several top young Cardinals players off the board, like pitchers Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson as well as prospects Dylan Carson and Nolan Gorman

ATLANTA BRAVES

Outfielder Drew Waters: #2 prospect in ATL organization; 20 years old, .309 BA, 7 HR, 52 RBI in AA & AAA in 2019
LHP Kyle Muller: #7 prospect in ATL organization; 22 years old, 7-6, 3.14 ERA, 120 K in 111.2 IP in AA in 2019
Catcher William Contreras: #8 prospect in ATL organization; 21 years old, .255 BA, 6 HR, 39 RBI in A & AA in 2019

For the purposes of this exercise, Bowden suggested the Braves wouldn't part with these players: outfielder Cristian Pache, pitchers Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright, and catcher Shea Langeliers.

Considering the potential returns from these clubs, Bowden suggests the Red Sox would be better off holding onto Betts and making a run with him on the roster in 2020, especially since draft-pick compensation if he left after next season wouldn't really be able to contribute at the major league level until 2024 — or later.

While Chaim Bloom and the Sox front office evaluate all options, it'll be a wait-and-see situation for Red Sox fans.

Report: 'Great skepticism' teams will pay up for Betts>>>>>

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Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

Chaim Bloom, Brian Cashman discuss the unthinkable - could Red Sox and Yankees ever swing a trade?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Red Sox and Yankees have made exactly two trades in the past 25 years. Chaim Bloom's Rays dealt with the Yankees twice in the past four.

Now that Bloom is running the Red Sox, could Boston and New York actually swing a trade?

Eh, probably not. But we asked Bloom and Yankees counterpart Brian Cashman about it anyway, because Boston's new baseball boss is a bit of a wild card as he takes over a team that plans on leaving no stone unturned this winter.

Speaking at the GM meetings at the Omni Resort, Bloom said it would be "irresponsible" to cross the Bombers off his list of trade partners, while Cashman noted that he'd be willing to deal with anybody if it would help his team.

"I've been around long enough to know that if it's something that benefits your franchise, you don't worry about anything else -- the public appearance of it or the fear factor," Cashman said. "Our job is to make difficult decisions to the benefit of your franchise. I'm not afraid to deal with anybody, whether it's the Mets, the Red Sox. It doesn't matter. If it makes sense to us and it makes sense to them, so be it. I'm open for business."

The last deal between the two clubs came at the trade deadline in 2014, when the Red Sox shipped shortstop Stephen Drew to New York for fellow infielder Kelly Johnson. Those Red Sox were mired in last place with a record of 48-60, 13 games behind Baltimore (how times have changed) in the AL East. The Drew trade put the finishing touches on a two-week bloodletting that saw Jon Lester, John Lackey, Jonny Gomes, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront, Andrew Miller, and A.J. Pierzynski jettisoned.

The last deal before that came in August of 1997, when another Red Sox team not in contention shipped catcher Mike Stanley to New York for a package that included Tony Armas, Jr., who'd be used four months later to help acquire Pedro Martinez from the Expos.

Each trade shared an important trait that made dealing between the two cities much easier.

"The best atmosphere is when one team is down and the other is up," Cashman said. "But when you're both in going-for-it-mode and you're both championship-caliber contending clubs, you're typically not in a position to swap players. So it just makes it harder. Atmosphere is important. The Red Sox and Yankees have been perennial playoff contenders year in and year out for a long time. So that's probably more of a hurdle and obstacle than anything else, especially since they're in your own division. That's probably it more than anything else."

That didn't stop the Yankees and Rays from pulling off a pair of recent deals. In February of 2018, they joined a three-team deal with the Diamondbacks that sent Steven Souza Jr. to Arizona and Brandon Drury to New York, among many other parts. Two years earlier on a much smaller scale, the Rays purchased catcher Carlos Corporan from New York, though he never appeared in a game for them.

Both Bloom and Cashman share a mutual respect and admiration, even if they're now on opposite sides of baseball's biggest rivalry.

"I think one of the great things about this business is you can be a rival professionally with someone and still respect them a lot, get along great with them personally," Bloom said. "You guys obviously have covered him for a long time and you know how easy he is to talk to.

"I think, in general, look, our job is to do what's best for the Boston Red Sox. There's a lot of considerations that go into that in any conversation. Some of them are true across all 30 clubs, some of them, there might be unique dynamics. Obviously I know the relationship between this organization and the Yankees is not like any other club. But really, at the end of the day, our job as a group … is to do what's best for the Red Sox and then make sure we're just factoring in everything appropriately."

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